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May 1, 2006

Grasmick to Be Honored for Fighting Tech Gender Gap at UMBC’s Computer Mania Day

Fashion Designer Cynthia Rowley to Link High-Tech, High Fashion
For 100’s of Middle School Girls Saturday


BALTIMORE - State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nancy Grasmick will be honored for her contributions to fighting the gender gap in information technology this Saturday at UMBC’s fourth annual Computer Mania Day event. Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley headlines the day of free, fun, hands-on activities which brings hundreds of middle school girls from across Maryland for tech career path inspiration by women role models from industry and academia.

The Center for Woman and Information Technology (CWIT) at UMBC, which addresses and rectifies women's under-representation in information technology and enhances the understanding of the relationship between gender and IT, will present the Joan Korenman Award to Grasmick during the start of the day’s activities at 10:10 AM in UMBC’s Retriever Activities Center.

The Joan Korenman Award is named for the founder of CWIT and honors an individual or group of individuals who have supported, promoted, and encouraged girls and women to strive to achieve personal and professional growth through the use of, employment in, or leadership in information technology or a related field, where women are traditionally underrepresented.

“I’m thrilled to be a recipient of the Joan Korenman Award this year,” said Grasmick. “I continue to encourage women to persevere in their efforts to achieve their objectives. We must strive to have equity in all fields, including those that are technology based. I truly believe that we should continue to create and sustain pathways for all individuals to enter and remain in Information Technology or a related technology field.”

Many Baltimore-Washington area technology firms give financial and volunteer support to Computer Mania Day, which they see as an effective way to increase gender diversity in high-tech industries.

Research shows that the information technology (IT) gender gap opens as early as the middle school years, when girls are most image-conscious and do not want to be labeled as “geeks” or “nerds.” Girls also make up only 14 percent of Advanced Placement students in computer science, a key to success in IT-related fields at the college level.

"We are thrilled to continue our support of CWIT and its goal to encourage students', especially girls', interest and involvement in information technology," said Jennifer Jones, Sales Vice President for AT&T, who will present the award to Grasmick.

"Computer Mania Day demonstrates that science and computer skills not only facilitate our fast-paced, 24/7 connected lives, these skills enhance job performance and improve efficiencies across all industries,” said Jones. “This message is especially important to share with our nation's young people so that the U.S. will not continue to lose its competitive advantage in the global marketplace." The AT&T Foundation is a sponsor of Computer Mania Day.

"There is no greater imperative for protecting the future technological strength and security of our nation than getting today's primary and secondary-school children interested in math, science and engineering-related disciplines,” said James F. Pitts, Corporate Vice President and President of Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector. “That's why we at Northrop Grumman strongly support activities such as Computer Mania Day at UMBC." Katherine A. Gray, VP of F16 Sensor Systems at Northrop Grumman Electronics Systems, will give the welcoming address to Computer Mania attendees.

Rowley, whose signature designs are found in Cynthia Rowley boutiques, better department stores and specialty stores across the U.S. and globe, has won multiple awards from The Council of Fashion Designers of America. Her creations have been featured in Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar and The New York Times. She is also the co-author of a best-selling series of books on personal and home style and an entrepreneur.

At Computer Mania Day, kids will get the chance to meet Rowley and participate in workshops led by positive female role models from UMBC along with business, government and education leaders. Girls’ events highlights include “Hardware Rocks,” “Google of Opportunities,” digital art and imaging, and the physics of do-it-yourself hot air balloons. Adult workshop highlights include how to prepare your kids for college, “Computers 101,” and “Cyber Safety: Keeping Your Child Protected Online.” All attendees will have the chance to win great giveaways like the HP iPAQ, Dell USB Memory Key and Cisco Routers.

EVENT DETAILS: Saturday, May 6, 2006. 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Check-in at UC Ballroom, UMBC. FREE lunch included. All adult and student attendees MUST register ahead of time online at To sign up or for more information, visit or call 410-455-8433.

A hi-resolution, color photo of Cynthia Rowley is available online at:

About the AT&T Foundation:

The new AT&T Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AT&T Inc., supports programs that build communities and improve access to information technologies, technology training and professional skills development. The new AT&T Foundation will provide more than $60 million in 2006 in charitable contributions, thereby placing it among the top five largest corporate foundations in the country. The new AT&T Foundation combines over forty years and $1.7 billion of philanthropic commitment to communities across the country.

Posted by crose at May 1, 2006 11:25 AM