Westminster Professor, Student Named Finalists for 2014 Women Tech Awards

Sep 9, 2014

Sept. 10, 2014 Dr. Helen Hu and senior Sabina Schill to be recognized for their technology contributions SALT LAKE CITY - Westminster computer science professor Dr. Helen Hu and senior Sabina Schill have been selected as finalists for the 2014 Women Tech Awards. The Tech Awards recognize technology-focused women who are driving innovation, leading technology companies, and are key contributors to the community. The Women Tech Council will host an awards ceremony on Sept. 17, 2014, in Salt Lake City to honor 17 women in the technology field. "I am honored that my professors thought to nominate me for this award and that I was selected as a student finalist," said Schill. "I'm also excited to be a part of this event which supports all women in technology and help represent Westminster College as the inspiring learning community I know it to be." Over the past seven years, WTC has been able to honor 110 women, 20 university students, and sponsored over 250 high school students for the awards, helping to inspire the next generation of STEM-focused students. Women Tech Council is thrilled to be able to support the education community in such a meaningful way. The awards ceremony is sponsored by EY, USTAR, Wells Fargo, and MountainWest Capital Network About Helen Hu: Dr. Hu is a professor of computer science at Westminster College. She has converted many of her classes to POGIL (Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning), a research-based instructional strategy that emphasizes active learning and student collaboration. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Utah and her bachelors from Princeton University (both in computer science). Hu is passionate about broadening participation in computer science in Utah. In 2013 she was awarded a three-year $800,000 NSF grant to improve computer science education in Utah high schools. This grant is funding the professional development for new computer science teachers. Halfway into this NSF project, the new high school course, "Exploring Computer Science", is being taught in over 50 Utah schools and already has better gender equity than any other Utah high school CS course. Earlier this year, Hu was awarded a three-year AAC&U/TIDES grant to increase diversity in college STEM education. With this funding, she will create innovative new course combinations that are designed to excite first-year college students about the versatility of technology. For the past 10 years, Hu has also run a programming workshop for Westminster's AWE+SUM summer camp-a camp for 8th grade girls. She also participates in the Northern Utah affiliate of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award and serves on the Utah Technology Council's Public Policy Forum. She is a member of the Computer Science Advocacy Leadership Team (CSALT) and serves as an officer for the Utah Chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). About Sabina Schill: Schill is a Westminster senior and physics major and is currently looking into graduate programs in mechanical and electrical engineering. She is also a member of the college's Honors Program. Alongside her studies, Schill works as a teacher's aid and as a supplemental instructor for the introductory-level physics classes. She assists with laboratory set-up and experimentation in the classroom, answers students' questions, and helps the professor grade homework assignments. Schill has spent the last two summers conducting research at various institutions through the NSF Research Experience for Undergrads (REU) program. In 2013, she wrote computer codes using Matlab to model the movement of electrons in organic solar cells at South Dakota State University. The last summer, she completed her second REU at Louisiana State University where she worked on fabricating parts to improve the performance of the Nuclear Physics Group's gas ionization detector. Outside of the laboratory, Schill is a member of numerous on-campus organizations, including Hillel for Utah at Westminster College and the Society of Physics Students.

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Krista DeAngelis and Arikka Von

About Westminster

Westminster is a private, independent, and comprehensive college in Salt Lake City, Utah. Students experience the liberal arts blended with professional programs in an atmosphere dedicated to civic engagement. With the goal of enabling its graduates to live vibrant, just, and successful lives, Westminster provides transformational learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students in a truly student-centered environment. Faculty focus on teaching, learning, and developing distinctive, innovative programs, while students thrive on Westminster’s urban Sugar House campus within minutes of the Rocky Mountains.

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