Empowering Female Students in Technical Fields

“Information technology is a fast-moving field ... one that offers a wide range of job opportunities and earning potential.”

When Win Herne was a girl, her mother taught her HTML programming and how to make web pages. Today, because of a scholarship funded by the Harris Corporation through the MCC Foundation, Herne is focused on completing her associate degree in information technology at MCC by 2012. Her plan is to ultimately pursue a bachelor's degree at Rochester Institute of Technology.

As one of only a few women in most of her information technology classes, Herne recognizes that her presence is important in the classroom and that she is a role model for other women. "The field needs our perspective in order to advance," said Herne. "Once women have a stronger foothold in technology fields, I'm interested to see what new things will result."

According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), only a quarter of people working in computer-related fields are women. Employers like Harris Corporation and organizations like NCWIT and others are working to increase the participation of girls and women in information technology by removing barriers to success-barriers such as occupational stereotypes and balancing work and family obligations. NCWIT also anticipates as many as 1.4 million computer specialist job openings by 2018.

Women in Technology of Digital Rochester also established a scholarship through the MCC Foundation to encourage and support female MCC students as they prepare for careers in computer science, information technology and digital media. As accomplished professionals and employers, Women in Technology supporters understand how students may need extra incentive and insight as to career potential as they decide whether or not to pursue a degree in computing

"Information technology is a fast-moving field; every five years there are new opportunities to consider," said Barbara Kassnoff, Women in Technology of Digital Rochester. "We want young women to know that this is a rewarding career field, one that offers a wide range of job opportunities and earning potential."