Mount Holyoke College Establishes Mentoring Program for First-Year Computer Science Students

The computer science department at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, has established a new mentoring program that matches juniors and seniors in the department with first year students. Initially, the program was called Big Bit/Little Bit as part of the Big Sister/Little Sister program at the college but is now called Gigas and Megas. (A gigabyte is one billion bytes of information versus a megabyte that is one million bytes.)

Pon-BarryThe name change was suggested by Heather Pon-Barry, the Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science. The change was made to sound more like a computer science program and to differentiate it from the Big Sister/Little Sister initiative.

The Megas and Gigas will meet regularly at dinners, on field trips, and as participants in workshops. “The more you see role models, the more you can envision computer science as a path you can take yourself,” Dr. Pon-Barry said. Before joining the faculty at Mount Holyoke, Dr. Pon-Barry was an assistant professor at Arizona State University. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a second master’s degree and a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard University.

The Megas and Gigas program is supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

Filed Under: NetworkingSTEM FieldsWomen's Colleges


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