Interview: Jennifer Westling, IC Women in Computing

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Jennifer Westling is an IG member, CS student at Ithaca College, and co-founder of IC Women in Computing (ICWC). Recently her group hosted a “Get Your Git On” event at IC and invited IG President, Jenn Colt, to lead the workshop. We caught up with Jennifer Westling to get the details.

IG: So you just hosted an event up at IC recently. What was it?

JW: It was called “Get Your Git On”. It was a training in a version control software called Git.

IG: How did your group decide to host this event?

JW: Part of ICWC’s mission is to further the professional development of our members.

Git is widely-used in the professional world and is an incredibly useful tool to know.

Git allows for version control in software development. It makes it very easy to track the changes made in development and to test those changes before they get committed to the permanent product.

It is not usually taught in the classroom.  But many professors have mentioned that it is one of those things that dedicated students will make the effort to learn outside of the classroom.

We had a wonderful turnout with more than 20 students learning Git.

IG: How did IG president Jenn Colt get involved?

JW: Jenn Colt offered a class on Git training at Ithaca Generator last semester so when ICWC was looking for a qualified individual to teach us Git, they were the first place we thought of.

I attended Jenn Colt’s training at IG in the spring of 2015.  It was fantastic and informative and exactly what we needed. Jenn’s job at Cornell requires heavy use of Git, so she is well versed in the software. She’s also incredibly talented and able to troubleshoot the many bumps on the road to getting the software set up on individual machines.

The training was thorough, well-paced, and covered all of the topics that we needed as new Git users.

IG: Cool. How did ICWC come to be?

JW: I transferred to Ithaca College from TC3. At TC3, there was only one other girl in my computer science classes and she didn’t end up staying in computer science.  I really wanted to change that.

So ICWC started when I met another female computer science student on my first day of class at Ithaca College in September 2014. Shelby Cohen and I quickly realized that we shared the same major.  I told her that I was impressed by the number of girls I saw in the Computer Science department at Ithaca College and that I had been thinking about setting up a group for women in computing.  She told me she was interested in doing the same thing and had already set up a meeting with her advisor after class!  So we started it together.

IG: Nice. What’s next for ICWC?

JW: Coming up next for ICWC, we have a resume building website next weekend where we teach how to use customize a Bootstrap template to make a clean and professional website.

IG: Where can we go to learn more about efforts support women in computing?

JW: I would encourage anyone with an interest in computing to read about the challenges facing women in technology. We need everyone to understand the problem so we can all work to fix it.

This NPR story is a good starting point: http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2014/10/21/357629765/when-women-stopped-coding

And this report from AAUW:

http://www.aauw.org/research/solving-the-equation/

IG: Thanks!