Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

February 6, 2007

Microsoft to Co-Sponsor "Future Potential in Computing" Seminar Feb. 27
for Area High School and College Students

Microsoft teams with Google, CCSC and area business and education leaders to encourage students to pursue careers in information technology

Students may have heard that few jobs exist in information technology in the United States, but an event for area high-school and college students on Tuesday, Feb. 27, will seek to debunk this myth.

The "Future Potential in Computing" seminar series is a national program designed to encourage high-school students and college freshmen and sophomores to consider majoring in IT. The event is sponsored by Microsoft, Google, the Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges, and more than a dozen northwest college and university computer-science departments, including departments at Eastern Washington University, Gonzaga University, the University of Idaho, Washington State University, and Whitworth College. Similar events are being hosted in cities throughout the Northwest, including Seattle, Portland and Salem.

The "Future Potential in Computing" event is free and will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Riverpoint Phase 1 Auditorium. Registration begins at 6 p.m., with the event starting at 6:30 p.m. For registration and complete details, visit www.cs.gonzaga.edu/~bryant/fic. During the evening, participants will have the opportunity to win various prizes, including a Microsoft Zune and software.

Adam Jansen with the Washington State Digital Archives will give an opening presentation. Wanda Miles, director of marketing communications-engineering excellence at Microsoft, will deliver the keynote address, "De-bunking the Five Myths of IT," in which she will dispel myths that IT careers and jobs are diminishing in the United States.

Peter Tucker, assistant professor of computer science at Whitworth and a former Microsoft software engineer, will follow with a presentation on "A Day in the Life/My Road to IT." The seminar will conclude with a panel discussion and a question-and-answer session with students. The panelists are Jordanna Chord, Google; Jeff Lundin, Cyan; Kris Rudin, Ascentium; Susan Mabry, Whitworth computer-science faculty member; Rebecca Long, computer-science major at EWU.

"In the coming decades, the magic of software will change our world in ways we haven't even dreamed of yet, but for some reason there's a perception that opportunities within the IT field are declining," said Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, as part of a recorded opening message for the event. "The truth is the power and potential of the IT industry have barely been tapped. "Today there are more opportunities than ever before and companies like Microsoft continue to be challenged by a shortage of skilled IT workers. Working with some great partners, Microsoft has helped create this program as part of our ongoing efforts to attract the best and brightest minds to the IT industry."

"We are thrilled of offer area students the opportunity to learn about careers in computer science," says Rob Bryant, professor of computer science at Gonzaga University. "Computing is a dynamic field that is critical to most any profession today. A challenge we face in higher education is to make students aware of the exciting multidisciplinary opportunities available to those who study computer science."

The Consortium for Computing Sciences in Colleges is a non-profit organization focused on promoting quality computer-oriented curricula as well as effective use of computing in smaller institutions of higher learning, which are typically non-research oriented. The CCSC supports activities that assist faculty in making appropriate judgments concerning computing resources and educational applications of computer technology. The consortium is concerned with the advancement of major programs in both computer science and computer-information systems, and with the use of computers in the liberal arts and sciences. CCSC comprises nine regions across the United States. For more information, please visit www.ccsc.org.


For more event information, visit www.cs.gonzaga.edu/~bryant/fic or contact at Rob Bryant (509) 323-3906 or bryant@gonzaga.edu.

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