Safiyya Bintali is attending the Educause Annual Conference this October in Chicago, Ill. after being awarded the Professional Pipeline Student Scholarship by Educause.
The scholarship supports minority and underrepresented students interested in IT careers in higher education with an opportunity to attend the technology conference in person at no cost, along with a mentorship and career coaching from IT professionals.
Bintali is a first-generation Muslim-American undergraduate student at UNLV working towards bachelor’s degrees in secondary education and English. She plans to pursue a career in instructional technology since she was mostly an online learner leading up to college as she moved around while overseas.
“I’m drawn to the intersections of technology and education and how they can come together to make more accessible, engaging learning experiences for students no matter where they are,” she said about her interest in online learning.
Bintali applied for the scholarship after she was nominated by Alethea Inns, instructional technology support specialist for the eLearning team in the Office of Information Technology, for her contributions to provide access to education through online learning at the university.
Her interest in educational technology and professional opportunities grew when she joined the eLearning team as a student employee. While balancing schoolwork and teaching high school students as part of her degree, Bintali helps maintain instructional technologies in over 150 classrooms and provide support to thousands of instructors and students for Zoom, Panopto, and other tools.
“I've been wanting to seek out more professional development and educational opportunities in the field of instructional technology, so I felt like this was an invaluable opportunity,” Bintali said about the scholarship program.
Bintali will be able to connect with others that share her unique professional viewpoints and enable her to develop her networking and leadership skills, according to Inns.
Beyond her technical work, Bintali helped incoming students use technology to learn online successfully and build remote communities in their first year at UNLV. She has also discussed the impacts of technology on the online student experience and different teaching practices for virtual and traditional classrooms to government leaders.
“Safiyya’s work impacts thousands of people across campus,” Inns said. “Her authentic passion, practice, and existing work with instructional technology is invaluable to UNLV. Safiyya is the future of IT in higher education.”