Watch out, guysâ€”the information technology sector is no longer your domain. In response to the increasing population of women entering the field, the Center for the Management of Information Systems (CMIS) in Mays Business School at Texas A&M University held its ninth annual Women in Information Technology (WIT) conference February 21 at Reed Arena. Combining beauty and brains, WIT is the idea of Dr. Evan Anderson, the E.D. Brockett Professor of Information and Operations Management at Mays.
At its inception in 2000, WIT was a small and informal event to acquaint female students with the range of career choices open to them in IT. This year, corporate leaders ConocoPhillips, Dell, EDS, Chevron, Deloitte, ExxonMobil and Anadarko Petroleum donated funds for the event, making it the most sponsored WIT conference thus far. The event’s theme was “Managing Your Career,” and featured an interactive workshop panel facilitated by Lori Williamson, strategist for DBI IT (Design, Build and Integrate) Retail and Reseller Programs at Dell. The keynote address was delivered by Lynette Graversen, director of Enterprise Systems Management at Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.
Company representatives at the WIT conference were welcomed by a audience of bright young women, thirsty for knowledge about how top firms address some of the issues women face in the industry today. As professionals discussed concerns of future job candidates, participants were able to grasp a better understanding of the IT industry while simultaneously creating a network of future contacts and mentors. Senior executives, managers, professionals, and newly hired women in the workforce presented on topics such as finding a job, building a career path, career expectations, finding a mentor, networking, and work-life balance. The event was also a valuable networking and learning opportunity for the professionals.
Ninety students from College Station and four other A&M campuses (Corpus Christi, Kingsville, International, and Prairie View) participated, as well as students from Bryan High School. Forty professional women hailing from CMIS board member companies took part in the conference. Participants interacted in roundtable discussions featuring personal experiences from women working in the information technology sector. WIT presented a unique opportunity for students to have their questions answered by professionals at all stages of their careers.
Thanks to CMIS and the corporate sponsors, WIT provided participants with several scholarship opportunities and door prizes. Congratulations to the following recipients of a $100 scholarship: Kristi Tipton, Prairie View A&M; Melissa Bueno, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Sowmya Vinta, Texas A&M International (Laredo); Sarah Hartman, Texas A&M University; and Daryela Sarabia, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Additionally, two companies brought door prizes for the students, including an iPod Nano from Chevron and an Inspiron writing journal from Dell.
“We’re excited about the continued success of WIT and the support it has received from companies and individuals involved in the IT industry,” said George Fowler, director of CMIS and professor at Mays. “The conference serves a very important function for our female INFO majors, because it deals with aspects of leadership and career building specific to women, including balancing family and work-life. However, we’re also cognizant of the fact that all business professionals face these issues, and we’re working to include all our students,” Fowler added.
For more information regarding the Women in Information Technology Symposium, please call the CMIS office at (979) 845-1618 or visit their website at http://cmis.tamu.edu.