Getting to know Candice Solomon-Strutz

What do you do? 

I am a collaborator, educator, and innovator. Currently, I serve as the Director of IT Partners at the College of Applied Health Sciences, providing leadership and oversight for the college’s information technology services. 

In addition to leading the IT group at AHS, I am very involved in campus and community initiatives. At the University of Illinois, I serve on the leadership team for the Black Faculty and Professionals Alliance and Women in Technology group, a Racial Justice Ally facilitator, ITLW facilitator, and Chair of the IT Council Steering Committee.

What led you to this career? 

During undergrad, I started majoring in computer science and was very skilled at programming. However, while I was an undergrad at U of I and during graduate school, I was a  student employee in IT for multiple units in CCSO (now referred to as Technology Services) and had a fabulous experience. As a student employee, I worked at the Help Desk providing phone support and On-Site consulting, doing in-person tech support to faculty, staff, and multiple departments. However, my most rewarding student position was managing the computer labs on campus alongside other student employees. Even before entering college, my high school internships focused on technology support and communication skills. So, I wanted my career to involve talking with and helping people and exploring new emerging technologies. 

What is something interesting that you enjoy doing outside of work that may surprise your colleagues? 

I’ve been training in Taekwondo for over 20 years, and I teach Taekwondo on campus. So people often run into me at the ARC in the Combat Room, kicking and shouting in Korean. Also, I recently enrolled in a local Korean cultural language school to learn and improve my Korean speaking. I’m not fluent, but I can have basic conversations. Since I consume a lot of Korean media, music, and culture, I want to be fluent someday.  As I type this response, I’m thinking about how much of this I could say in Korean. 계속 공부해야 할 것 같아요.

What song or type of music you listen to puts you in the best mood and why? 

My favorite genres of music are Broadway musicals, 90s R&B, K-Pop, K-R&B, and anything Disney. I’m smiling right now, thinking about this playlist. Most colleagues who join online meetings with me know that I listen to music frequently to boost my mood, so they usually get a taste of my music preferences. I love singing karaoke and performing musical parodies; sometimes, I even record it for strangers to watch and sing along online.