Features — 13 October 2011

Murray State University’s Women in Computing student organization has received a $500 ReturnPath Student Seed Grant from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), according to Dr. Brenda Wilson.

Wilson, associate professor in the department of computer science and information systems, said the grant is to help with the recruitment of females in the computing field which typically has low numbers of women.

Shera Usher, a 2011 graduate of MSU’s college of business and department of computer science and information systems, now has her own startup web development company in her native Belize.

Usher served as president of Murray State’s chapter of Women in Computing last year. She and Wilson applied for the grant in the spring of 2011.

Wilson and members of the chapter have tried to reach out to regional middle and high schools to encourage women to consider computing as a field of study.

A Girl’s STEM Day, where regional schools participated in special activities on MSU’s campus, was conducted by Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).

Twenty of the female students participated in a workshop on the Alice computer science teaching tool conducted by Wilson. Students represented Russellville High School, Hopkinsville High School, Logan County High School and Mayfield High School.

Wilson, a member of the Murray State faculty since 1995, holds degrees from Harding University, University of Texas-Austin and Southern Illinois University.

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