Ten students from the newly founded Rensselaer chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Women in Computing (ACM-W) will attend a regional conference on women in computing with the help of a seed grant funded by Symantec and the National Center for Women & Information Technology.
According to its website, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a nonprofit community of more than 600 universities, companies, nonprofits, 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.
The NCWIT Academic Alliance partnered with Symantec to offer the NCWIT Student Seed Fund, a $1,000 award given to student-run programs and initiatives that promote increased participation of women in computing and IT programs. The grant will allow the Rensselaer chapter of ACM-W to send 10 students to the New York Celebration of Women in Computing (NYC-WiC) 2016 conference.
Rensselaer was one of only 10 schools to have received the competitive grant for the spring 2015 round. Cameron Mine, a first-year student and vice-chair of the Rensselaer chapter of ACM-W, said the conference will be an opportunity for Rensselaer women in computing to build a network within their field, learn about the latest developments, and interact with women who have been successful in their industry.
“NYC-WiC brings together women who have overcome a variety of tribulations to make it to the level of success they are at,” Mine said. “By interacting with these women, ACM-W members will have a chance to meet role models for their future, and to gain the tools they need to succeed in their own careers.”
The seed grant is one of a slew of successes of the chapter since its establishment at the start of the spring 2015 semester, according to Mine and chapter chair Sarabeth Jaffe, a junior. In accordance with its mission to celebrate, inform, and support women in computing, the chapter organized events including a roundtable discussion and dinner with the current ACM-W chair, Valerie Barr, a Toastmasters event with the New York Independent System Operator, attendance at the one-day GHC/1 event, modeled after the national Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and a “Dinner & Life After Graduate School” event with Rensselaer professors Fran Berman and Stacy Patterson.