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Pitney Bowes Foundation Grants $25,000 to UAlbany College of Computing and Information to Support Women in Technology Programs

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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The College of Computing and Information received a grant from the Pitney Bowes Foundation to support its Women in Technology program

Michael Hickey, left, president of Pitney Bowes Business Insight and UAlbany Interim President George Philip discuss program diversity with Computing and Information students Anna Arzrumtsyan, Marie Rosenblatt, and Kristen Kielbasa.  In 2006, 59 percent of all undergraduate degree recipients were women, yet women accounted for only 21 percent of computer science graduates. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

 

 

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 9, 2009) -- The University at Albany's College of Computing and Information (CCI) today received a $25,000 grant from The Pitney Bowes Foundation to support its Women in Technology program, designed to address the critical shortage of women in the computing and information technology industries.

The grant will support initiatives created by CCI to build a University community that encourages women to pursue undergraduate and graduate studies in computer science, informatics, and information science.

"This support by the Pitney Bowes Foundation is an example of a public/private collaboration that bolsters the workforce," said University at Albany Interim President George Philip. "UAlbany has a long tradition of advancing women in technology fields, including alumna Frances Allen, the first female recipient of the Turing Award for achievements in computing."

"The future of computing lies in recruiting and educating a diverse pool of students, including more women," said College of Computing and Information Dean Peter Bloniarz. "We're grateful for Pitney Bowes' vision and commitment to helping our programs expand their relevance and prepare students for satisfying careers in computing and information."

"We are pleased to support the University at Albany’s Women in Technology program," said Kathleen Ryan Mufson, vice president, Pitney Bowes Foundation. "Their efforts to connect diverse student populations with educational opportunities in science-related settings are to be commended and supported."

"We are thrilled for the support from Pitney Bowes to continue our efforts at increasing literacy and gender diversity both within CCI and at all levels of the pipeline," said Jennifer Goodall, director of CCI's Women in Technology Program. "CCIWIT is proud to have hosted the first Junior FIRST Lego League Expo in the capital region and the Pitney Bowes grants will give us the opportunity to continue hosting programs for students and faculty at UA as well as our community."

In 2006, 59 percent of all undergraduate degree recipients were women, yet only 21 percent of computer science graduates were women, down from 37 percent in 1985 and representing a 70 percent decline between 2000 and 2005. Only 17 percent of female computer science undergraduates continue their studies at the doctoral level, and just 26 percent of professional positions in the information technology industry are held by women.

Some estimates predict one million computer and information-related jobs will be added to the United States workforce by 2014, yet computer science graduates from U.S. universities will fill only 50 percent of these jobs. The disparity, according to the College, requires an increase in the number of women who explore computing and information technology as a field of study and career choice.

"IT is a particularly important area of focus for women," said Lucy Sanders, CEO of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). "If we are really serious about improving conditions for women, as well as improving innovation and product development, we must step-up our efforts to increase women’s contributions.”

CCI works closely with NCWIT and its members on issues related to gender diversity, such as International Women’s Day. CCI joins a large number of companies around the globe who are focusing their efforts on improving conditions for a diverse range of women in IT. NCWIT is a coalition of over 100 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women’s participation in information technology.

CCIWIT offers a variety of programs and services, including:

• The Technology Leaders of Today Speaker Series - invites women from various computing and high-tech industries to speak to undergraduate and graduate students and the community about their career experiences.

• The Technology Leaders of Tomorrow Workshops - present opportunities to high school girls to have first-hand experience of how technology can support their ideas and current skill set.

• Computing Careers 4 All - panel discussions with local industry leaders will address topics on skills that are necessary for 21st century computing and information technology careers.  There will be break out sessions to discuss specific options and situational needs in today’s workplace.

• National Conferences - students and faculty travel to select national conferences, including the International Grace Hopper Celebration on Women in Computing.  From this experience, CCIWIT will become the lead host for a Regional Celebration of Women in Computing (RCWIC), in conjunction with area universities and colleges.

About The Pitney Bowes Foundation
The Pitney Bowes Foundation is a private entity with a mission to provide funding to literacy, education and employee involvement initiatives. Read more about Pitney Bowes.

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