As part of Women’s History Month, Penn State will celebrate and inspire women in the College of Information Sciences and Technology.
Today, the IST’s Office of Multicultural Affairs will hold its third annual event called Women of Distinction, a day-long celebration that recognizes female students, faculty and staff members in the college.
During the day, 11 female faculty members will share their stories of how they pursued IST as a career and how they have conducted their research, Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in IST Barbara Farmer said
“We want to show that, yes, we’re women, but we bring lots to the table intellectually,” Farmer said.
Though events will occur throughout the day, there will be a reception from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Reese’s Café, Farmer said.
At the reception, the 11 faculty speakers will receive tokens of appreciation for participating in the event, and Women of Distinction Awards will be handed out to those who have demonstrated achievement and service in the college.
Farmer said there are nine or 10 awards women could receive at the event. Through online voting, Farmer said anyone could be nominated for an award, and that the winners are determined this way.
Farmer said this event also acts as a way for recruiting women and men into the technology field.
“We want to get students excited about women who have made a space and need in technology,” Farmer said. “We want to show how wonderful women are in this field.”
Lauren Anderson said that in most of her classes, the majority is made up of male students, adding that women should keep pushing forward in the field.
“I don’t think people see IST careers as a woman’s path, but the women in IST think much differently,” Anderson (freshman-security and risk analysis) said.
Farmer said the college celebrates men, too, but Women’s History Month provides a chance to celebrate women in technology.
Pictures displaying women in administrative positions in the college will be displayed throughout the IST building for students to see, Farmer said.
When the event began, Farmer said that nationwide, the number of women in technology was decreasing. But Farmer said this event shows women how they can succeed in technology, adding that in the past, it has had a positive effect.
“People have embraced and wrapped their arms around this event,” Farmer said.
Olivia Lewis, administrative support coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, also said she supports the event.
“It’s important because as a mother of two girls, I want them to feel that they can go into any job or field where their gender doesn’t stop them from reaching the stars,” Lewis said.