Carnegie Mellon launches CS4Qatar for women
University aims to bring more women into computing and IT
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar recently hosted CS4Qatar for Women, which is an outreach programme designed to attract women into the fields of science and technology, by introducing young women to computer science and allowing them to explore career possibilities in the field.
"Overall, the purpose of CS4Qatar is to change social perspectives on computing as a profession - to push for it to be considered on equal footing with what are considered more traditional career routes. Qatar aims to become a knowledge-based economy and it cannot do so without having a clear understanding of computer sciences. Carnegie Mellon is taking these measures to spread awareness about this economically vital domain," said Khaled Harras, computer science professor.
Over 90 female high-school students from schools across Qatar attended the event - which featured a panel discussion session and two hands-on sessions: one on programming with Alice (an object-based, 3-D graphics-creating tool) and the other on puzzles and problem solving.
Computer science is an exciting subject. Working at ictQATAR provided me with a great opportunity to contribute to Qatari society and play a significant role in taking a fast-developing nation forward. Moreover, as a practice, it presents you with a plethora of opportunities. The applications of the field are boundless," said panelist Reem Al Mansoori, development manager at ICT Qatar. "Women play a vital role in this field. Technology has removed many cultural barriers. Opportunities that were limited in the past have expanded through technological development."
In April, the university will host a CS4Qatar workshop on opportunities for undergraduate research in computer science, paneled by female computer science students and professionals from Qatar.
"We need the creative impetus of female practitioners. There are many powerful role models for Qatari women. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, is an inspiration to Qatari women looking to work hard and make their mark on their country's development," Harras said.