Women Find a Place in Technology at MVCC

Recruited students eagerly pose for Women in Technology. Photo by John Williams

The Department of Labor reported in 2014 that 57% of the workforce is women, but only 26% of women worked in the technology field.

When referencing technology, this includes anything computer based such as cell phones and computers or software and the internet. Going into the technology field can be intimidating, so there are programs out there to help women connect with mentors and other guides in the field. There are also networks of peers pursuing the same jobs. Most of these programs will be called “Women in Technology.”

“Women in Technology” here at Moraine Valley was established back in 2002 by Maria Vlamakis. “If it wasn’t for her efforts, the program wouldn’t be here today”, said Angela Spyropoulos, the Director and Coordinator of the Women in Technology Mentoring Program. Back in 2002 Ms. Spyropoulos was the only female student out of 16 in Mr. Lapidus’ Animation class. Maria approached Ms. Spyropoulos asking if she would like to be involved the starting program “Women in Technology Mentoring Program.” Three years later, Ms. Spyropoulos took over as the coordinator of the program and even today she believes, “this is a very important program I believe in passionately.”

The “Women in Technology“ mentoring program here offers women a safe place to talk about the technology field as a career choice. This program allows students entering and those in the program to connect with other women in the technology field as well as other students further along in the program—a pairing called big sisters and little sisters. These mentors can give guidance, support, answer questions, and suggest career opportunities for women. This relationship between students and professionals makes the transition from college to the work force easier and less intimidating.

This program meets once a term in the T Building. Ms. Spyropoulos pairs mentors with students that fit, to the best of her ability, with what the student is trying to pursue. She also pairs big sisters with a little sisters. On March 24 these women met, starting out with mingling and snacks followed by introductions. After introductions a speaker usually talked about an area of the industry, which could include companies looking for employees, staffing agencies, and other relevant information. The mentors were introduced to their student and the big sisters were introduced to their little sisters. If for some reason they met someone at the meeting but didn’t get any information, they could always go to the “Women in Technology” webpage on the Moraine Valley website.

Recognized by The National Science Foundation and CSSIA, the Center for System Security Information Assurance, this program has helped many, including myself, in finding jobs and forming a network of support.

“Women in Technology” is an excellent asset for Moraine Valley women trying to pursue a technology career. In such a male dominated and competitive field, having a program like this gives the confidence to continue in technology with support from
other women.