What is the CS/M Scholars Program?
The CS/M Scholars Program at WWU has a mission of graduating more women with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics. The program is funded by a $590,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The grant was written by Professor Perry Fizzano in Computer Science and Professor David Hartenstine in Mathematics.
What are the benefits of the program?
CS/M Scholars enjoy many benefits, including:
How do I apply for the CS/M Scholars Program?
Incoming female students are invited to apply if they have demonstrated academic excellence and are interested in pursuing a major in either Computer Science or Mathematics. You can apply online to the program at: http://admissions.wwu.edu/csmscholars
In the meantime be sure to file your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by February 15th so that your financial eligibility can be determined when we start the selection process. You can contact Western's Financial Aid Office for more information about FAFSA.
How are CS/M Scholars Selected?
We will review your application and verify your eligibility with Western's Financial Aid Office. Once we select finalists who meet the criteria then we will conduct interviews in late March or early April and announce the awards by April 20, 2012.
Those students who were not eligible because of a lack of financial need will be encouraged to participate in the program by taking the seminar classes and attending the CS/M Scholar events described above.
What are the requirements for the first year?
If you are accepted into the program you will be automatically registered in the two seminar classes in the Fall and you will choose a Math course appropriate to your level of experience. In Winter quarter the only requirement is that you take a course in computer programming. In the Spring you need to take a follow up course in either Math or Computer Science. Participation in monthly get-togethers is expected.
What are the requirements for renewal of the scholarship in the second year and beyond?
CS/M Scholars must maintain sufficient progress toward a degree in either Mathematics or Computer Science and keep a minimum GPA of 2.70.
Why should I participate in the program and study Math or Computer Science?
We know that Math and CS is not for everyone but many studies show that female students can be discouraged from studying Math or Computer Science as early as middle school. Thus, some women who would enjoy studying these subjects and be successful never even give them a try in college and never get to appreciate the beauty or depth of these fields.
Math is about a lot more than solving algebraic equations and doing calculus. Computer Science entails far more than building web pages or writing computer programs. The first year seminars are designed to be an excellent way to develop a greater appreciation for the subjects without requiring previous experience.
What do students have to say about the program and about studying Math and Computer Science at Western?
"The seminar classes were a perfect introduction to Western and and an excellent sneak peek into both math and computer science. You get to know everyone in the class and for me those friendships turned into taking classes with some of the other girls. It's really nice to have people you can automatically turn to for advice. Plus our professors were, and still are, absolutely amazing. It's an experience I wish everyone could have."
Sierra Southworth, CS/M Scholar
"The CS/M Scholars Program has been like wind under my wings in helping me through my time at Western. The monthly meetings we have vary but they either have to do with advising, bonding with each other, or learning more about CS and Math degrees and jobs. The most beneficial meeting we had last year in my opinion was when we met upper level female students in CS and Math who answered our questions about their study habits and reasons for choosing their majors, etc."
Audrey Arbow, CS/M Scholar
"I originally started at Western thinking I would be a journalism major, but changed to computer science after I took a Computer Science class and realized that programming was pretty cool. I really enjoyed my time in the CS Department because it felt like I was part of a supportive community that wanted me to succeed: the professors and department support staff were always there to answer questions when I needed help and the camaraderie of my fellow students in the lab made it easier to get through difficult projects."
Amanda Font, Computer Science Graduate
& Program Manager at Microsoft
“Opportunities for the determined and inspired undergraduate are diverse, and it’s not hard to feel determined and inspired with the support system that the Western Math Department offers. I’m much less nervous about speaking in front of a group after learning to present my own mathematical proofs to my peers! The math professors at Western make it their goal to help and inspire students to get excited about studying math and they set great examples with their varying research interests. I can’t imagine having this experience anywhere else!”
Cari Jamieson, B.S. Math 2011,
currently working toward M.S. in Math
"The ability to deeply understand technical information and effectively communicate the information to non-technical people has put me on the track to management at the Boeing Company. With my background in Computer Science, I gain the respect of my programmer colleagues as well as management. My degree has given me the technical knowledge to succeed at my job and has therefore given me the opportunity to live a fulfilled life which includes technology, studies, travel and art."
Math/CS combined degree graduate &
Project Manager in IT at the Boeing Company
Who can I contact for more information?
Principal Investigator: Perry Fizzano Perry.Fizzano@wwu.edu
Co-Principal Investigator: David Hartenstine David.Hartenstine@wwu.edu
Program Coordinator: Mary Hall Mary.Hall@wwu.edu