Girls In IT Program Urges Women To Enter Tech Fields

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SPRINGDALE (KFSM) -- Some of the top women in technology companies in Northwest Arkansas gathered on Friday (Dec. 1) to get more women interested in information technology fields.

The Sam M. Walton College of Business sponsors the Girls In IT program every year, which was held at the Tyson Headquarters in Springdale last Friday.

More than 150 women from 14 Northwest Arkansas and River Valley high schools participated in the conference.

Dianne Perez, a Bentonville West junior and a conference participant, said her goal is to land a top job in the tech industry.

'Software development, somewhere around computer programming," Perez said. "I think it's interesting to make up code and have it do its own little thing with the computer."

Many women are intimidated when they enter an industry that's dominated by men, but Perez said she knows her worth.

"I know I can be on the same level as they are and I can talk to them on the same level without being undermined," Perez said.

Perez had a tech industry idol close to home in her mother, Josefina, who teaches computer classes at Springdale High School.

She said her mother fell into the industry by accident, but when she saw she had a knack for it, she went back to school. Her hard work has paid off.

Tyson programmers Macy Bowen and Jennifer Ortega came to the conference to encourage girls to enter the field.

"Do it! Just do it!" Ortega said. "We need more girls in IT. If girls don't get into IT, it's always going to be a male dominated field."

Bowen agreed, urging women to not let their fears hold them back.

"If you're afraid, that's okay," she said. "As long as you keep with it, you'll make it through. You can make a difference too."

Perez said she hopes the Girl's In IT program helps shatter the glass ceiling.

"It really doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, because you can do whatever you want as long as you put your head to it," she said.