News Release

Nicole S. Rowe
Administrative Assistant, Public Relations
320 DuPont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720

Wilmington University Awarded $10,000 Towards Women in Information Technology

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) along with Microsoft Research has awarded Wilmington University's College of Technology $10,000 for use on a new project for recruiting women into the field of Information Technology (IT). The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund, which was founded in 2007, provides "U.S. academic institutions with start-up funds to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting and retaining women" in the fields of IT and Computer Science. This year Wilmington University was one of seven institutions that were awarded grants from NCWIT and Microsoft Research.

Wilmington University plans to use the $10,000 grant towards enriching current College of Technology programs to include new tracks specifically geared towards female students. Each track would be offered on a weekend or in the evenings to allow for flexible scheduling for all students. The grant will also be used toward several conferences and events to attract and sustain female students in the College of Technology.

The idea for the initiative, for which Wilmington University was awarded the NCWIT seed funding, came from Nancy McDonald, an Adjunct Professor in the College of Technology. McDonald filled out the application for the Alliance Seed Fund this past October. Within the application she stated how the University would like to use a more "holistic" approach to attracting women and girls to the field of computer technology. She also explained how her own experience in the field of IT has led her to encourage other women to immerse themselves in the field. "I chose a career in information systems because I like to help people solve business problems through the use of technology," said McDonald. "Working with computers can be fun, but it is also very rewarding...I love the variety of great, high-paying careers which allow you to be creative through the use of computer-based solutions. I really hope more women choose to pursue a degree in computer technology."

On March 4, 2011 the University is planning its first “Ms. Connection”Careers for Women in IT Conference, which will focus on encouraging high school girls to consider degree programs in Information Technology. The conference will be aimed at the men and women who most influence young women in high school in their decision-making: school counselors, parents and educators. Current students are also welcome and encouraged to attend. The University will also host Delaware's annual “DigiGirlz,” an event that attracts high school students to opportunities in Information Technology. Finally, Wilmington University is partnering with Salem Community College (Carney's Point) in this effort to promote the advancement of women from two-year degree programs to four-year degree programs in IT and Computer Science.

Karen Mattison, Assistant Professor at Salem Community College (SCC), initiated the partnership with Wilmington University to recruit more women into computer-related degree programs. "A partnership with Wilmington University allows SCC graduates to complete their Bachelor's degrees at the University, pursuing similar IT related programs," said Mattison, who added SCC offers a variety of IT related programs in Computer Science, Graphic Design, and Digital Media. "Salem County school counselors, parents and educators are also encouraged to attend the upcoming Ms. Connection conference on March 4 at Wilmington University."

Over the years Wilmington University has been committed to increasing the number of women in information technology (IT). The University offers a variety of degree programs in Information Technology including Computer and Network Security, Web Information Systems, Game Design and Development, Studio Production, Media Design and a Master's degree in Information Systems Technologies (just to name a few). Students are encouraged to participate in internships that will help put their skills and knowledge to work in the real world. For two years in a row students from the College of Technology, Computer Network Security Program, have won the undergraduate category of the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) Digital Forensic Challenge, a prestigious competition sponsored by the Department of Defense, International Multilateral Partnership Against Cyber-Threats (IMPACT), and the Sans institute.

Congratulations to Wilmington University's College of Technology!

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Published: Friday, January 21, 2011 - New Castle, DE