Women’s History Month: CS Celebrates Women in Computer Science (WiCS)


March is Women’s History Month and the Department of Computer Science pays tribute to the hardworking members of Women in Computer Science (WiCS).

An organization, with a mission to support and encourage women in the field of computing, WiCS has realized amazing growth on campus. Focused on promoting an understanding between men and women in a technical environment, WiCS helps to increase women’s involvement in the field of computing.

Faculty Advisor Professor Jennifer Wong-Ma says, “The WiCS group has grown in size tremendously in the last few year due to the ambition and dedication of the board members. I am very proud of the community they have built. The Department of Computer Science is very supportive of the group and will continue to sponsor their activities.”

While the department meets the national average for women in computer science at 20%, outreach through WiCS is an important component in helping the department reach its goal of moving beyond the national average. As of spring 2015, WiCS is comprised of 215 undergrads and grads and prides itself on diversity.

President Sugam Manocha said, “It is a common misconception that we only permit women pursuing a computer science major to be members but some of our most active members are men; many of our members (even a member of our e-board) are pursuing fields far out of the scope of computer science. Our goal is to help bridge the gap between men and women in computer science and we encourage everyone, regardless of gender and field of study, to participate in our dialogue.”

At their general body meetings on the first and third Monday of every month, members have the opportunity to discuss member initiatives and build relationships that will last beyond graduation.

Recent special WiCS events include Meet the Founders, which featured the founding members of WiCS at Stony Brook who are now part of FactSet Research Systems. WiCS, along with other campus organizations including Alpha Omega Epsilon, Theta Tau, and the Society of Women Engineers, also hosted Steel Toes and Stilettos which taught students tips and tricks for succeeding as a female professional in the engineering industry.

The Department of Computer Science strongly supports WiCS. We are committed as a department to work with them on not only their campus events but we will help them to achieve their goals as students, career seekers, and lifelong learners,” said Arie Kaufman, Department Chair.

Manocha, whose role as president involves recruiting members, planning events and providing leadership to the executive board, said that WiCS members have received a number of exciting scholarships and have already accomplished so much as a group. The group works hard at finding scholarship and funding opportunities for their members. With many of the members receiving scholarships, and grants from such organizations as the Student Veterans of America, Google, and the Anita Borg Institute.

Members have interned at institutions such as Goldman Sachs, Bloomberg, Standard & Poor, Credit Suisse, Google, J.P Morgan Chase, Amazon, Motorola Solutions, IBM, Yahoo, EMC Corporation, and the Center of Excellence of Wireless and Information Technology (CEWIT).

Wong-Ma sums up this tribute to WiCS by saying, “My hope for the group is to continue to provide a supportive community for young women in CS; to mentor them, and to strengthen their contributions to the field. And to provide them with an environment and community which will support their learning and careers.”

The next WiCS General Board Meeting (GBM) takes place Monday, March 23 at 8:30pm in CS 2120. At this meeting underclassmen will be matched with upperclassmen for mentoring and advice on classes, internships, and the CS major. Visit the WiCS website to find out about other upcoming events.