SMWC Partners with National Center for Women & Information Technology

November 30th, 2011 | SMWC

Have you ever seen a fully functional robot made out of Legos? How about a room full of women programming these robots to move, dance or even speak?

“Technology is such a big part of life,” said Katelynn Barnes, a senior marketing major at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC), from Terre Haute, Ind. “We have to learn to adapt continually to learn new things.”

 These discoveries, and more, are exactly what you’ll see in a typical meeting of SMWC’s brand new technology club: Building Future Experiences. With a $500 return path student seed fund from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), Building Future Experiences will use creative, hands-on activities to encourage students of all majors to explore the dynamic world of technology.

 “They have a passion to help other female students to become acquainted with the computing field,” said the NCWIT Academic Alliance project team. “The funds that we provided to them will allow students to explore basic programming, software development for cell phones, and robotics.”

SMWC empowers young women to excel as experts in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Building Future Experiences, a driving force of interdisciplinary innovation, furthers this mission by encouraging students to enhance their problem-solving and critical thinking skills through technological discoveries. “You don’t have to major or minor in it, just have an interest in it,” said the club’s advisor, Lana Lytle, associate professor of information systems.

 Anna Bailey, a freshman humanities major from Caledonia, Mich., joined the club because she knows having technological exposure will make her more well-rounded and more marketable. “I think it will help me tremendously in the professional world,” she said. “When you have some knowledge of technology then you are more likely to be hired over others.”

 The club has a variety of activities planned not only for SMWC students, but for surrounding schools as well. They will show middle school girls the adventurous side of technology with geocaching (a treasure hunt using GPS devices) at the College’s annual Expanding Your Horizons conference. Exposure to successful female role models is one of the best ways to encourage young women to excel in technology. At SMWC, students often take on these roles, becoming influential leaders in the community.

“We want women to learn about technology because we are underrepresented in the field,” said the club’s president Samantha Morrison, a sophomore majoring in computer information systems from Bloomington, Ind. Building Future Experiences is just another example of how Woods students make a difference in the world.

 

The club is open to all interested students and will meet bi-weekly. For more information contact Lana Lytle, associate professor of information systems, at llytle@smwc.edu.

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