Computer scientist Charlie McDowell recognized as advocate for women in tech

Charlie McDowell (Photo courtesy of NCWIT)
Date: 
Friday, October 10, 2014
Author: 
stephens@ucsc.edu (Tim Stephens)

Charlie McDowell, professor of computer science in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz, is recognized as "a tireless advocate for women in tech" in an article on the technology news site TechCrunch.

McDowell is featured as one of "10 Men Making Waves for Women in Tech," a list that also includes alumnus Jacob Martinez (B.S., ecology and evolutionary biology, '05), director of the Watsonville Tecnología-Educación-Comunidad (TEC) program.

The article--by Ruthe Farmer, chief strategy and growth officer at the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)--notes that while female role models are important for women in tech, male advocates are also an essential part of the solution to the shortage of women in the technology workforce.

McDowell is active on the national level as well as locally in efforts to encourage more young women to pursue careers in computer science and technology. At UC Santa Cruz, where he served until recently as associate dean of engineering for undergraduate affairs, McDowell is involved in programs such as Project Awesome, an ongoing effort to recruit and retain more women students in computer science and computer engineering, and Girls in Engineering, a summer camp for middle-school girls.

"Charlie's unwavering commitment to increasing the participation of women and girls in computing has fueled a number of new initiatives that are really having an impact in our local region and for our campus," said Adrienne Harrell, director of undergraduate student affairs in the Baskin School of Engineering.

McDowell, reached by phone while attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference, said it is important to let female students know that their skills are needed and desired in the high-tech industry. "There is social momentum and action around this issue," he said.