New chapters for women in information and computing at Penn State Harrisburg

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Penn State Harrisburg’s School of Business Administration recently was approved for two new student chapters of organizations that support women in information, computing and cybersecurity. The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) approved a new student chapter of ACM’s Committee on Women in Computing (ACM-W) for the college in January. Similarly, Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) approved a new student chapter of their organization for the college in May.

Kelsey Kirk, lecturer in information technology, will serve as the faculty adviser for both chapters.

Student chapters of ACM-W and WiCyS serve to increase recruitment and retention of women in information, computing and cybersecurity disciplines, respectively, at the college. The chapters offer students activities and projects that aim to improve the working and learning environments for women.

The Penn State Harrisburg student chapters of these organizations provide networking opportunities, resources and access to events that help to recruit, retain and support women in information technology, computer science and cybersecurity degree programs at the college. The chapters will operate under the Penn State Harrisburg Women in Technology (WIT) student organization, with direction from the student leaders of all three entities. For the 2022-23 academic year, Sarah Shaub will serve as president of both the Women in Tech student organization and the WiCyS student chapter, while the ACM-W student chapter’s executive board will consist of Sarah Calkins as chair, Trish Bui as co-chair, and Jayla Galbreath as secretary.

“Our chapters allow students to come together to form a community of women in information, computing and cybersecurity, which is especially important given that women in these industries are typically underrepresented,” Kirk said. 

In 2020, Kirk was recruited to be a faculty adviser for the college’s newly formed WIT student organization. In addition, the Upsilon Pi Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Pennsylvania (UPE) was chartered at Penn State Harrisburg in May 2021, for which Kirk currently serves as a faculty co-advisor.  Thanks to the efforts of WIT president Sarah Shaub and past UPE president Sarah Abraham, the collaboration between the two organizations led to the chartering of the Penn State Harrisburg ACM-W Student Chapter, and subsequently the WiCyS Penn State Harrisburg Student Chapter.

“The School of Business Administration is always striving to create new opportunities for students to develop leadership and professional skills, foster community, and support a diverse workforce,” Kirk said. “The Penn State Harrisburg ACM-W and WiCyS student chapters embody those goals by giving students the opportunity to get involved with professional organizations and to come together for the shared goal of supporting women in technology fields.”