ACADEMICS AND RESEARCH
Center of Excellence for Women in Technology awards scholarships
Applicants were required to submit a 500-word essay detailing how they would utilize computing in their future careers.
The 10 recipients received a $1,000 scholarship and a student ambassadorship position through CEWiT.
According to the National Center for Women in Information Technology, women received only 14 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees in 2010.
In comparison, 37 percent of undergraduate computer science degree recipients were women in 1985.
Some believe the stereotypes of awkwardness and boredom associated with the IT field are part of the reason why women are deterred from studying computer science, Jenny Hertel, program manager at CEWiT, said.
“I have worked in IT for almost 20 years now, and I can say unequivocally that both of those stereotypes are very far from the truth,” Hertel said in an email.
“Most IT workers I know, whether they be women or men, are outgoing and fun.”
The recipients represented an array of disciplines ranging from informatics to English education.
Katherine Henick, a recipient of the award, said the expanding IT industry will eventually possess a variety of new jobs to accommodate any person’s interests.
“I only see the network of women in IT getting bigger and expanding as the field does,” Henick said in an email.
“There are an incredible amount of upcoming opportunities in IT that I know both men and women can fill.”
CEWiT was created October 2013 in the efforts to increase the participation of women in all facets of IT on campus.
The organization provides opportunities for women interested in the IT field to collaborate with professors, attend conferences and build connections with other women on campus who are passionate about incorporating computing into their respective areas of study.
As part of the award, the 10 recipients also became student ambassadors for the new center to participate in outreach initiatives.
In the position, the women have become the face of the Red Chair Campaign on the IU campus.
The campaign seeks to empower females in IT at the University, calling for women to sit to take a stand for their place in IT.
The initiative is an offshoot of the national Sit With Me Campaign.
“Since more women are using technology and related services now, and more women are in charge of most electronic purchases for their households, it makes sense that more of them should be the ones designing and developing the technology and services,” Hertel said.
Recipients of the award collaborated to create a video that celebrates women in IT. A bright red chair from the national campaign is featured in the video.
Henick said she was proud to have worked with the other recipients in the making of the video.
“Our group was made up of 10 amazing women who had a lot to say and who all have incredible dreams and aspirations,” Henick said.
“I found it really interesting that all of us are in IT in some way, but our aspirations are all slightly different.
“I think it goes to show how many opportunities are out there and how much the field is growing and is going to grow even in the next couple of months.”
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