Women’s computing club started on Florham Campus

WICS

Above (from left): FDU's Women in Computing Science Club members Taylor Martin, Sabrina Antoni, Kathleen Falcon, and Heather Post. (Photos courtesy of Ashley Moura)


By Kaidi Ilves

“A lot of girls find the computer science field to be very intimidating because the majority of students in it are male,” says Ashley Moura, a sophomore at Fairleigh Dickinson University majoring in computer science with a concentration in cybersecurity.

Moura, along with Sabrina Antoni, Taylor Martin, Selena McCracken, and Heather Post, founded FDU’s Women in Computing Science Club (WICS) to engage female students in computer science and other STEM majors. “There are currently only 1-2 girls in each computer science class, and there is a huge gender gap in the field in general. Our goal is to provide a comfortable space for girls in computer science to communicate with each other,” says Moura.

The club has recently started learning the Python coding language, and they are working on organizing an Hour of Code — an event in which WICS members teach coding to elementary school children. Moura says, “We are toying with the idea of using the Hour of Code to teach non-computer science students at FDU as well.”

Women in Computer Science Club

WICS Club members (from left) Ashley Moura, Sabrina Antoni, Heather Post, Selena McCracken, Kathleen Falcon and Taylor Martin after the completion of their first "The Hour of Code" event.


WICS is advised by Neelu Sinha, associate professor of computer science; Laila Khreisat, associate professor of computer science and chair of the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics; and Kiron Sharma, director of University Core and professor of computer science in the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Physics on FDU's Florham Campus. The club’s activities are supported by a $3,000 grant from The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Google.

The club currently has 14 members, and they meet on the last Thursday of every month. Students from all majors are encouraged to join. For more information about WICS and the club’s upcoming interest meetings, contact Heather Post at h_npost@student.fdu.edu.