Engineering at Nebraska, Spring 2008
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Wise Women Draws College-Bound Girls to PKI

01Women can be wise at any age, and WISE Women knows the opportunities in science and engineering.

Eleven young women- high school juniors and seniors from across the state- learned about information science and engineering careers at the fourth Women in Information Science & Engineering (WISE) workshop, last October in Omaha. Each student was accompanied by a school sponsor.

The workshop, referred to as WISE Women, was directed by Ann Fruhling, an assistant professor with UNO's College of Information Science & Technology (IS&T) at The Peter Kiewit Institute, and assisted by Connie Jones, IS&T outreach coordinator.

"Our intent is to expose young women to career opportunities in information technology and engineering at a time when they are making important decisions about their future," Fruhling said. "We were very pleased with this year's participation."

02WISE Women began Friday evening with a trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo, where participants got a behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo's research facilities and heard a presentation by reproductive physiologist Dr. Naida Loskutoff.

Saturday was full of technology sessions at PKI, including lighting and acoustics, bioinformatics, animation and programming, project management and assembling of various computer components. During lunch, the students were joined by faculty members, followed by a career panel of women in information technology and engineering. In a prize drawing, six students each won a computer system.

Letters sent to high schools throughout Nebraska in early September asked school counselors to nominate students for WISE Women. Attendees were chosen from this list of nominees based on ACT scores, grades and overall performance in school.

"We know that women are seriously underrepresented in careers related to information technology and engineering," Fruhling said.

03According to a recent report by the National Council for Research on Women, women earned only 18 percent of engineering degrees in 1996, and less than 10 percent of full professors in the sciences today are women.

Funding for WISE Women was provided by the Women's Fund of Greater Omaha, the Women's Fund Little Women grant, Nebraska EPSCoR, The Peter Kiewit Institute, and the College of IS&T.

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