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GGC awarded grant to recruit, retain women in technology

LAWRENCEVILLE — Thanks to a grant awarded to Georgia Gwinnett College, the school will be able to encourage women to register for classes and pursue degrees in computing and technology fields.

GGC is one of five academic instituions to receive a $10,000 grant from the National Center for Women & Information Technology Academic Alliance Seed Fund and Microsoft Research for use in developing and implementing initiatives that recruit and retain women in those areas.

“GGC has already been committed to supporting women in information technology through current outreach initiatives focused on middle and high school girls, as well as professional development opportunities for female IT students,” Sonal Dekhane, associate professor of information technology, said in a press release. “Early registration and a comprehensive understanding of programming fundamentals are critical to success in the IT discipline.”

The grant will allow GGC to recruit female students to a five-day boot camp where they will be trained in Java to increase their programming skills and confidence. The boot camp will feature professional development activities designed to introduce the breadth of computing careers, and peer-mentoring sessions to form a community of support that can help participants thrive in IT.

The boot camp will start in May and will include summer-long projects. Participating students will present their projects to female students majoring and minoring in IT at the annual GGC Women in Information Technology Symposium in September.

Dekhane, who wrote the grant proposal along with Kris Nagel and Nannette Napier, is the program director responsible for implementing the boot camp. The grant will support instructors who will create, teach and assess the curriculum, student assistants to help with programming labs, peer mentors to discuss academic and time management success strategies, industry experts who will serve as guest speakers, as well as supplies and meals.

“It is our hope that more female students will see the value and opportunities in IT careers,” Dekhane said. “IT is prevalent in many industries, salaries are highly competitive and the work is collaborative, creative and rewarding.”

GGC students interested in the boot camp can apply online at http://tinyurl.com/witcamp. Participants will be selected based on applications, IT courses completed and overall academic performance.