BYU Women in Computer Science Club creates a space for support and opportunity

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Women in Computer Science club gathered a few weeks ago via Zoom for their opening social and will continue to meet to create a supportive environment for women in STEM. (Cheyenne Son)

The Women in Computer Science (WiCS) club on campus strives to facilitate a supportive environment for students while still networking and creating opportunities this semester.

WiCS vice president Jackie Hu said the tech industry is demanding for everyone, but BYU is especially competitive. Hu finds, however, that clubs like WiCS provide a space for minorities. She said the benefit of being part of WiCS is “having a community of support and a constant source of inspiration when you are struggling in hard classes or feel like an imposter.”

Computer science professor and new academic advisor of WiCS Xinru Page explained how when working through school, she turned to her female professors and mentors because of the similar communication styles she experienced among women. She preferred having a mentor with whom she felt comfortable, especially in a field where “you feel like you’re different,” Page said.

The club brings together women who are studying computer science but also provides many opportunities for them to connect to companies outside of BYU to learn about the industry.

“This club is a great vehicle to connect its members with folks who are doing work out in the industry but also for the members themselves to try and connect, support one another and build friendships,” Page said.

The Women in Computer Science club supports students and encourages connection and networking for student success. (wics.byu.edu)

The club continues to connect virtually with events planned throughout Fall Semester, according to WiCS co-president Cheyenne Son. The club will hold two main events and a monthly social for members.

The club’s first event will be a collaboration with Dartmouth College where they will host a skill-a-thon. This event will include alumni and professors teaching workshops for students to gain skills in almost any area of computer science at any level.

In November, the club will be hosting a Women’s Panel with three to four women from the industry. The event will allow students to ask questions about the experiences these women have had in the field.

The club will also host a social hour once a month, which will allow students to get to know other women in the major outside of their class time, build a supportive environment and strengthen relationships.

Son said all the events WiCS has hosted and will host allow members to gain networking experience for their futures because these events are often sponsored by companies such as Microsoft, Qualtrics, SimpleNexus and Lucid.

The club will continue to be a place of support and opportunity despite not being able to gather physically, as all of these events will be held virtually.

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