Last year’s Women’s History Month’s national theme was Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The theme honored generations of women who throughout American history have used their intelligence, imagination, sense of wonder, and tenacity to make extraordinary contributions to the STEM fields. At UMBC we honored last year’s theme by partnering with the Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) to feature some of their amazing students participating in technology in the engineering and information technology fields.
Since last year’s spotlights were so meaningful and successful in highlighting the important work of women in STEM fields, we’re back at it for year two. This year’s national theme is Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment. Though there is no specific mention of STEM, it is impossible to deny that acts of courage and commitment from women (and their allies) in STEM occur everyday. So with that, we are honored to bring you the 2nd Annual CWIT Showcase in honor of Women’s History Month.
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Lauren Mazzoli, Math/Computer Science Major
Describe what sparked your interest STEM and the journey to choosing your major.
Throughout high school I always enjoyed math, but I never had any experience with computer science until my first semester of college. My first computer science professor was very enthusiastic about the material, which made me more invested in the course. After that first semester, I knew that I wanted to double major in Mathematics and Computer Science because I loved solving complex problems with the computer.
Tell us about an internship, research experience or project that you are proud of.
I am currently working for DoIT at UMBC as an IT Security Technician. I am currently working with my boss, Andy Johnston, on digital forensics. He has been showing me new tools that I can use for digital forensics, and we are both discovering new tools as well. I help write scripts that maintain the campus logs, I analyze the logs, I track and identify infected computers on campus, and I collect infected computers on campus for detecting what information was compromised.
Who are your role models int he engineering or IT field?
One of my role models is Dr. Hrabowski. He has always encouraged me to pursue my education in Mathematics and Computer Science, and has been a great mentor to me. What I admire most about him, is how dedicated he is towards improving education in the STEM field. I really appreciate his involvement in programs that encourage minorities to major in STEM fields.
In your experience, how has being a woman in engineering or IT demanded character, courage or commitment?
Being a woman in IT has allowed me to become an example to younger woman that all women can be successful in the STEM field. I am very committed to changing the male dominated field into a gender neutral field. It is important for every young woman to receive a strong education in STEM courses, and to not be dismissed because of their gender.
The Center for Women In Technology (CWIT) is dedicated to increasing the representation of women in the creation of technology in the engineering and information technology fields. CWIT efforts begin with nurturing a strong group of Scholars, grow to building community resources for other women in these majors, extend to fostering a healthy gender climate and ITE pedagogy in College of Engineering and Information Technology (COEIT) departments, and finally expand into outreach efforts to increase interest in technical careers. A successful program for female-friendly engineering and information technology education at UMBC will help make UMBC a destination for women (and men) interested in technical careers and serve as a national model for other universities.
Learn more about the CWIT community at http://www.cwit.umbc.edu/