By Julia Andretta
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. - The Department of Computer Science will host its 10th annual Girls Day on Saturday, Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is a day of activities for girls in grades 6 through 8 from several local area schools with the purpose of stimulating an interest in technology.
Through a series of workshops presented by women who are professionals in the technological world, the students will have the opportunity to learn about robots, animation, video game and web page creation, creating visuals from photos, and video editing. The goal of the program is to show these girls that there is no reason for computer science to be a male-dominated industry and that women have as much reason to be interested in technology as men.
Girls Day was founded by Dr. Suzanne Watson, former lecturer in computer science at St. Bonaventure, after she read about the decreased interest in the sciences among middle-school aged girls. Dr. Dalton Hunkins assisted Watson in this endeavor until her retirement a year and a half ago, and has now taken over the leadership of the program.
“The goal has always been to try to stimulate interest among girls into technology and in particular computer technology,” Hunkins said. “In most cases, by the time girls even get to eighth grade their interest in technology has been lost, so we try to stimulate that interest at an earlier age. The focus is that, to women and girls, technology shouldn’t be a foreign thing.”
Graduates of St. Bonaventure who will be presenting workshops are Kristin Keenan (education, ’02), Angela Wood (computer science, ’09), Karen Reynolds (computer science, ’03), Denise Goodman (computer science and mathematics, ’90), Barbara McNally (computer science, ’93), Angela Colomaio (computer science and mba, ’07), and Barbara Snyderman (computer science, ’93). Other presenters are Jen Dempsey, an SBU senior studying computer science and mathematics, and Karla Bright of the University's Technology Services department.
The program will end with a panel discussion in which the girls can ask whatever questions they have about the field and what got the presenters interested in working with technology.
“Most of the presenters are women working in the industry of computer science, so it’s a case of ‘I can do it, and I think you can, too.’ It’s a chance to give these girls role models that they can view as examples to follow,” said Hunkins.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Catholic Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.