Women in computer science scholarship

PULLMAN — What began as an effort to change the image of the self-avowed nerds of the Linux Users Group (LUG) at WSU has evolved nearly overnight into a fundraiser for something much larger.
The LUG’s nerd auction, “Nerdy and the Greek,” has attracted international media attention and the project has grown so quickly, that proceeds are estimated to be significantly beyond the original expectation of $1,000.
Proceeds will be used to establish an endowment for a “Women in Computer Science” scholarship that would fund one or more women to attend the WSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Several nerds from the LUG will hand themselves over to the women from six WSU sororities for a complete makeover, including hair and clothes. The newly fashioned nerds will then be auctioned off to the general public, for homework help, computer help, or a dinner date. The makeovers will be filmed and shown at the dinner and auction.
“We are a computer club and as such, we’ve got a reputation for being the dude holed up in his basement lit up by the glow of his monitor,” Ben Ford, 31, President of LUG said. “That’s not true at all. We’re ordinary people; we’ve got other interests and love to have fun. We want to show that to everybody else.”
But that isn’t the only problem the members of LUG want to address.
Enrollment figures for women in computer science at WSU are less than five percent, and while the group is not expecting a sudden spike in those figures due to their efforts, they are hoping that the visibility and the image that computer science is fun and interesting—and not just for nerdy boys—will draw more women into computer science careers.
The dinner and auction, which will be open to the public, are slated for Oct. 26 at the Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Banquet Hall in Pullman.
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