Nicole Gesualdo has had a wide-ranging career that spans newspaper journalism, higher-education strategy, marketing and communications, commercial aviation, and, in some earlier incarnations, making custom ice-cream cakes and teaching kids how not to flip over a sailboat. Today she is fortunate to be part of the Break Through Tech Chicago team as its communications and marketing person, getting the word out about how a UIC computer science or data science education can help women and nonbinary students to achieve their career goals.
Nicole grew up wanting to be a fighter pilot (you can tell from the list above that this did not happen) at a time when women in the U.S. military were still excluded from doing so. Ever since then, it’s been important to her that every person have the full opportunity to choose whatever field or job they might want. Working with Break Through Tech Chicago gave her the chance to help create and publicize that pathway for women and nonbinary students in Chicago who are interested in technology, especially those who are the first in their families to attend college or who do not come from a place of economic privilege.
Raised in Huntington, Long Island, and having spent most of her adult life in Brooklyn and Queens, Nicole will always consider New York home but has discovered rewarding work experiences, amazing new friends, much larger apartments, and even a decent bagel in Chicago, where she has lived since 2018. She holds a PhD in communication from Rutgers University, a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from Georgetown. On her off days, you can find her on bike trails, at cake bakeries, sitting at the end of an airport runway watching planes land, hanging out by the water, and accumulating far more hooded sweatshirts than any one person could possibly need.