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IU Program To Encourage Women In Computer Technology

An Indiana University-based program aimed at encouraging young women to pursue careers in computer technology will receive a boon from a new grant. “Bring IT On” – that’s IT for information technology – is a national initiative designed to expand the services of “JustBe,” a local K-12 outreach program started by Suzanne Menzel. The Bring IT On program received a $5,000 grant from the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund.

Menzel, a senior lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the School of Informatics, describers her program as a “road show” that visits high schools with a presentation designed to encourage girls into computer technology-related fields by dispelling popular myths about those fields. Menzel points to statistics from the Computer Research Association that indicated only 15 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computer science and related fields were earned by women in 2005. She hopes that imbalance will diminish as young women who’ve sat through the JustBe program grow up and choose majors in college.

Menzel’s grant award-winning program Bring IT On is an initiative to share the JustBe program with other educators so they can bring it back to their areas of the state and around the country. She says the $5,000 grant from the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund will go toward that effort.

Grants from the Hello Tomorrow Fund are being made weekly to female applicants across the country through April of 2008. Menzel was the 13th award recipient. The board of judges includes pop personal finance expert Suze Orman, along with Avon company officials and other philanthropic leaders.

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