Four projects created by computer-science students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison won a total of $12,000 in prizes in the computer science department's NEST competition on April 6.
"I'm excited for two reasons," said organizer Jignesh Patel, professor of computer science. "The first-prize winner, Moonshot Learning, already has made sales - indicating that it's answering a real need in the marketplace. And second, two of the four winners were headed by women, who have been traditionally under-represented in our field."
Until last year, Abigail Swetz was a teacher at O’Keeffe Middle School. There, she made a difference in the lives of 60 students a year for six years, but yearned to do more. She left teaching and is now a graduate student at UW-Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs with the intention of going into nonprofit advocacy work.
Though some of the sciences are seeing an increase in women, female students still feel the pressure to prove themselves in fields that men have historically dominated. As different campus groups push for inclusivity and more female representation in STEM fields, the women in these majors each have different outlooks on what it means to be in the minority.