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Capitol Tech named 2021 Educator Ally of the Year

Capitol Technology University was named Inteligenca’s Educator Ally of the Year (AYA) for 2021, a prestigious title that recognizes the university’s efforts to educate the technology community on gender equality issues and support women in technology.

“We are honored to be named the Educator Ally of the Year,” said Dr. Brad Sims, President of Capitol Technology University. “As an institution focused on STEM education since 1927, we pride ourselves on providing our diverse student body with a quality education in sought-after fields to increase the diversity of the STEM workforce.”

As part of the university’s allyship, Capitol Tech has developed programs to support female students in their majors, their overall education, and their STEM-related extracurricular activities including providing women in STEM visibility, a voice, and connections with fellow female STEM professionals. Over the last 25 years Capitol Tech has graduated 1,000 female students who have gone on to careers in STEM field including engineering, computer science, cybersecurity, and more.

The university has also engaged over 200 members of the Washington D.C. chapter of Black Girls Code (BGC), a fellow non-profit organization which seeks to introduce black girls to computer programming, by hosting numerous “Cyber Saturday.” During these Cyber Saturdays, led by the university’s Cybersecurity Chair, Black Girls Code members attend a virtual event where they work through programming problems and are able to ask Capitol Tech experts questions about the field.

“Capitol Technology University has always had a unique focus on educating women and other underrepresented groups in lucrative STEM careers such as engineering, computer science, and cybersecurity,” said Dr. William Butler, Chair of Capitol Tech’s Cybersecurity Department and Director of the university’s Center for Cybersecurity Research and Analysis. “We engage over 600 local high school students annually through partnerships like the ones that exist with Charles H. Flowers and Oxon Hill High Schools where university faculty have introduced cybersecurity and critical infrastructure to almost 80 total students, 40 of whom are female, through the weekly classes they host for students from both high schools.”

For current students, the university hosts sponsored student organizations such as Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), WiCyS Critical Infrastructure Community (CIC), Society of Women Engineers, National Society of Black Engineers, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Black Girls Code for professional development and to serve as extracurricular support systems. On a national level, Capitol Tech assisted in founding the first ever WiCyS CIC group, a national organization for women currently in or hoping to enter critical infrastructure professions under the umbrella of cybersecurity. Through WiCyS CIC events supported by Capitol Tech’s staff, the Community has presented to nearly 1,300 event attendees since its inception in early 2020. Globally, university staff attends conferences all over the world to advocate for diversity in STEM. For instance, Dr. Ian McAndrew, Capitol Tech’s Dean of Doctoral Programs, served as the opening speaker and a panelist for the United Nation’s Space 4 Women conference on September 26, 2020 where he presented on Capitol Tech’s doctoral degree programs and how they support women who wish to enter STEM field.

Through this award and its subsequent recognition, the university hopes to be able to raise scholarship funds to provide additional financial support for women in STEM. By raising funds for such scholarships, the university can achieve its ultimate goal of increasing diversity in STEM fields, which are typically male dominated.  

“Capitol Tech would like to see more woman enter STEM fields which are stable, in-demand, and offer nearly exponential opportunities,” said Dr. Sims. “Having more women in STEM will not only benefit these fields as whole by bringing in new perspectives, it will also allow young women to see positive female role models in technology, creating pathways for future generations of women in STEM.”