Illinois Tech’s Association for Computing Machinery - Women (ACM-W) had their first general body meeting on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 in their new ACM-W Lounge space located in the IIT Tower on the 10th floor. They introduced the 2018 executive board and discussed upcoming events, which includes a Women in Cybersecurity general body meeting on September 11 in Siegel Hall room 118 during the lunch hour.
Nationally in the USA, 74% of STEM graduates are male and only 26% are female, according to millioinwomenmentors.com. One out of four female students report that their greatest challenges in attending college are confidence, motivation, or support. These are the statistics ACM-W is built to counter here at Illinois Tech.
ACM-W is an organization that aims to empower women in STEM on campus, particularly those in computer science (CS), information technology and management (ITM), and engineering fields. They do this by proactively encouraging activism, community, and mentorship for all for women. In their new lounge space, ACM-W has teaching scholars available Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesdays 9:30 to 11 a.m., Thursdays 3:30 to 9:30 p.m., and Fridays 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. These teaching scholars are well-versed in Illinois Tech’s undergraduate CS courses, as well as quite a few of the CS graduate courses. ACM-W encourages female tech students, especially first years, to connect with ACM-W and gain access to professional development opportunities, as well as interact with fellow girls in tech on campus.
ACM-W formed a partnership with WEN Chicago (Women Energy Network), and they host events in which professionals from the energy industry can meet and mentor members of ACM-W. One of ACM-W’s members was able to use networking techniques to connect with some of the WEN mentors and receive a referral for a summer internship as a software development consultant in 2018. She was able to turn this first step into a full time offer for 2019 and is now able to put the burden of searching for a full-time job for after graduation during the semester to the side. Students are encouraged to build their professional network as much as possible; a LinkedIn survey shows that 85% of all jobs are filled via networking.
In previous years, ACM-W has sent Illinois Tech students to the Grace Hopper Conference, a national renown conference aimed specifically to female computer scientists, attracting recruiters from companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft among many others. ACM-W has also sent students to the WECode Conference held at Harvard University (first years included). This semester, ACM-W members will be attending the Women of Color STEM Conference and the Grace Hopper Conference. Students are selected to attend conferences on the basis of participation among other criteria; those who are regular attendees in ACM-W events are far more likely to learn about and receive opportunities like these. To join ACM-W, connect with them on HawkLink and follow them on Facebook or Instagram!