Joshua Devine

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Out of the way, San Jose! Pittsburgh is No.1 in mulitple realms, as the world is hearing on a nearly weekly basis.

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Cool jobs. Hot industries. Affordability. And more than 20,000 jobs open today across southwestern PA. You can explore them all here at ImaginePittsburgh.com, the region’s digital hub for information about hot careers, industries and employers.

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“Don’t change the curriculum. Change the culture.”

That’s the approach of Lenore Blum, computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University since 1999. Rather than changing or “dumbing down” the curriculum, CMU established mentorship programs offering support and continuity from faculty.

Read all about it in the article by CNN Tech’s by Sara Ashley O’Brien, excerpted below.

cmu-women-qatar

“So many eligible women.”

That’s how Carnegie Mellon’s Lenore Blum referred to this year’s applicants for CMU’s School of Computer Science. Women make up 48% of incoming freshman this year — a new high for the school.

There were nearly 7,000 applicants for the program this year. It accepted just 166, which is about 30% larger than in past years.

The percent of women in the class far surpasses the national average of 16.5% for undergraduate computer science programs, according to the Computing Research Association’s Taulbee Survey.

Blum, who teachers computer science, said there was no talk of “lowering of the bar” at CMU to do so.

“Every year, we get more and more women. And every year, it seems like all the scores and stats go up. It is competitive to get into our program,” Blum said.

Related: Women coders do better than men in gender-blind study

That stands in contrast to the commonly-cited “pipeline problem,” which some in Silicon Valley use as the reason their companies aren’t diverse — that there simply aren’t enough minority or female STEM graduates.

Blum said blaming the pipeline is a “mistake.”

“You start with the group you have,” she added, noting that this year’s achievement reflects incremental growth over several decades.

While Harvey Mudd College credited a redesigned curriculum, for bringing in and retaining more female students, Blum and CMU have taken a very different approach.

When Blum joined CMU in 1999, she said there was serious talk of changing the curriculum to attract more women. “I said, ‘No way. You change the culture — not the curriculum.’”

Instead, Blum started Women@SCS, a mentorship organization for female computer science students. Unlike many organizations that are student-run, this particular group is led by faculty, which means there’s continuity even when students graduate. “You need the guidance and institutional support and the memory,” Blum said.

“Encouraging women by giving them a support system and a sense of community is a good idea,” Macallan Cruff, an 18-year-old CMU freshman told CNNMoney. “Don’t dumb down the curriculum.”

Cruff said she’s been pleasantly surprised to see a 50/50 split of men and women in her courses, compared to about four women in a class of 25 in her high school computer science class.

Related: Parents, yes! Your princesses can code

Cruff hopes schools will work to foster a sense of community for students at a much younger age. As a junior in high school, Cruff formed a “Coding Club” at a nearby elementary school to start introducing programming to girls in the third grade.

Blum said Carnegie Mellon is also focused on reaching students before they even enter college. It trains high school teachers on the latest programming languages, which encourages them to spread the word about CMU to their students.

She stressed the importance of having the administration put money behind the school’s efforts and not solely rely on grants.

Blum noted that Silicon Valley has been recruiting Carnegie Mellon’s graduates, an obvious move given that most tech companies are looking for talented candidates, especially female ones.

But she said it could compromise the number of women going on to get computer science PhDs. “I have concerns about that,” she said.

What pipeline problem? Carnegie Mellon nears gender parity CNNMoney (New York) / First published September 16, 2016: 10:13 AM ET

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Just a few tickets are left for the Monday, Sept. 26 ATHENA Awards luncheon! Get yours today at Athena-Pittsburgh.com

Eight women – five veteran managers and three emerging leaders – have been selected as finalists for the 2016 ATHENA Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh. They will be among the many nominees recognized for their professional excellence, contributions to the community and mentorship of other women at the annual ATHENA Awards luncheon on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The awards are presented by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. One finalist from each category – the traditional ATHENA award, and the ATHENA Young Professional Award – will receive her respective award at the event.

The finalists for the traditional ATHENA award compose a varied and distinguished group. Each woman uses her leadership to create professional excellence and positive regional impact. The finalists are:

  • Audrey Dunning, CEO, Summa Technologies, Inc.
  • Kelly Gray, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, FedEx Ground
  • Diana Reid, Executive Vice President, PNC Real Estate
  • Tracy Vitale, Superintendent of Schools, Seneca Valley School District
  • Yvette Williams, Senior Patient Advocate/Program Manager, Allegheny Health Network/The Open Door, Inc.

The ATHENA Young Professional Award (AYPA) will be presented to a woman 35 years of age or younger who exemplifies the traditional ATHENA qualities, with an emphasis on being a role model. The finalists are:

  • Marteen Garay, Director of Entrepreneurship Programming, Urban Innovation21
  • Caitlin Green, Vice President, PNC Bank, N.A.
  • Katie Kopczynski, Marketing Analyst, Eaton

A complete list of nominees can be found at ATHENA-Pittsburgh.com.

Also at the luncheon, ATHENA officials will announce the recipient of the new Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship, named for the ATHENA program’s founder and retired president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce (an Allegheny Conference affiliate). The scholarship will be awarded annually to one woman age 35 or younger to attend, tuition-free, the Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women. The deadline to apply is July 29 for the academy session that begins Sept. 23. Learn more about the scholarship and the academy here.

Last year’s Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards luncheon drew nearly 900 attendees. That makes it among the largest stand-alone events of its kind among the 500-plus communities around the globe that present the award each year.

Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased online at ATHENA-Pittsburgh.com. Sponsorships are still available; contact ATHENA@alleghenyconference.org.

Arrived2nd rotatorWelcome to Pittsburgh – the “new cool,” a city topping lists for hippest neighborhoods, great places to eat and outdoors fun in all four seasons. You’ve arrived, so settle in and get to know the campus. Make new friends. And when you’re ready, grab your friends and get off campus. There’s an entire city to discover with adventures that are nearby and easy on the wallet, if not totally free!

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Click here to learn about Pittsburgh as the new cool, and whether our Lawrenceville neighborhood really is the new Brooklyn.

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The ATHENA Awards are the networking event of the season for men and women of all backgrounds! Tickets available here: Athena-Pittsburgh.com

Eight women – five veteran managers and three emerging leaders – have been selected as finalists for the 2016 ATHENA Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh. They will be among the many nominees recognized for their professional excellence, contributions to the community and mentorship of other women at the annual ATHENA Awards luncheon on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016. The awards are presented by the Allegheny Conference on Community Development at the Westin Convention Center Hotel. One finalist from each category – the traditional ATHENA award, and the ATHENA Young Professional Award – will receive her respective award at the event.

The finalists for the traditional ATHENA award compose a varied and distinguished group. Each woman uses her leadership to create professional excellence and positive regional impact. The finalists are:

  • Audrey Dunning, CEO, Summa Technologies, Inc.
  • Kelly Gray, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, FedEx Ground
  • Diana Reid, Executive Vice President, PNC Real Estate
  • Tracy Vitale, Superintendent of Schools, Seneca Valley School District
  • Yvette Williams, Senior Patient Advocate/Program Manager, Allegheny Health Network/The Open Door, Inc.

The ATHENA Young Professional Award (AYPA) will be presented to a woman 35 years of age or younger who exemplifies the traditional ATHENA qualities, with an emphasis on being a role model. The finalists are:

  • Marteen Garay, Director of Entrepreneurship Programming, Urban Innovation21
  • Caitlin Green, Vice President, PNC Bank, N.A.
  • Katie Kopczynski, Marketing Analyst, Eaton

A complete list of nominees can be found at ATHENA-Pittsburgh.com.

Also at the luncheon, ATHENA officials will announce the recipient of the new Barbara McNees Spirit of ATHENA Scholarship, named for the ATHENA program’s founder and retired president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce (an Allegheny Conference affiliate). The scholarship will be awarded annually to one woman age 35 or younger to attend, tuition-free, the Carnegie Mellon Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women. The deadline to apply is July 29 for the academy session that begins Sept. 23. Learn more about the scholarship and the academy here.

Last year’s Greater Pittsburgh ATHENA Awards luncheon drew nearly 900 attendees. That makes it among the largest stand-alone events of its kind among the 500-plus communities around the globe that present the award each year.

Tickets for the luncheon can be purchased online at ATHENA-Pittsburgh.com. Sponsorships are still available; contact ATHENA@alleghenyconference.org.