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SUU professor given Excellence at Women Tech Award
by Nikki Koontz SUU Public Communications
Sep 29, 2016 | 1394 views | 0 0 comments | 208 208 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SALT LAKE CITY--Dr. Shalini Kesar, SUU associate professor of information systems, was announced as the winner of the Education Excellence Award at the 2016 Women Tech Awards, held Sept. 22 in downtown Salt Lake City. The event, hosted by the Women Tech Council (WTC), recognizes technology-focused women who are innovators, leaders, and key contributors in STEM fields.

Kesar was one of 20 finalists who are all strong advocates for gender diversity in STEM-related fields. Humbled and honored, Kesar is grateful for the recognition for her hard work.

"It was an honor to be nominated among such talented women with great accomplishments," said Kesar. "To win an education excellence award was inspiring and motivating to continue to work on efforts that increase participation of women in IT. It validates that we still need to work as a community to minimize the existing gap of women in STEM education and the workplace."

According to Cydni Tetro, President of the WTC, this year’s finalists represent some of the best minds of women in tech.

“The Women Tech Awards recognizes outstanding women in the technology field who drive innovation and create impact,” said Tetro. “Our platform showcases the talent and breadth in STEM fields and highlights great role models for the next generation. This year’s finalists now become part of an elite group of 150 women who represent some of the best minds of women in tech.”

For the past 20 years, Kesar has spearheaded many projects to enhance awareness about computing as an education and career option among women. She has raised local educators’ understanding and knowledge of how to utilize and promote technology in their schools. Going above and beyond to explain concepts and teach technical skills, she personally helps students through applications, projects and reports. She takes time driving to remote areas in order to speak with both girls and boys and promote technology, explaining how it is used in every field of study.

Her recent endeavor is leading the Southern Utah Aspirations in Computing program (SUAIC) for high school girls within ten rural counties in southern Utah. This program, part of the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT), is a coalition to increase diversity in computing via 70 regional Aspirations programs.

Her efforts with SUAIC and her daily classroom teachings at SUU are key contributions to her winning this award. Kesar is a valuable asset to SUU and inspires hundreds of females each year through multiple campus initiatives and personalized guidance to her students. She stands as a leader in both higher education and the technology industry.

Kesar holds a doctorate in cyber security and two master degrees from the UK (Salford, London School of Economics, and DeMontfort University). As the only female in her master’s programs, she recognized early in her career the need for women to be involved in technology and computing.

“Everyone needs to recognize that we are becoming a global society and we need different perspectives to solve a problem,” said Kesar. “Those varied schools of thought come with diversity in gender.”

The Women Tech Council provides leadership, resources and mentoring for women while highlighting their professional accomplishments and creating a female technology-based business community.

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