Objectives


Our objectives have been and continue to be central to our project. Every activity that we engage in is to fulfill one of the following objectives:

Objective 1: Increase the interest of women in Information Assurance as a career field.


Information Assurance is a field that has long been dominated by men, but not for good reason. Women possess the capability to excel in this field, and when you get a woman excited about Information Assurance, they are extremely motivated to succeed.

The primary objective of this project has been and will continue to be to find ways to spark the interest of women in IA fields of study. Efforts currently underway to broaden the participation of women in computing will be leveraged to attract women to the IA fields, and hopefully our project will help the Broadening Participation efforts as well. At MSU, Dr. Sarah Rajala, current dean of the Bagley College of Engineering and past president of the American Society for Engineering Education, has made it a part of the MSU culture to increase the participation of women in engineering.

Existing programs, like summer camps for young women, will be leveraged to encourage participation in this endeavor. Additionally, several women who have been supporting this effort through participation in the Advisory Board are involved in the Broadening Participation in Computing program, and are intimately familiar with the issues that keep women from applying in greater numbers.

Objective 2: Increase the number of female applicants for SFS programs at MSU.


As we increase the visibility of the SFS program among women at MSU and more women get involved in the summer camps, research experiences, and internships that will be developed for this program, a side-effect will be that more women will apply for the SFS scholarship program. These activities will be designed to get them excited about IA opportunities, specifically the opportunities provided to recipients of the SFS scholarship.

At this point, we have only had one woman participate in the project activities who was eligible for the scholarship and she was awarded an SFS scholarship in 2011. She is now finishing her first year, and will participate in an internship with the Central Intelligence Agency this summer.

Objective 3: Increase the ability of all CAE (Center of Academic Excellence) institutions to recruit female applicants for the SFS program.


As the project develops and MSU gains knowledge of the benefits to the SFS program here, results will also be shared across the entire CAE program, allowing other institutions to benefit from the knowledge and experience gained at MSU. Lessons learned will be shared through talks presented to national conferences and papers written for peer-reviewed outlets.

The women who participated in the summer research experience in 2001 presented posters at the Tennessee Women in Computing Conference last Fall, and at this year's American Society for Engineering Education-Southeastern Section meeting, the PI presented a speech on the project to a full audience. This poster and speech generated a lot of discussion about how other institutions could start similar projects. Several institutions have contacted the PI after hearing about the project to inquire about how we structured our proposal and program, so that they could look into starting similar programs at their institutions.

Objective 4: Develop marketing materials that can be used by all CAE institutions to recruit female applicants.


An objective of this project is to develop some marketing materials for the CAE program depicting women involved in IA and SFS activities. Because people tend to feel more comfortable with materials containing pictures of people similar to themselves, marketing materials featuring women in primary roles in IA should help to attract more women to the programs. Marketing materials for the MSU project have been produced, and are being used to recruit participants this year. One of the pictures that are available for producing materials is shown below.

Participants in the 2011 Summer Camp at MSU


The women in the picture are participants in the summer camp held for Phase I of this project in June 2011. Also pictured here are the PI, Kendra Carr, an RA and SFS Student helping to run the project, and all six women who participated in the summer research experience.