Science & Engineering

Cedarville U Celebrates First Female Computer Engineering Grad

Cedarville University, a 3,000-student private college in Ohio, is doing what it can to fill the lack of women in technology. In fact, the university was thrilled enough about graduating its first female computer engineering student, it issued a press release. Senior Krista Ray completed her program May 1, as one of about 650 Cedarville graduates this year. She'll be working at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

Ray excelled in math and science during high school and was placed in an advanced technical program under a female director who encouraged females to consider a career in engineering. Ray followed her parents in attending Cedarville U, which had 80 male students and 10 female students in the engineering department.

As she began taking engineering classes, she said, she realized she had not met any other female computer engineering majors and had heard that no female had yet to complete the program. Throughout her four years, she admitted, she reconsidered her choice of major. "It's a challenge, and it takes a lot of time. But I'm stubborn," she said in a statement. "I just had to show I knew what I was doing. I had to prove myself."

Ray attributed her persistence in part to the encouragement of her faculty advisor, Vicky Fang. "Being the first female computer engineering graduate means a lot to other women," said Fang, assistant professor of computer engineering. "Krista will be a good role model and a great encouragement to other female computer engineering students ... a good start for our diversity in computer engineering."

The computer engineering program was launched in 2002, and the first computer engineers were graduated in 2006. In that time, the university has graduated a total of 29 computer engineers.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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