Computing success

Female students receive prestigious computer science award


Female students from the state of Texas attend the award ceremony for the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Junior Kaitlyn Gordon and senior Macheala McAdams both received the 2018 DFW Affiliate Winner of the NCWIT Award for aspirations in computing. submitted photo

Story by Celeste Anderson, editor in chief

Senior Macheala McAdams and junior Kaitlyn Gordon attended an award ceremony for the National Center for Women and Information Technology on March 28 where they were honored with the 2018 DFW Affiliate Winner of the NCWIT Award for aspirations in computing, marking them among the top ten female students in computer science in the state of Texas.

“The National Center for Women and Information Technology starts in high school and ends at the collegiate level,” McAdams said. “There are various levels of awards, like the aspirations in the community awards and the collegiate aspirations in the community awards, and you can win every year for the same award.”

The competition was fierce, but the experience they gained and places they visited left a lasting impression.

“It’s a competition in the whole Dallas-Fort Worth area, so there were a lot of people trying to get this award,” Gordon said. “When we got there they showed us around the [University of North Texas] campus, and we got to go to the different parts of their computer science [building], which covers a whole section of the campus. We talked to a guy that cracked open phones, and he does a lot of different stuff for like the FBI and other federal departments. I thought that was amazing.”

In addition to being recognized for their talent in computer science, McAdams and Gordon gained access to a plethora of other opportunities.

“This award allows me to get scholarships if I apply for them,” Gordon said. “The National Women in Computer Science is an organization that allows you to get more connected in the world of computer science. There’s this whole group of women who I have basically on speed dial if I need anything or if I need to talk to them about a project or need help getting started on something they can help me. They’ve already connected me, and there’s even a Latina program for women in computer science.” 

Both McAdams and Gordon have advice for women who want to pursue a career in a male-dominated field.

Don’t be afraid to just jump in.

— Macheala McAdams

“Don’t be afraid to just jump in,” McAdams said. “I can count on one hand how many females were in my class, and it’s just all about asking questions and not being afraid to speak up and saying that you don’t understand something.”

The world of computer science is expanding, and people of all races, sexes and backgrounds are needed to keep the creativity flowing.

“Having more great minds inside of computer science is invaluable,” Gordon said. “We’re moving to a place in the world where you can’t do anything without computers, so why not be a part of that.”