The Woods Partners with National Center for Women & Information Technology, Again

June 5th, 2013 | SMWC

By Lisa Luper

The Building Future Experiences Club at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will soon receive a 3-D printing technology, thanks to a grant from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).  The club, originated from the Business and Computer Information Systems department received a $750 NCWIT Symantec Student Seed Fund grant to help support women in technology.

The club’s proposal was awarded the grant because its goal – to spark women’s interest and appreciation for technology – aligned with NCWIT's mission to propose activities, events, or other programs that will recruit, retain, and support women in technology and computing-related majors. The funding will provide software training for the club and provide opportunities for other students to be exposed to and learn new technology.

Josephine Nieto, the vice president of the club, was excited to learn they had received the grant. “The NCWIT grant will help us to meet that goal by helping us learn how to use the printer and teach the other student as well.”

During the club’s first year in 2011, the group was awarded a NCWIT $500 grant to hands-on activities to encourage students of all majors to explore technology. The students created a discovery room to meet and work on projects including programming, phone application programming and robotics. They also worked to educate other students about the usefulness of technology regardless of major, such as teaching equine students the benefits of spreadsheets to assist with stable management. Students also lead workshops at SMWC’s annual Expanding Your Horizons conference designed to encourage middle school girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Over the past two years, the club has grown from six to 24 members.

Susan Dolle, director of grants development, said that the Building Future Experiences Club contributes to many useful projects on campus. “I appreciate their openness to different ideas to encourage people to not be afraid of using technology,” Dolle said.

SMWC students Anna Bailey, business administration major from Caledonia, Mich., and Josephine Nieto, computer information systems major from Fort Wayne, Ind., submitted the grant proposal with assistance from advisor Lana Lytle, associate professor of computer information systems.

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