On July 29th, 2005, NCWIT Board member Avis Yates Rivers and I went to visit the Vanguard Group in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. Deb Denis, who is responsible for IT diversity within Vanguard, had arranged for our visit to talk to over 50 IT managers concerning the declining number of girls and women interested in IT.
For all of the problems that his remarks revealed and engendered, Larry Summers deserves thanks for catapulting the issue of women's under-representation in math, science and technology to a level of nationwide attention it has never before received. We should capitalize on this attention – and on the commitments made by President Summers and other university leaders and policy makers – to take concrete steps to eliminate the artificial and discriminatory barriers that women continue to face in these fields.
On June 28, 2005, Sarah Revi Sterling (pictured, at right, with Rep. Lynn Woolsey), Senior Manager of Microsoft's University Relations and Chairperson of National Center for Women & Information Technology's (NCWIT) Workforce Alliance, testified before the House Subcommittee on Education Reform's hearing on "How the Private Sector is Helping States and Communities Improve High Schools." Ms.
The ATLAS Institute at the University of Colorado at Boulder is an agile, campus-wide catalyst for multidisciplinary curriculum, research, and outreach involving the content and tools of Information Technology. As Executive in Residence for ATLAS, one of the things I do is help coordinate and lead a three-week summer technology camp called DigitalCUrrents , which just ended last week.
The National Medal of Technology, managed by the Technology Administration of the U. S. Department of Commerce, is the highest honor that the President of the United States awards to American innovators. These Medal Laureates are true stars. Their contributions drive our economy, enhance our lives, maintain our competitive edge, and set the course for our future.
In the post 9/11 world, the Iraq War and threats to homeland security have dominated Washington's national security debate. Fears of terrorist attacks and weapons of mass destruction riveted the attention of policy makers. But now come signs that America's political leaders are finally turning their attention to a chronic national security concern—the failure of the US to remain competitive in math, science and engineering.
In the not too distant past, I was asked to do an NPR interview on women and mentoring. It got me thinking in specific terms about what mentors "do," and ultimately led me to conclude that we use the word "mentor" far too casually. Often, as mentors, we stop short of what we can and should be doing. This is especially important in our quest to increase the number of women in technology leadership positions.
I'd like to encourage some speculation about one of the world's great incongruities.
Computer Science is a great field. It's supremely creative. It's changing our lives, driving our economy, and transforming the conduct of science, engineering, and many other fields. It's projected to be the source of 70% of the jobs in all fields of science and engineering between now and 2012. It's open to everyone.
In the US and Canada (and in many other parts of the world) the image of computing careers and computing professionals discourages many talented young people, especially women and minorities, from choosing to study computer science. For at least the last decade the computing profession has been widely viewed by high school students, parents, teachers, and counselors as being for individuals who have been obsessed with computers since puberty and want to program sixteen hours a day.