FVSU professor to participate in White House Champion of Change event

July 12, 2013 –“As an educator, I am not here just to teach but to be innovative, creative, and to make a difference in the lives of the students that I serve,” says Fort Valley State University associate professor of computer science, Dr. CherylSwanier. As a technology wizard, Swanieris passionate about preparing minorities and women to become America’s next generation of computer scientists and researchers, not only inside the classroom, but as a faculty advisor to three information technology campus organizations: the Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact; the Association for Computer Machinery; and the Students in Technology, Academic Research and Service.
U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is taking notice of Swanier’s mentoring efforts. Recently, the White House selected the associate professor to participate in its Champions for Change event in the technology field. Swanier will travel to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, July 31, to advise the government about ways it can better connect youth—from underrepresented groups, such as minorities and women—to computer science opportunities.
“I am honored to be invited to the White House with others from across the nation who are increasing public engagement in technology,” says Swanier. “At FVSU, one of my goals is to recruit and retain minorities and girls in computing.”
Every week, the White House’s Champions of Change program features a group of Americans who empower and inspire members of their community.
This recent acknowledgment has only boosted Swanier’s desire to ensure girls and minorities will enter the information technology field. Recently, the advisor and FVSUchapter members of Association of Computing Machinery conducted a daylong youth summit with Girls Inc., a nonprofit organization that aims to give girls self-confidence. More than 100 fourth through 12th graders from Albany, Columbus and Tifton, Ga. participated.
“We were able to teach the students to write code using a visual programming language, as well as how to develop a website,” says Swanier, who believes that others should also encourage girls to follow technology career paths.
“We are proud of Dr. Swanier’s accomplishments in mentoring, inspiring and preparing our students for the 21st century job market, by connecting them with internships and undergraduate research opportunities,” said Dr. Dawit Aberra, interim chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. “Her representation at the White House’s Champion of Change event is a reflection of her many accomplishments. We encourage her to continue making us proud.”
To learn about the Champions of Change program visithttp://www.whitehouse.gov/champions. For more information about FVSU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, call (478) 825-6731.
Christina D. Milton,writer
Fort Valley State University
Office of Marketing and Communications
(478) 822-7589, miltonc@fvsu.edu