Oct. 26, 2011
Students gain planning experience, network with professionals at computing conference
By Brittany Keithley, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University faculty and students helped organize and attended the first Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas Women in Computing (MINKWIC) conference Oct. 7-8 in Kansas City, Mo.
Dr. Carol Spradling, associate professor of computer science and information systems, co-chaired the event while Dr. Judy Clark, assistant professor of computer science and information systems, and Dr. Carolyn Hardy, assistant professor of computer science and information systems, helped with registration.
“The Missouri Iowa Nebraska Kansas Women in Computing conference was a success because of significant Northwest student contributions,” Spradling said. “Northwest students were able to apply their area of expertise to a ‘real’ problem, and their contributions enhanced the MINK WIC conference experience.”
Sarah Peters, a graduate student in applied computer science, and Brandon Guffey, a senior graphic design major from Kansas City, Mo., also loaned their expertise to the event. Peters acted as the student coordinator and Guffey as the graphic designer.
As the student coordinator for the MINKWIC conference, Peters worked with two other coordinators to create a networking activity to get women involved and to encourage them to meet new people.
“It was a really great experience working at the conference,” Peters said. “I got to meet a lot of people from other universities and professionals from the industry. I got to work with some really amazing people who really pulled through and put on a great conference.”
Guffey consulted with Spradling to develop a new logo and website for the event. He worked alongside nine graduate students from Northwest who developed the MINKWIC web site over a year and a half period.
“It was a good experience working with multiple disciplines as I worked with graduate students and faculty on the projects,” Guffey said. “I enjoyed doing something that was more than a school project that incorporated four different states and was a lot bigger than Northwest. It was a different experience designing for a client where I don’t fit the demographic. I had to think outside my normal thought process.”
Other Northwest students who helped with the conference included Elise Jones, social media specialist; Ashley Herring, event planning assistant; and web masters Jiachen Duan, Ravali Bhagvath, Rajasekaran Prasanna Kumar, Sharma Sankalp, Kalyan Punukollu, Meettu Rajendran Aneesi, Navaneetha Mareddy, Ramya Muddu and Rohit Kanwar.
About 175 students and faculty from 19 colleges and universities as well as two local high school students and several industry professionals attended MINK WIC. Highlights included a poster session, lightning talks, graduate research papers and panel discussions. Another conference highlight was the post-conference career fair attended by four graduate schools and 16 companies including Microsoft, Google, IBM, Booz Allen Hamilton, Sprint, Cerner, Garmin, Gallup, DST Systems, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Goldman Sacs, Sandhillls Publishing, VML, Principal Financial Hallmark and Monsanto.
This regional meeting, modeled after the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, brought together students, faculty and technology leaders from across the four states to discuss the role of women in today's computing and technology fields, share experiences and strategies for success and explore issues common to women working in these fields. Specifically, the goal was to provide an opportunity for young women to explore opportunities in computing, network with other women from academia, industry and government and create friendships among women in the region who share the same interest and passion for computing. This celebration was part of a nationwide effort to address the alarming decline of women choosing computer science professions.
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