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Lecturer wins national award for supporting women in IT


Brigid Veale
27 August 2010

Encouraging women to look at careers in the traditionally male-dominated information technology industry has earned Southern Cross University lecturer Raina Mason a national award from Microsoft.

Raina Mason, who is based at the Coffs Harbour campus and coordinates the School of Commerce and Management’s Women in Technology (WIT) program, received the Microsoft Australian ‘Women in IT Community Contributor of the Year’ award for 2010 at the Microsoft Tech-Ed conference held at the Gold Coast Conference and Exhibition Centre this week.

She was presented with the national award for her continued support of women students studying in the IT field and initiatives to encourage female secondary students into IT career paths.

“To receive the award was a total surprise – but a lovely one! It means a lot to me and it will be wonderful to help people from outside the University find out about this great program we have,” Ms Mason said.

“The Southern Cross University Women in IT program has been really successful in encouraging women to study in this area. We have also been working with local high schools to inform female students about careers in IT.

“Computing has been seen as a male occupation in the past, and we want the message to get out there to women that this is not the case.

“Women still tend to think of IT as an area where your job ties you to the computer all day and you don’t have much opportunity to interact and socialise with others but this is just not the reality anymore. The career prospects are many and varied and require a lot of human interaction.”

Ms Mason said the Women in IT program provided financial support through scholarships and awards; support and encouragement from other WIT members through social get-togethers and an online community; mentoring and information; and advice about careers.

Photo: Raina Mason working with high school students on robotics programs as part of the WIT program.