University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Event: Girls in IT

This program is designed to encourage women to seek out lucrative careers in the information technology industry.  Currently, women hold 57 percent of professional occupations in the 2015 U.S. Workforce. However, women hold only 25 percent of professional computing occupations in the 2015 U.S. Workforce, and women hold only 17 percent of Chief Information Officer (CIO) positions in 2015. We need to change that!


 

Girl in IT event Little Rock Fall 2015


More About This Event

2016 Girls in IT Pictures

Girls in IT Little Rock Fall 2015The Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted a Girls in IT event on December 2nd to introduce information technology careers to high school girls. The event was sponsored by Tyson Foods, inc. and was held at their corporate offices in Springdale. 

"The purpose of Girls in IT is to expose and encourage young women to pursue career opportunities in the field of information technology where women are grossly under-represented," said Eric Bradford, Managing Director of ITRI. 

Carla Woods, Vice President, Information Systems at Tyson Foods, Inc. and ITRI board member kicked off the Girls in IT event welcoming all the young ladies.

Carey Webb the senior human resource manager at Tyson Foods, Inc. enthusiastically started the salary activity by asking the young ladies "what makes a good job?"  Audience responses included "being able to see the difference that you make", "having fun", "challenging", and "rewarding." After hearing the job descriptions the young ladies had to guess which title went with which salary.  This activity is an excellent way to illuminate the myriad of positions available in IT and how lucrative an IT career can be. Rita Littrell the director of the Bessie B. Moore Center for Economic Education at the University of Arkansas created this successful activity for the ITRI. 

annitreOur keynote speaker, Annitre' Edison, Senior Director IS Applications, Tyson Foods, Inc. gave a motivating and empowering presentation encouraging young women to try because you don't know what you want to do until you try it.  Annitre' provided some excellent advice: aligning yourself with other women, getting a mentor, being yourself and being honest.  The young ladies asked tons of questions and clamored to get their photo taken with Annitre' when the event was over.

helenaHelena Gadison, Vice President of Sales and Merchandising at International Intimates, Inc. engaged the young ladies in a discussion about Personal Branding.  Helena elaborated on the science of branding by eliciting emotional responses from the audience when they saw famous brands on the screen.  This naturally led into defining a brand and working on creating and developing your personal brand. Helena taught these young ladies some leadership skills, how to reach out to a stranger, how to accept constructive criticism, how to take risks and helped them create their personal brand.

panelThe panel discussion was moderated by Amy Robinson from a Tribe of Women and the panel included Susan Bristow, Information Systems faculty at the UofA, Angie Graves from Acxiom, Becky Russell, Jennifer Ortega, Annitre' Edison from Tyson Foods Inc., Jennifer Ford from J.B. Hunt and Monica Kelly from Walmart.  Amy asked the panelist to introduce themselves and poignantly stated we all have our perceptions of what IT is or what a career in IT is like, but these professionals are a reality so what would you like to ask them. 

PresentationsDuring lunch, the students worked on an activity created and facilitated by Susan Bristow, Information Systems faculty at the UofA revolving around innovation.  "What is innovation?" Students broke into teams and were tasked with developing a new technology.  Each team was lead by an awesome mentor who facilitated the brainstorming session and assisted the students in identifying the key components to a profitable technology, service or App. After lunch teams vied for the ability to present to the room what their innovative new technology was.  It was very fun and inspiring to see these young ladies come together and share the limelight pitching the idea they created.

The Information Technology Research Institute is grateful to Tyson Foods, Inc. for not only sponsoring and hosting this event but for embracing the opportunity to positively influence the lives of so many young ladies.  A special thank you to all our panelist, presenters, teachers, mentors, volunteers and students for participating and making this event successful.

Thank you to Ryan Versey of Versatile Optics Media and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business for taking pictures of this years event. http://ryanversey.pixieset.com/girlsinitnwa/

For more information regarding the Information Technology Research Institute, visit itri.uark.edu.  If you are a teacher and were unable to attend the event contact emccorcle@walton.uark.edu for a recording and specify if you have interest in obtaining professional development credit for showing it to your class. 

Event Archive

Girls in IT 2016

Girls in IT Little Rock Fall 2015The Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted a Girls in IT event in Little Rock on Dec. 4 to introduce information technology careers to high school girls. Sponsored by Acxiom and Dillard's, the event was held at Acxiom's offices with more than 120 young women from 18 Arkansas high schools attending.

"The purpose of Girls in IT is to expose and encourage young women to pursue career opportunities in the field of information technology where women are grossly under represented," said Eric Bradford, managing director of ITRI. "This event has been held twice in Northwest Arkansas with much success. Holding it this year in Little Rock enabled students from southern and central Arkansas to attend."

Please, check out pictures of the event taken by Ryan Versey of Versatile Optics Media and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

http://ryanversey.pixieset.com/girlsinitlittlerock/

The first activity of the event was a matching game to align information technology job titles, job descriptions and salaries. The selected jobs reflected the variety of career paths available in the field. Janet Cinfio, senior vice president of Technology Operations and chief information officer at Acxiom, served as the keynote speaker and participated as a mentor in a small group activity.

A panel discussion featured Beverly McDaniel, an instructor in the Walton College Department of Information Systems, Brandy Mitchell from Arvest, Maiga Bishop from Dillard's, Rita Carney from Walmart, Abbie Sims from Idestini and Michelle Talley from Acxiom. Helena Gadison, vice president of Sales and Merchandising, International Intimates, moderated the discussion.

"What's the word on the street about IT?" asked Gadison.

Many attendees indicated they haven't heard about technology career options. This event was the first exposure a majority of the young women had to information technology opportunities.

Attendees participated in a small group project led by Susan Bristow, clinical assistant professor, Walton College Department of Information Systems, to create technology ideas to improve learning, lives or business. High school educators and professionals from Acxiom, Dillard's, ABC Financial and Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield mentored 20 different groups of girls.

Tara Carr, a University of Arkansas admissions counselor, Brande Flack, associate director of the university's Center of Multicultural and Diversity Education, and Barbara Lofton, director of the Walton College's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, shared information regarding admissions and the ACT Academy, which is hosted each summer at the University of Arkansas.

"These bright young women had innovative ideas and tremendous energy," said Lofton. "Seasoned technology professionals and faculty members were on hand to show them the possibilities."

 

Girls in IT 2015

Girls in IT Little Rock Fall 2015The Information Technology Research Institute at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted a Girls in IT event in Little Rock on Dec. 4 to introduce information technology careers to high school girls. Sponsored by Acxiom and Dillard's, the event was held at Acxiom's offices with more than 120 young women from 18 Arkansas high schools attending.

"The purpose of Girls in IT is to expose and encourage young women to pursue career opportunities in the field of information technology where women are grossly under represented," said Eric Bradford, managing director of ITRI. "This event has been held twice in Northwest Arkansas with much success. Holding it this year in Little Rock enabled students from southern and central Arkansas to attend."

Please, check out pictures of the event taken by Ryan Versey of Versatile Optics Media and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

http://ryanversey.pixieset.com/girlsinitlittlerock/

The first activity of the event was a matching game to align information technology job titles, job descriptions and salaries. The selected jobs reflected the variety of career paths available in the field. Janet Cinfio, senior vice president of Technology Operations and chief information officer at Acxiom, served as the keynote speaker and participated as a mentor in a small group activity.

A panel discussion featured Beverly McDaniel, an instructor in the Walton College Department of Information Systems, Brandy Mitchell from Arvest, Maiga Bishop from Dillard's, Rita Carney from Walmart, Abbie Sims from Idestini and Michelle Talley from Acxiom. Helena Gadison, vice president of Sales and Merchandising, International Intimates, moderated the discussion.

"What's the word on the street about IT?" asked Gadison.

Many attendees indicated they haven't heard about technology career options. This event was the first exposure a majority of the young women had to information technology opportunities.

Attendees participated in a small group project led by Susan Bristow, clinical assistant professor, Walton College Department of Information Systems, to create technology ideas to improve learning, lives or business. High school educators and professionals from Acxiom, Dillard's, ABC Financial and Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield mentored 20 different groups of girls.

Tara Carr, a University of Arkansas admissions counselor, Brande Flack, associate director of the university's Center of Multicultural and Diversity Education, and Barbara Lofton, director of the Walton College's Office of Diversity and Inclusion, shared information regarding admissions and the ACT Academy, which is hosted each summer at the University of Arkansas.

"These bright young women had innovative ideas and tremendous energy," said Lofton. "Seasoned technology professionals and faculty members were on hand to show them the possibilities."

 

Girls in IT 2014

Schools from Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers, Bentonville, Prairie Grove, and even as far away as Pine Bluff, participated. The day was filled with a mix of activities, all geared toward encouraging young women to consider information technology as a field of study and a career.

Amy Robinson, of the Amy Reeves Robinson consulting group, moderated a panel discussion comprised of Brenda Deal, Keva DeJarnett, as well as two recent University of Arkansas information systems graduates, Stephany Beltran and Kelsey Brown. Each panelist currently works for Walmart Stores, Inc. in the Information Service Division. They answered questions from students related to the work culture, skills needed, potential earnings and other inquiries related the IT field. In addition to encouraging young women to consider the industry, panelists also discussed items such as appropriate business attire, learning styles, teamwork, presentations, college courses and creating an individual career path.

"Everyone brings a different perspective based on their background and education," Deal said.

Attendees were broken up into small groups where they where assigned a team project related to IT security. The results of the project touched on a number of different areas: tracking online shopping for advertisements, privacy policies for online sites, policies regarding the review of college applicants' or job applicants' social media sites, cyber bullying and the perceptions developed from online posts. Walton information systems professors Susan Bristow and Christina Serrano introduced and managed the team activities and presentations.

Also speaking at the event were Kristen Williams, Ivette Alegria and Monica Kelly, each from Walmart ISD. Sarah Daigle from Currant Technology Group presented a session on educational technology. Autumn Parker, the Sam M. Walton Colleges' associate director for undergraduate recruitment, opened and closed the event.

The Information Technology Research Institute at the University of Arkansas hosted the event, which was sponsored by Walmart Stores, Inc. Last year, the event was sponsored by and held at J. B. Hunt Transport Service Corporate Offices.

"Everyone was engaged, had fun and hopefully learned a lot," said Eric Bradford, managing director for the Information Technology Research Institute. "We hope to show these young women the opportunities the IT field offers." Questions or comments?

Contact Eric T. Bradford at ebradford@walton.uark.edu or 479.575.5291.