June 14, 2013 –A Fort Valley State University professor received golden accolades from one of the nation’s top professional organizations for her efforts to mentor women in the field of computing.
The National Center for Women and Information Technology and AT&T recognizedFVSU’s associate professor of computer science, Dr. Cheryl Swanier, with its Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award at the annual NCWIT Summit in Tuscon, Ariz. last month. Swanier is one of only four women nationwide to receive the distinguished honor. In addition to her prestigious honor, AT&T presented FVSU with a $5,000 grant.
“Dr. Swanier makes us proud,” says Dr. Canter Brown Jr., executive vice president and interim vice president for academic affairs. “She illuminates the finest traditions of a mentoring institution.”
Swanier says she is excited and humbled by the honor. The associate professor says that she always strives to be a positive role model on campus and within the local community.
“I always wanted to make a difference in the world and in a field such as computer science,” says Swanier. “I believe that mentoring is very valuable for a student’s success.”
Swanier currently works as a faculty advisor for the FVSU Student Chapter of Association of Computing Machinery. The associate professor is also the program coordinator for the STARS (Students in Technology, Academia, Research and Service), and the ARTSI (Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact) alliances. Additionally, the advisor established a robotics lab for FVSU students.
“In computer science and engineering programs, there are proportionately fewer women and minorities in these areas,” she says. “During all of my computer science studies, I can only remember one woman that I had as an instructor, which at times was discouraging. I hope to continue contributing to ongoing efforts of building support networks, recruitment, and improving the success rate of these students.”
The professor believes that her award will be an inspiration to students.
“My goal as a teacher is not just to lecture, but also to inspire enthusiasm, getting students to actively participate in their education, and facilitate their learning with a proper educational scaffolding,” Swanier continues. “I believe that with adequate support that almost any student (who really applies themselves), can be successful with the proper support structure.”
The NCWIT is a nonprofit community of more than 450 corporations, academic institutions and government agencies that are working to increase women’s participation in information technology and computing.
For more information, contact FVSU’s Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at (478) 825-6731.