A Look Into the Women in Technology Chi Chapter at UGA

The Women in Technology (WIT) Chi Chapter at the University of Georgia is an organization that strives to promote the success of women and decrease their underrepresentation in the tech field. WIT helps UGA students develop leadership qualities and technical skills that will result in personal and professional success. The president of Women in Technology, Dalia Aly, says that although there are many other technology-based organizations at UGA, what sets WIT apart is its welcoming community.

“Our mission statement is to empower women with the tools they need to be successful in the technology industry,” says Aly. She believes that this empowerment is generated by helping members make connections, and by prepping them for careers in the technology industry. One way that Women in Technology does this is by having companies come out to do workshops that focus on career development as well as tech development.

Aly tells women entering the technology industry to “own who you are,” and not to stay somewhere that doesn’t appreciate this concept. Aly always wants to be her “authentic and true self” wherever she is, and says that “if that place isn't accepting of me, then I either one: want to change it, or two: it’s not the place for me...I’m never one to hide myself or kind of shy away from anything,” she explains.

Women in Technology’s passion for community outreach has also lead them to host events that aim to educate non-members about the technology industry. WIT recently partnered with State Farm to sponsor App Day, an annual event that aims to teach kids from Clarke County schools the basics of app development, that took place in the University of Georgia’s Tate Reception Hall on Feb. 21.

The students listened as members of the Department of Management Information Systems and State Farm talked about careers in the technological field and their experiences working in information technology.

MIS director and lecturer, Craig Allan Piercy, instructed students to pull up Microsoft TouchDevelop, a tool that gives step-by-step instructions on how to create apps, on an mobile device. Volunteers circulated the room to assist students with any questions throughout the workshop.

President Dalia Aly told the students that she wanted them to walk away from the event having asked either a volunteer or an officer about the MIS or Computer Science majors. Aly also hopes that this event will “spark a new curiosity” in students, and encourage them to “dig deeper” into the technological field.

“We don’t have enough graduates right now,” said MIS Department Head, Marie-Claude Boudreau. She said that because of these low numbers, MIS students are often able to secure amazing job opportunities with good starting salaries prior to graduation. Boudreau encouraged the Clarke County students to either combine MIS with their other degrees or to double major.

Michael Bosby, a film technology teacher who attended App Day, is also encouraging students to explore the technical field. “I wanted my students to come in and get an idea of how to build an app, and how what they’re doing as far as film technology, coincides with technology, period,” says Bosby.

Bosby said that events like App Day can positively affect his students. He realized this after seeing how much his students enjoyed visiting the Games and Virtual Environments Lab at UGA weeks prior.

The students left the event with a State Farm gift bag, the app they created and more information about what the world of technology can offer them in the future.