U.S. IT Firm Launches ‘Women in Technology’ Scholarship Program
SCOTTSDALE, AZ – vCORE Technology Partners has launched a new scholarship program intended to encourage more women to pursue IT and cybersecurity-related careers by providing about $1 million in tuition assistance to 100 students over the next 10 years.
vCORE, an IT solutions and services provider with locations in seven U.S. states and Canada, recently awarded the inaugural vCORE Women in Technology Scholarship to a Phoenix high-school graduate who plans to study cybersecurity at Arizona State University.
The scholarship includes a $2,500 award for each student’s freshman year, with the opportunity for annual renewal to receive $10,000 during a four-year college education. Recipients are also invited to visit vCORE’s offices and learn about the IT career field from professional engineers.
Men outnumber women by about 3 to 1 in IT-related fields, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology. Only 18 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computer and information sciences in 2015 were awarded to women, the group says.
vCORE Founder/CEO Steve Leavitt created the corporate scholarship to help address the gender gap and plans to expand the program aggressively over the next several years. Leavitt, who has two daughters and five granddaughters, hopes the scholarships will inspire more women to join an exciting field with boundless opportunity.
“My life has been greatly impacted, in a positive way, by being immersed in the tech industry for most of it,” Leavitt says. “If I can do even a little to make it a more attractive and viable field for my granddaughters, that will feel like an accomplishment to me.”
Plans to Expand in 2019
Scholarship awards are planned in Arizona, Denver, Southern California, and Hawaii in 2019, and the company intends to give renewable scholarships to 100 students, worth a combined $1 million, over the next decade. Funding will come primarily from vCORE’s Force for Good Program.
“We believe companies that do well need to do as much good for the industry and society at large as they possibly can,” Leavitt says. “Achieving true diversity in the IT workforce may not come easily or overnight, but we plan to do our small part and hope our actions can inspire enough others to act that we can create a wave of positive change.”
While new technology is driving fundamental changes to business and society, the tech industry cannot fulfill its quest for the brightest minds to drive innovation if the field is unattractive to half of the population, Leavitt says.
Colleen Tobler, managed services director for vCORE, said women bring a different level of creativity, resourcefulness, and experiences to STEM-related fields. During her 30-year career in IT, she has seen an increase in the number of women in coding jobs but has not seen the same increase in IT infrastructure.
“Remember that women make up half of the users of technology, especially around social media, location-based services, and phone/tablet sales,” Tobler says. “To not leverage the female perspective could prove costly.”
Incoming ASU Freshman Selected for Inaugural Award
vCORE joined forces with the Arizona State University Foundation this year to launch the inaugural Women in Technology scholarship.
A committee composed primarily of women in leadership positions at vCORE evaluated five finalists based on their personal statement, community service, leadership, experience, and extracurricular activities. The committee selected Ashley Bruner, a recent graduate of Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix.
Bruner is one of three triplets in her family who will be entering college this fall. She plans to major in computer systems engineering at ASU with an emphasis in cybersecurity, which she views as a way to help protect society from the misinformation and manipulation that has proliferated in an age of “fake news” and Internet deception.
“Our country has the risk of attacks from outside nations that realize they can use technology against us,” Bruner says. “It is my job as someone following a technology career path to be thinking of how technology can solve problems that new technology may inadvertently create.”
Tobler, who participated on vCORE’s selection committee, said she liked how Bruner understood the risks of technology and wanted to find ways to address those challenges. “Her passion and drive showed through her application as someone who will succeed at whatever she puts her mind to,” Tobler says.
If you’re interested in learning more about the scholarship program or would like to make a donation to help the scholarship reach more students, please contact Parker Leavitt, firstname.lastname@example.org.
vCORE Technology Partners provides customized IT solutions and services for more than 100 companies across the U.S. and Canada. Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ, vCORE was launched in 2010 Their team includes proven experts in IT solutions, including hybrid cloud infrastructure, security, networking, data protection and proactive managed services.