March is Women's
This year’s national theme is Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science,
Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
This theme is meant to honor generations of women who throughout
American history have used their intelligence, imagination, sense of wonder,
and tenacity to make extraordinary contributions to the STEM fields.
As part of our Women’s History Month celebrations, the
Women's Center and CWIT are partnering to showcase six talented women in
engineering and IT fields at UMBC. The future of women’s history is being
created as we speak and there is importance in sharing our lived stories now.
We invite you to join us throughout the month of March to learn more about
these women, their experiences, and their dreams.
Science major & STEM Editor of Retriever Weekly
sparked your interest STEM and the journey to choosing your major.
My interest in STEM was sparked in my sophomore year of
high school. I took Computer Science 1 at my high school to fulfill my
technology education requirement. My father encouraged me to take Computer
Science over some of the "easier" options. I discovered that Computer
Science was fun and came naturally to me. I had an amazing teacher who noticed
my interest and convinced me to be in her Computer Science AP course the
following year. My teacher continued to encourage me, pointing me towards
various extracurricular opportunities, including MESA (Math, Engineering and
Science Achievement) and NTHS (National Tech. Honor Society). I experimented
with various kinds of engineering, but ultimately chose to stay with software
design and Computer Science.
Tell us about an
internship, research experience or project that you are proud of.
While I’m proud to have been a part of a lot of projects
and programs, the one that shines out most is my internship at Booz Allen
Hamilton the summer between my freshman and sophomore year. I worked on a team of 12 interns, four of whom
were women. The high concentration of women was significant in making it one of
the best intern experiences I've had.As
a team we worked in conjunction with three full-time employees to build an
automated testing capability for an existing project from scratch. In ten
weeks, we built a library of automated tests that could be applied and used in
many different ways, and created documentation for that library so that it
could be easily referenced. After we left, our manager contacted us to let us
know that the work we did was ultimately crucial to the final completion of the
Who are your role
models in the engineering or IT field?
First, Dianne O'Grady-Cuniff, the teacher who inspired
and encouraged me in high school, who spent many hours after her work day
working with students to encourage our interests, and is super committed to
education. I hope I can one day encourage and inspire young women the same way
Second, Marie desJardins. I admire her confidence and the
projects she works on. Whenever I have told Dr. desJardins I have doubt in my
abilities, she tells me a personal anecdote about how she feels a similar way
but still manages to achieve the successes she's achieved. Ultimately, I admire
her self-confidence and strive to replicate it.
Third, Lady Ada Lovelace. Lady Lovelace is one of the
iconic figures in computer science history. Although at the time her work was
largely unnoticed, she predicted most of the common programming constructs that
we use today. Lady Lovelace, like myself, enjoyed writing in addition to
computing, and managed to raise a family while collaborating on one of the
world's first computer. Her iconic success is my reminder that one woman can go
a long way in changing stereotypes related to women in the STEM fields.
experience as a woman in a STEM major, including the challenges as well as the
As a woman in STEM, I'm always aware of the fact that I'm
female in a class of mostly guys. I tend to count the number of women in every
class I've been in at UMBC and am always aware that the ratio between men and
women in my classes will be skewed. Another challenge of being a female in the
STEM fields is that everyone, and even sometimes yourself, assumes your success
can be attributed to the fact that you're a woman, and not because of your
skills. The desire to prove you actually belong and have achieved your own
success will never go away.
The rewards of
being a woman in STEM include an instant community with other women in STEM.
woman in the field knows the battles you will face and they will help you to
succeed. Additionally, being a woman in STEM means that you are defying a
stereotype and hopefully becoming a role model for the future.
The Center for
Women In Technology (CWIT) is dedicated to increasing the representation of
women in the creation of technology in the engineering and information
technology fields. CWIT efforts begin with nurturing a strong group of
Scholars, grow to building community resources for other women in these majors,
extend to fostering a healthy gender climate and ITE pedagogy in College of
Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT) departments, and finally expand
into outreach efforts to increase interest in technical careers. A successful
program for female-friendly engineering and information technology education at
UMBC will help make UMBC a destination for women (and men) interested in
technical careers and serve as a national model for other universities.
Learn more about
our community athttp://www.cwit.umbc.edu/
For more information
about Women’s History events and happenings, visit: http://my.umbc.edu/groups/womenscenter/news/24724