IGT and URI launch IT scholarship program for women – URI News
KINGSTON, RI – November 10, 2022 – With generous support from IGT, the Department of Computer Science and Statistics at the University of Rhode Island is launching a four-year scholarship program aimed at increasing the number of women who specialize in computers.
The IGT Scholarship Program for Women in Computing – a $200,000 investment from IGT over the next four years – will open with a cohort of 10 women who are currently freshmen at URI . The scholarships provide a total of approximately $20,000 per student over four years and are open to any freshman who identifies as a woman. The deadline to apply is December 15. Recipients will be announced in January.
“IGT has partnered with URI for decades to provide top-quality internships, and we are excited to expand our support for URI students in this new capacity as we aim to increase the number of female computer science graduates,” said Rachel Barber, Senior Vice President of IGT and Chief Technology Officer of Global Gaming. “As a URI alumnus, I hope this IGT Scholars program will inspire more women to pursue IT-focused careers and allow them to confidently enter a career in technology. “
“We are deeply grateful that IGT has stepped up this investment in our students,” said Jen Riley, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which houses the computer science department. “In doing so, they help ensure that they and other companies have a diverse pool of workforce-directed talent that benefits everyone. At the same time, they strengthen our computer science program by helping us recruit and retain excellent students.
Nationally, women have earned about 57% of all bachelor’s degrees and about half of all science and engineering degrees since the late 1990s, but they only make up about 18% of those who graduate. a bachelor’s degree in computer science, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project.
Lisa DiPippo, chair of computer science at URI, sees the same disparity at URI, where the number of female computer science graduates is less than 20%. Over the past decade, the number of women graduating from the program has ranged from 11% to 17%. Seeking to find answers, the department researched programs at other universities and its own, she said.
“One of the things our research found was that women who left IT did not fare any worse than men who stayed in IT,” DiPippo said. “Women didn’t leave because of their grades. They were leaving because they felt they didn’t belong. They felt they wanted to find a major where there were more people like them.
Funding a cohort of 10 women – who will take courses and work together – can strengthen their sense of belonging, she said. This peer network nurtured by the scholarships can extend that sense of community to other women in the program. But also, DiPippo said, professors and IT staff will hold regular meetings and workshops with fellows on several topics, including academics, career coaching and job search skills.
“This scholarship program could be a game-changer,” she said. “IGT has very generously provided money to this cohort of students over the next four years. They set the tone. It is now our hope that we can find more companies that decide they want to do this. But it’s also a game-changer for the women in this cohort, giving them a sense of belonging that the group will provide and the confidence to succeed.
The IGT Scholars program will provide recipients with a $2,500 scholarship in the second semester of their freshman year and $5,000 scholarships over the following three years. Additionally, in their second year, fellows will be able to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration, the world’s largest gathering of women in technology.
But a big part of the scholarship program, DiPippo said, will be connecting recipients and the University to IGT. Recipients will be able to meet industry mentors from the company, and the program additionally opens up opportunities for internships and a senior capstone project where students can work on industry issues with an IGT engineer.
“IGT is an international company,” she said. “It’s a great introduction to all sorts of different paths students could go with their computer science degree.”
The scholarship program is open to any first-year URI student who identifies as a woman and is majoring in computer science or intends to major in the program. IGT scholars must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher.
A webinar will be held on November 16 at 5 p.m. for students who are considering applying to learn more about the IGT scholarship program. (Find a link to the webinar on the scholarship webpage.)
IGT (NYSE:IGT) is a global leader in gaming. It provides entertaining and responsible gaming experiences for players across all channels and regulated segments, from lotteries and gaming machines to sports and digital betting. Leveraging a wealth of compelling content, substantial investments in innovation, player insights, operational expertise and cutting-edge technology, IGT’s solutions deliver unparalleled gaming experiences. that engage players and drive growth. IGT has a well-established local presence and relationships with governments and regulators in over 100 countries around the world, and creates value by adhering to the highest standards of service, integrity and accountability. IGT has approximately 10,500 employees. For more information, visit www.igt.com.