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ITSMF Pilots Mentorship Program for Female College Students

ATLANTA, October 1, 2019 – Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) is pleased to announce the launch of the pilot EMERGE Mentorship Program. The pilot will run from September 2019 to May 2020 with six participating Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and an experienced pool of mentors who are leaders within the technology industry. 

This one-year mentoring program is designed to support and retain black women in STEM majors. Research and data substantiate the unbalanced representation of women in STEM fields due to a number of societal, psychological, and economic factors which result in high attrition rates—the leaky pipeline. Lack of belonging induced by previous exposure to unconscious bias and stereotypes foster an exclusive environment, underperformance and, subsequently, diminished interest in these fields. To combat this, the EMERGE Mentorship Program consists of three components: 1:1 mentoring with industry leaders, virtual learning sessions, and organized peer engagement.

“Our community of leaders has committed to partnering with and caring for these promising students to ensure that each one of them is equipped to add value and, ultimately, lead in the STEM space,” said Elizabeth Agosto, Director and Global Chief Operating Officer, Information Security Division at BNY Mellon. “This program takes mentorship to another level. And if these young women own this experience—really take it seriously—and nurture these relationships, they will not only have a good mentor, but will have earned themselves a sponsor who will extend their personal capital to them when it matters most.”

After the successful 3-month proof of concept developed and implemented for the ITSMF EMERGE Academy capstone project in 2018, this year-long pilot is the next step in helping to bridge the gender diversity gap in STEM fields. 25 female students from the following schools are participating in this pilot: Clark Atlanta University, Hampton University, Howard University, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Central University, South Carolina State University.

Donna M. Grant, Ph.D., Associate Professor, School of Business; Computer Information Systems (CIS) Department Chair; and Computer Science and Business (CSB) Program Coordinator at North Carolina Central University, believes that the EMERGE Mentorship Program benefits are multifold. “I anticipate that our students will gain a sense of reality of what it’s like to be a female Information Technology professional in an industry that is currently dominated by men. I want them to learn strategies on how to successfully navigate through corporate political environments. This mentoring experience should supplement the students’ book knowledge from the university with real-world practical knowledge gained in Corporate America.”

About Information Technology Senior Management Forum

Since 1996, Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) has been dedicated to increasing the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology, to impact organizational innovation and growth. We do this by developing and nurturing these dynamic leaders through enrichment of the mind, body, and soul. At its inception, only 3% of senior-level positions in the technology industry were held by blacks. With 1.2M computer-related job openings expected by 2022, ITSMF is committed to increasing the number of qualified black professionals for these positions. For more information about ITSMF, visit www.itsmfonline.org.