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UTC Graduate student selected for national conference

miyukiMiyuki Tatsumi came to America from Japan to learn English, and as she began her pursuit of a master’s degree in communication, she decided to take a computer programming course on a lark. “I absolutely loved programming and I immediately changed my major to computer science,” said Tatsumi, who is currently a teaching assistant for computer classes at the University as well as a resource for the Japanese language class at Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.

As Tatsumi eyes the August, 2006 completion date of her graduate work, an impressive addition has been logged on to her resume. She was selected to attend the Google Workshop for Women Engineers, held recently at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California, near the San Francisco Bay area.

“Google's willingness to actively seek and recruit women into their innovative culture speaks well for continued opportunities for creative thinkers in cutting edge technology companies,” said Dr. Andy Novobilski, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science at UTC. “Ms. Tatsumi's selection to attend this event confirms the presence of a path from regional school to international company that's only barrier to entry is skill and hard work.

My hope is that young women in junior high and high school view this path as one they can walk on as well."

Google's main page is user friendly, according to Tatsumi, who feels her selection for the workshop was based on web page usability techniques she learned from UTC Webmaster Dan Chase and through a webusability class. Tatsumi enjoyed attending the sessions, where she joined more than a hundred women from around the world with similar interests.

“It is sometimes really hard for women to survive in a computer science program,” Tatsumi said. “I had some experiences such that male students did not trust me in many things such as programming skills and computer knowledge. This workshop mentally and academically encouraged me. The thing I enjoyed most was talking to the students. Talking to Googlers was really an interesting experience to me, too. They are absolutely smart, top level engineers and very friendly.”

Many of the workshop participants are pursuing master’s and Ph.D. degrees. Tatsumi said they discussed each other's schools and research interests. Many undergraduate students asked her about the UTC master's program.

For non-computer science female students, Tatsumi has some advice. "Don't hesitate to try computer science classes,” Tasumi said. “It may sound difficult, but what we do in programming classes is really fun. At UTC, CPSC 150 is the first programming language class. In the past semesters, students programmed the hangman game, “madlibs,” and Tic Tac Toe.”

February 3, 2006

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