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      Point of Pride

      A Record Number of Women in Freshman Computer Programming

      Record Number of Women

      Widener is seeing a record number of females in the freshman computer programming class, raising the total number of females in all computing disciplines.

      The computing field has long been dominated by men, but female students and faculty at Widener are showing that doesn’t have to be the case in the future.

      Take, for instance, Professor Yana Kortsarts’ freshman computer programming course. A record 9 out of 47 students in the class are female, bringing the total number of females in all computing disciplines to 14.

      That is a comforting sight for freshman Kelsey Robinson.

      “It is really good to see that my teacher is female and that there are so many other females in the classroom,” said Robinson, a computer information systems major. “Now, the boys are asking me for help.”

      While computing has infiltrated nearly every part of modern life, it remains a field dominated by men, especially at the world’s top technology companies. However, there is increasingly a push for gender diversity.

      “Our clients won’t just be men so why should men be the only creators,” said Zuny Jamatte, a senior digital media informatics major who is interning at Catalyst Visuals in Wilmington. “Companies are trying to get more women, and that will be great for all of us.”

      The computing discipline has a strong female presence at Widener due in part to the Women in Computing Club started several years ago by Kortsarts.

      Club members meet weekly and students often work together on various activities and undergraduate research projects. The club also runs computer animation sessions on the ALICE 3D programming platform during the engineering mini-camp for high school girls run by the School of Engineering and participates in Community Technology Day hosted by the computer science department.

      “The club helps female students build social connections with each other and provides opportunities for upperclassmen to mentor freshman interested in the computing field,” Kortsarts said.

      Jamatte joined the club soon after she transferred to Widener two years ago. She loves having the opportunity to mentor underclassmen and organize events that help recruit other young women to STEM fields.

      Robinson said this supportive atmosphere is exactly what is setting her up for success during her first semester at Widener.

      “We want women to feel comfortable,” Jamatte said. “That supportive atmosphere is part of Widener University. I don’t feel like the guys are dominating or looking down on me.”

      “We are all at the same pace; we are all at the same place,” she added.


      Learn more about Widener's undergraduate computer science and digital media informatics programs.


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