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UNC computer science major starts week to acknowledge women in technology

The Department of Computer Science holds a Women in Tech Discussion Panel as part of the Women in Tech Week on Wednesday night
The Department of Computer Science holds a Women in Tech Discussion Panel as part of the Women in Tech Week on Wednesday night

She said she wants to raise awareness that women are underrepresented in many tech industries and show how people at UNC can make a difference.

“I think the biggest goal would just be to start a conversation and hopefully people that felt like they didn’t really have an idea of what they could do to change this gender gap walk away from this week with some concrete examples of things that they can do to be more supportive of women in tech in general,” Llewellyn said.

Gina Rozier, external relations manager of the Department of Computer Science, helped Llewellyn start the week.

“When Kaylee came up the idea, I think she had originally figured we would do a day ... ” Rozier said. “And when she said she wanted it to be big — and she did, she said she wanted it to be big — so then we needed it to be an amount of time ... so we thought, ‘Why don’t we make multiple events throuought the week.”

Rozier said they advertised for the week mainly through social media and through fliers. She said they garnered a lot of student participation.

Second-year graduate student in the Department of Computer Science, Tanya Amert, said she’s always loved to play with computers.

“I really like visual things, so being able to describe, say, an image or scene really simply and visualize that, or even simplify daily tasks, like math homework or keeping track of what I wanna do today — any of that I do with technology,” Amert said.

She said she thinks women in the tech industry face hurdles and is glad there is an opportunity to have a conversation about the issue.

Computer science professor Mike Reiter, who helped organize the Women in Tech Week, said the lack of women in the field is important to address.

“I think it hurts the field a lot and I think obviously, you know, there are a lot of job opportunities in this field so I think it’s important that women have these opportunities as well,” he said. “So I think the Women in Tech Week is one of many ways we can try to bring attention to this issue.”

Reiter said it is a win-win to hold events like Women in Tech Week, because it benefits women and the field in general.

Computer science professor Diane Pozefsky said one thing that can help increase women representation in the field is to encourage women to consider technology in the first place.

“We have a lot of different efforts, one of them is introducing them to computers and technologies through different paths ... if you get people excited about what they can do, before they start working on what they do, if you can show them they can do things to help other people or they can make a difference in certain areas, whether it be the humanities or things like that, we’ll get them coming in from a whole lot of different areas,” she said.

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