Nela Brown, EECS PhD Student, featured as part of the BCS Women in IT Campaign
EECS’ Phd Student, Nela Brown is supporting a new campaign to inspire women and young girls to consider a career in IT. Nela, who began her career as a sound artist has written a blog post offering advice to young women which will feature in the month long campaign being run by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.
There is a real perception issue about what a career in IT is about so I’m telling my story to try show the kind of success you can have as a woman working in this field. Young girls and young people in general, are blind to the opportunities of a career in IT; they use the technology every day via their smartphone and tablets but they don’t consider that this could offer them a career. This is something we need to change.
Women are in the minority in the IT profession, making up 15-18% of it. This is a real issue. Girls and women are users of technology, they also need to realise that they can be part of the profession that creates the technology they enjoy so much.
Nela will feature in the campaign alongside other influential women in IT to demonstrate the variety of roles that are open to young women. Those who have signed up to support the campaign include entrepreneur Cary Marsh, Dame Stephanie Shirley who started her own software business in 1962 because of the dearth of opportunities for women in the profession, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton, Maggie Philbin, CEO of TeenTech and technology broadcaster and journalist Kate Russell.
Gillian Arnold, Chair of BCSWomen, who are organising the campaign says:
We’re delighted to have the support of Nela Brown and so many other influential women in IT. It’s vital that we show more young women what an amazing career IT offers. Role models are very important for showing girls and women what they can achieve in this profession; IT is at the heart of almost every aspect of our society and we need women to be part of the creation of the next generation of IT.
Nela founded G.Hack, an art and technology lab for female researchers at EECS in 2011, with the aim to create a supportive and women friendly learning environment in which skill sharing and hands-on experimental production can take place. In the past 3 years G.Hack collaborated with other universities, arts organizations and commercial companies to develop interactive audio-visual installations, run technology workshops and exhibit at museums, galleries, digital & art festivals and academic conferences.
In June, as part of Sonar 2014 (Barcelona’s 21st International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media), G.Hack will be running a technology workshop teaching female participants from all over the world about the culture of software and hardware hacking and building cool hacks using Web Audio APIs. Nela will also be chairing a panel with inspirational women founders, leaders, researchers and advocates of cyberfeminism, hacktivism, open culture and free tech education. More about G.Hack activities can be found at: http://ghack.eecs.qmul.ac.uk.
In recognition of her work with G.Hack, WISE@QMUL and Flossie, inspiring girls and young women to enter the field of computer science, in November 2013, Nela was presented with a prestigious Highly Commended WISE Leader AWARD by the patron of WISE, HRH The Princes Royal.
Nela’s blog post can be found at: www.bcs.org/itwomen interviews and blogs from the women involved in the campaign will feature daily on the site throughout May.
Note: Profile image courtesy of Catherine Rose Photography.