Information technology is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy, with 1.4 million job openings expected by 2020. Although women make up more than half of the American workforce, they hold only 25 percent of technology and computing jobs, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. Wheaton College is trying to help to change those numbers.
On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, a group of Norton High School ninth- and 10th-grade students were invited to campus to hear from current Wheaton female students who are majoring in computer science and planning careers in the field.
The Women in Computer Science panel discussion, which was arranged by Office of Service, Spirituality, and Social Responsibility (SSSR) and the Computer Science Department, featured Lithia Helmreich ’16, Julia Morneau ’16, Katherine “Katie” Merin ’17, Grace Ulinski ’17 and Emma Steffens ’19. They talked about how they became interested in computer science and the opportunities the focus has opened up for them—from travel and teaching abroad to landing full-time jobs before graduating from Wheaton.
Caitlin Pieri ’17, a psychology major, is the tutoring coordinator for the Wheaton Tutor Outreach Program through SSSR and works with Norton High freshmen and seniors. She played host during the event and encouraged students to ask lots of questions.
In addition to hearing from panelist, the high school students were given a tour of the Wheaton Autonomous Learning Laboratory to get a glimpse at high-tech machines like the 3D printer in action.