At this year’s Premier CIO Forum in Hartford, CT, there was a unique occurrence. There was a major focus on increasing young women’s participation in IT, and an awards ceremony was held for the NCWIT ‘Aspirations in Computing’ Award, which recognizes high school women who are active and interested in computing and technology. This year twenty-five women were honored with the award. All winners were very grateful for being acknowledged for their accomplishments, and we are immensely proud of what these people have done at such a young age!
We were very happy to work with the National Center for Women and Information Technology for this event, so that they could present their award at our event that is already designed to showcase women who are doing great things in the world of computing and technology. Darwin Kovacs, who presented the awards, said of the awards, “it is important to encourage young people – men and women – who are interested in technology. I believe that the NCWIT objective of increasing women’s participation in computing and technology is of critical importance as our companies look for the best and brightest talent.” Kovacs is completely correct, as companies are looking for more diverse workforces and more talented people. Anyone who is interested in the IT field, especially women, should take a step in that direction, whether by pursuing an education in IT, or attending an event like this.
Kimberly Tabelman, a SIM board member from Pfizer who attended the event, hit the nail on the head with a great statement about presenting the awards. “The Central Connecticut SIM Chapter is thrilled to be involved with NCWIT and presenting these 25 extraordinary young women awards in computing. As we all know, there is a growing deficit in our country of young woman going into science and technology so it is refreshing to know organizations like NCWIT are having such an impact! There is still much work to be done but partnering IT leaders with organizations like NCWIT is a great step forward.”
Kathy Zettl-Shaffer, the NCWIT regional coordinator who joined us at the Hartford CIO Forum added, “NCWIT’s work leverages programs from organizations across the country and connects efforts to increase women’s participation in information technology along the entire pipeline, from K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. The Connecticut Aspirations in Computing affiliate working closely with SIM is a wonderful example of this collaborative effort led by dedicated volunteers.”
Jim Kidd, a SIM board member from Aetna, also had great praise to give to the event, and to the award ceremony! “As leaders, part of our responsibility is to mentor and advise the next generation. In doing so, it is incumbent upon us to promote opportunities across diverse groups. Our engagement with NCWIT and the Aspirations in Computing Program is an excellent opportunity to support the growth of women in IT and as future leaders. We were pleased to include the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing awards as part of the 2016 Hartford PEM CIO Forum and look forward to working with the organization in the future. The awards complement our existing scholarship program which has been focused on top performing Hartford Public School system students from Pathways Academy of Technology and Design.”
Also at the Hartford Premier CIO Forum, the Central Connecticut Chapter of SIM again presented scholarships to two 2016 graduated of Pathways Academy of Technology and Design, who will major in IT or another technical field. Nyasia Bagot will attend Temple University to major in Biomedical Engineering and Jesus Medina will attend the University of Connecticut to study Computer Science.
This was a first for Premier Event Management. Where most of our events are only for our attendees, we hosted a massive reception where our C-level and SVP executives were able to meet the award winners and their parents. We had around 80 parents, teachers, and students, in addition to all of the executives! This interaction between students, parents, and the executives who may be scouting for talent is extremely valuable to all parties. Students were able to ask around to see what prominent businesses were looking for in a new employee, and the executives were able to see and be humbled at how advanced these students are for their age. The result of this mixing of students and executives was an increased interest in the corporations and businesses that attend our events in NCWIT and other similar programs. They are a great way to connect people, share information, and make the world a better and more diverse place! We were very excited to work with Darwin and everyone else, and are looking forward to doing so again next year!