Making Connections

October 21, 2013

James Helmsworth

Liz Bennett working at her desk
Liz Bennett '13 at the LinkedIn Headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Photo credit: Liz Bennett

This spring, Liz Bennett ’13 was hired by LinkedIn, the Silicon Valley company behind the professional networking webpage. She’s working with a team that adapts the homepages of LinkedIn and its sister program, Recruiter, for mobile devices.

Bennett applied to LinkedIn at the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing, which provides networking and mentoring opportunities for women programmers. A double-major in bassoon and computer science, Bennett says that she’s drawn to challenges like working in this male-dominated field. “I like to defy people’s expectations,” she explains.

While at Oberlin, Bennett received guidance from another woman in the field: Oberlin computer science professor Cynthia Taylor. She took Taylor’s Operating Systems class, and says it got her interested in the kind of work she does now at LinkedIn. “She was a big inspiration to me,” Bennett says.

Bennett also credits her success to Oberlin’s commitment to helping her explore her interests outside of the classroom. A co-founder of Prestissimo, the student-designed program that helps students navigate the course catalog and Presto, the course registration service. “I think only at Oberlin would I have received so much support from the faculty and from the administration [at Oberlin] to allow me to make such a full-fledged website with lots of users,” Bennett says. “If it weren’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have gotten the job here.”

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A multi-year capital improvement plan to upgrade Oberlin’s Student Union is officially underway, with work beginning during Winter Term 2023. Wilder Hall, designed by Chicago architect Joseph Lyman Silsbee—designer of the Memorial Arch on Tappan Square—opened in 1911 as a men’s dormitory. In addition to providing housing for undergraduate men, the building was conceived as a meeting and performance place, and has evolved over time into Oberlin’s Student Union.
Front exterior view of Wilder Hall