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Last modified: Monday, March 9, 2009

WIC Week focuses professional development, tech talks on women

March 9, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- WIC Week, a string of events tonight (March 9) through Thursday -- organized by Indiana University's Women in Informatics and Computing -- will focus as much on the social aspects of securing success in technology fields as it will on talking technical applications.

Beginning with tomorrow's "How to Work a Room" that includes critiqued interactions with local business women, and ending Thursday with an IU psychologist's examination of the "Imposter Syndrome," WIC Week is but one outgrowth of an organization founded in 2002 to increase opportunities for women in computing and information technology.

Women in Computing Week

Events get underway tonight and run through Thursday during IU's Women in Informatics and Computing Week.

IU first lady Laurie McRobbie, an adjunct faculty member in the School of Informatics, opens the event March 9 at an invitation-only kickoff dinner. She will present a speech appropriate for both WIC Week and the current Women's History Month, entitled "Personal Retrospect and Collective Prospect: Women in Science and Technology in the 21st Century." The dinner is also an opportunity to recognize about 25 IU faculty and staff for their support of WIC goals and programs.

Women in Informatics and Computing's membership consists of IU students, faculty and staff from Informatics, Computer Science and Library and Information Sciences who work to create a forum for issues pertaining to women in computing. Professional development, an underlying theme of WIC Week, is one of the issues the organization regularly addresses through interactions with professionals, industry representatives and community outreach.

Maureen Biggers, assistant dean for Diversity and Education in the School of Informatics, said the topics resulted from brainstorming on the part of students and faculty, and range from personal development to technical presentations.

"We're promoting personal development and empowerment as key tools that lead to successful careers," Biggers said. "But we also have some technical presentations that not only focus on research, but that also will help develop good public speaking skills."

Three Minute Madness is one such presentation on Wednesday where both faculty and student researchers are given only three minutes to blitz through verbal abstracts focusing on their current research. Thursday, Chris Meno of IU's Counseling and Psychological Services will discuss a phenomenon often present in high achieving men and women where they are unable to experience themselves as successful, competent individuals.

"They may believe they are 'imposters' who have been mistakenly admitted to graduate school, awarded a grant or conferred a degree, and who will soon fail at their work, allowing others to discover their ineptitude," Meno explained. "This constant self-doubt and fear can lead women to feel stressed, disappointed in themselves, and even depressed. My talk will explore reasons women may experience this, and how they can learn to feel competent in their abilities."

Here's a complete list of the upcoming events:

  • Tuesday, March 10 -- "How to Work a Room," 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., SoFa Gallery, Fine Arts Building. Includes a brief presentation on effective networking in a personal environment and a practice and discussion session with local business women.
  • Wednesday, March 11 -- "Three Minute Madness," 11 a.m. to noon, Room 130, Informatics East. Grab a free pizza lunch in the lobby and then listen as women students and faculty deliver brief overviews of their current research.
  • Wednesday, March 11 -- "What NOT to Wear: Dressing for Success," 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Room 130, Informatics East. Find out what "business casual" really means and listen to guest "specialists" provide the lowdown on fashion dos and don'ts.
  • Thursday, March 12 -- "Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome," 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Room 130, Informatics East. Hear Chris Meno of IU's Counseling and Psychological Services discuss a phenomenon often present in high achieving men and women: "When will 'they' discover that I'm not as smart as they think I am?"

To speak with Biggers or Meno, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896, or