FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 12, 2017
UNION, N.J. – A Kean University student group, the Association for Computing Machinery Women (ACM-W), has received a $3,000 grant to encourage women in computer science on campus. Kean's ACM-W is one of the Fall 2016 award recipients of the NCWIT & ACM-W Student Seed Fund, sponsored by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Google.org. The grant, which supports the growth of women in computing groups at different stages of development and varied institutional sizes, will help launch the ACM-W chapter on Kean’s campus.
Juan Li, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Kean Department of Computer Science, worked with her undergraduate students to prepare the proposal. Together, they look forward to building Kean’s ACM-W student chapter.
"The ACM-W chapter is exciting," said Patricia Morreale, Ph.D., executive director of the Kean University School of Computer Science. "Dr. Li's record of success with her students is outstanding, and this grant will bring even more student engagement in our programs."
With the start-up funding, Kean University ACM-W will provide student membership fees for founding members. Funds will also be used to organize career fairs, guest speakers and an information session to help members achieve success in computer science and information technology fields. Another objective of the funding is to create a platform in which underrepresented female computer science and information technology students could gather together to share ideas, experiences, support one another and network.
“Student computing groups are an important component of the undergraduate experience and should not be overlooked or undervalued,” said NCWIT chief executive and co-founder Lucy Sanders. “These student-led efforts serve as a foundation of encouragement and support for aspiring technical graduates and professionals.”
In the U.S. in 2014, women earned 57 percent of all undergraduate degrees. However, women earned less than one-fifth of all computer and information sciences undergraduate degrees and engineering degrees, according to NCWIT. Women in computing groups on campus can increase women’s confidence and enjoyment of their technical studies, help reduce feelings of isolation, dispel common myths and stereotypes, and empower students to actively recruit and mentor other women.
ABOUT KEAN UNIVERSITY
Founded in 1855, Kean University has become one of the largest metropolitan institutions of higher education in the region, with a richly diverse student, faculty and staff population. Kean continues to play a key role in the training of teachers and is a hub of educational, technological and cultural enrichment serving nearly 15,000 students. The University's six undergraduate colleges offer 50 undergraduate degrees over a full range of academic subjects. The Nathan Weiss Graduate College offers four doctorate degree programs and more than 60 options for graduate study leading to master's degrees, professional diplomas or certifications. With campuses in Union and Toms River, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, Kean University furthers its mission by providing an affordable, accessible and world-class education. Visit www.kean.edu.
Since 2011, the NCWIT Student Seed Fund has invested $316,250 in more than 157 student-run programs for women in computing at non-profit, U.S. Academic Alliance member institutions nationwide (excluding U.S. territories). Programs have included programming workshops, tech summits, peer mentoring and support, professional training, after-school programs, and the creation of multimedia materials — all aimed at increasing recruitment and retention of women and other underrepresented groups in computing. Find out more at www.ncwit.org/studentseedfund.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 850 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers. Find out more at www.ncwit.org.
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