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Supporting Women in Computing Through Regional Conferences

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division: Strategies Beyond the Classroom

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1444.1 - 26.1444.9



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Paper Authors


Alka R. Harriger Purdue University

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Alka Harriger joined the faculty of the Computer and Information Technology Department (CIT) in 1982 and is currently a Professor of CIT. For the majority of that time, she has been actively involved in teaching software development courses. From 2008-2014, she led the NSF-ITEST funded SPIRIT (Surprising Possibilities Imagined and Realized through Information Technology) project. Since October 2013, she has been co-leading with Prof. Brad Harriger the NSF-ITEST funded TECHFIT (Teaching Engineering Concepts to Harness Future Innovators and Technologists) project. Professor Harriger's current interests include application development, outreach to K-12 to interest more students to pursue computing careers, applying IT skills to innovating fitness tools, and wearable computing.

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Gloria Childress Townsend DePauw University

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Gloria Townsend, Professor of Computer Science, has taught at DePauw University for thirty-four years. She was the PI for both NSF-BPC project, the Grace Hopper Regional Consortium, and NSF-S-STEM project, Julian Scholars. Gloria is a member of ACM-W's Women's Council, where she founded the concept of small celebrations for women in computing and where she now serves as project leader for ACM-W Student Chapters. Her research interests include evolutionary computation and gender issues in computing.

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Dawn Laux Purdue University

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Dawn Laux is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) at Purdue University. She has been with the University since 2007 and is responsible for teaching database fundamentals courses and introductory technology courses. Dawn has 10 years of industrial experience in the information technology field, and her research area of interest includes technology readiness, the social impacts of technology, and increasing interest in the field of computing.

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Supporting Women in Computing through Regional ConferencesThe Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is an annual, international meeting designed toprovide support and inspiration to women to pursue and stay in computing careers. This week-longconference provides attendees with access to many technical and non-technical presentations, nightly funactivities, many mentoring opportunities, and a plethora of industry recruiters hoping to hire talentedfemale students and professionals. Unfortunately, the cost and length of time of the event is prohibitivefor many students. Fortunately, there are many smaller versions of the celebration events at the regionallevel. The Indiana Celebration of Women in Computing (InWIC) began in 2004 as a way of offering theGrace Hopper Conference experience without impeding on students’ desire to attend classes and reducingcosts to make it affordable to larger groups of students. In the past, the venue for this event, whichoccurred every two years, was an inn at a state park, which provided a quiet and relaxing setting fornetworking, mentoring, learning, presenting, and having fun. Beginning with 2015, this regionalconference will become an annual event in a more central location that is closer to an international airportto be more accessible to more students in the region as well as be more conveniently located for industrysponsors who recruit at the event. This paper and presentation will share the event’s general program aswell as participant feedback collected at the 2014 InWIC meeting, which demonstrate that the event hasbeen successful in reinforcing the decision of pursuing a computing career path by young femalecomputing students.

Harriger, A. R., & Townsend, G. C., & Laux, D. (2015, June), Supporting Women in Computing Through Regional Conferences Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24781

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015