UA hosts event to honor high school women in IT

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –The University of Alabama and the National Center for Women and Information Technology will recognize high school women from across Alabama who have achieved success within the IT field at an annual banquet.

The UA College of Engineering computer science department will host the NCWIT Aspirations banquet Saturday, April 7, in the Bryant Conference Center. This year’s event will recognize 51 students with seven national honorable mentions, 16 state honorable mentions and 28 state awards, as well as two Alabama high school computer science teachers with education awards.

“There is a need to broaden the participation in computing among young women and other underrepresented students,” said Dr. Jeff Gray, UA computer science professor. “The aspirations program helps to honor these young women who have an interest in computing and to celebrate their achievements by helping them to understand the opportunities in computer science.”

The recipients for the student awards are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history and plans for post-secondary education. The students, as well as their schools, each receive a trophy for these awards. The students will also receive items from the program’s national sponsors including Apple, Google and Microsoft.

The banquet will feature several speakers throughout the event. The keynote speaker is Dr. Monica Anderson, a UA computer science associate professor. Other speakers are Nick Moore from Gov. Kay Ivey’s office, Dawn Morrison from the Alabama State Department of Education, and Dr. Lyn Swackhamer an NCWIT evaluator.

NCWIT Aspirations started in 2013 and has awarded 8,600 young women nationally for their work in computing.

“Our goal is that many of the recipients of the award will consider the role that computing plays in their future career goals,” Gray said.

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,800 students and more than 130 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.