Women in computing

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April 3, 2017

Update:

See followup coverage on women in computing in this video story by WILX TV 10 Lansing.


March 30, 2017

MSU to honor state’s top young female talent in computing

Camille Emig of Grand Rapids is a good example of the tech talent that companies will soon be fighting to hire.Camille Emig, a freshman in computer science from Grand Rapids, has won multiple state and national awards in AiC since 2013. "It's a great community to retain women in STEM," she said. 

Emig is currently a freshman in computer science at Michigan State University, in part, because of two events that MSU will host again this weekend. 

March 31-April 1
The 6th Biennial Michigan Celebration of Women in Computing (MICWIC 2017) is March 31-April 1 in East Lansing. It will welcome 200 participants who are interested in advancing computing and information technology through broadening diversity. The two-day event includes presentations, panel discussions, a poster session, and career exploration. 

Students will network with computing professionals and peers from Michigan colleges and universities to learn more about computing fields. Educators and IT professionals will both mentor and expand their own networks of professional contacts, and be updated on what their peers are doing in industry.

See the conference website: MICWIC 2017 

April 1
Thirty-nine young women from Michigan – who represent the state’s upcoming technical talent among female computer science students -- will receive Aspirations in Computing (AiC) Awards at ceremonies Saturday, April 1, at MSU. 

In addition, 35 young women will be awarded an honorable mention and a National Aspirations Award recipient from Michigan and 15 young women who received National Honorable Mention will be recognized. 

MSU, Michigan Technological University, and Oakland University are hosting this year’s event in MSU’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. 

Emig is a previous AiC award winner on both state and national levels and called the experience “inspiring and amazing.” 

“I’ve been coming to AiC since 2013,” she said. “It helps you join a community on Facebook that is now 1,000 strong and represents a huge network of students already in college. If you have a question when you’re college shopping, there are already girls at schools in all 50 states. It’s a really helpful network and really fun, too,” she said. 

Saturday’s AiC awards are presented by the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). Students receive two engraved awards: one for her, and one for her school's trophy case. They also receive opportunities for scholarships, internships, research experiences, and other educational and employment opportunities provided by NCWIT member organizations. 

Laura Dillon, MSU professor of computer science and engineering, said the awards encourage female students who have the skills and ambition to be Michigan’s next generation of computing technology leaders. 

“These events are excellent introductions for them and for us,” Dillon said. “While we’re showcasing the future technical talent in computer science and engineering in Michigan, we get to be part of their academic and professional development.” 

Linda Ott, associate dean for special initiatives and a professor of computer science at Michigan Tech, said seeing the enthusiasm in the students is propelling.

“For many years now, we've been working to bring more women into computing careers since a larger and more diverse IT workforce is needed to strengthen our economy,” Ott explained. “These young women are excellent role models for younger students.  Their enthusiasm and accomplishments are certain to inspire the younger generation.” 

Coordinators for the ceremony are Dillon, Ott, Teresa Isela VanderSloot, director of Women in Engineering, Recruitment and K-12 Outreach in the MSU College of Engineering, and Laura Dinsmoor, special instructor from Oakland University's School of Engineering and Computer Science. 

VanderSloot said women are 50 percent of the student population at MSU, but only 16 percent are computer science majors. 

“We need their creativity and problem-solving skills at the table for future innovations,” VanderSloot said. “AiC enables us to celebrate and encourage young women to purse computing fields.”

For more on the Michigan Award for Aspirations in Computing.