Cyber Talk Radio: San Antonio Women in Technology

Bret Piatt, CTR Host, and Dr. Barbara Hewitt, founder of the San Antonio Women in Technology organization and professor at Texas State University - Episode 160 of Cyber Talk Radio

This past Saturday, October 19, episode 160 of Cyber Talk Radio hit the air on 1200 WOAI and iHeartRadio streaming. I was joined by Dr. Barbara Hewitt, founder of the San Antonio Women in Technology organization and professor at Texas State University, to discuss encouraging women of all ages to pursue their interests in computer science, technology and cybersecurity.

San Antonio Women in Technology was founded in 2011, what’s the story behind that? Barbara went to a session in Washington, D.C. to talk about women in computing and soon after she was in the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce IT program when someone asked her to start the group with a list of potential members! She invited interested women to the meeting and it was a hit ever since! They first started meeting at Rackspace, then Geekdom, Digital Defense, and now Trinity University. One of the problems this tries to solve is that women are busy, and it’s hard for them to find more time to commit to having professional, social networking and engagement that can create career opportunities and growth. Their main goal is to reach for all women — young, learning, or established in their fields. Once a year, the group holds a symposium with inspirational speaker, a work-life balance panel, negotiation training and a career fair.
We get to talking about Barbara’s background — she is a professor at Texas State University's College of Health Professions in the information management program, which actually has a relatively high graduation rate of women (90 percent) compared to many tech and information systems programs. She’s been at Texas State in this role since 2015. She first worked there as a systems analyst and was at Texas A&M University San Antonio in 2011, where she saw less than 10 percent of women in the field. The addition of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) to HIPAA in 2009 made it more important for businesses to make health information mobile/portable, including the implementation of electronic medical records.

After the break, we talk about Aspirations, a local event celebrating young talented women in technology, which is put on by the National Center for Women & Information Technology. If any high-school aged listeners want to submit themselves for an award, the upcoming deadline for this year’s awards, which will take place at Texas A&m UNiversity San Antonio, is November 1. Students will need teacher recommendations and parent permission. There are 10 winners per city, and one winner per state every year, and they are always trying to provide scholarships for the winners. Another interesting aspect of the Aspirations event is that local technology companies and professionals hosts tables where these young women can talk to people who are working in the roles they are working toward — they have the chance to ask any questions they want! If you or your business would like to sponsor a table or scholarship, email [email protected]. Another cool thing that’s happening with young women in tech is that the CAST Tech High School has two all-female CyberPatriot teams! Another way for young women to get involved is making sure they pay attention to their many high school options while they’re still in middle school! There are a lot of charter and magnet options for specific career fields. If you’d like to get on the San Antonio Women in Technology email list to find out when the next meeting is, email Barbara to get on email subscription list.

Listen to the full episode replay to learn more about Barbara’s work with the San Antonio Women in Technology organization and her work at Texas State University and beyond.

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