New Scholarship Introduced for Female Students

Posted: September 8, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Elena Barbre

Nicole Maxberry, a freshman in the School of Management, is the first student to benefit from a new scholarship program geared toward women majoring in business, science, engineering, and technology at George Mason.

As a business graduate, Maxberry will join the ranks of females who are qualified to fill Northern Virginia’s 19,000 vacant information technology jobs. Helping her rise to the challenge is the Women’s Advisory Board (WAB), a coalition of business, government, and community leaders dedicated to developing programs that will improve women’s educational and employment opportunities. “Women are an untapped resource in the Northern Virginia region,” says Rosemarie Annunziata, chair of the WAB and a judge for the Virginia Court of Appeals. “Nationally, only 14 percent of engineering graduates and 4 of every 10 science graduates are women. And of George Mason’s female graduates, more than half the total student body, only 32 percent leave with degrees in business, the sciences, or technology.”

The WAB strives to shrink this gender gap with a four-year scholarship that is available to one undergraduate, in-state, full-time female student each year who is majoring in an IT-related field. Recipients must have a minimum high school GPA of 3.3 with four years of math, and must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 while attending George Mason.

Maxberry, who was involved in a variety of extracurricular and community service activities at West Potomac High School, in addition to her regimen of advanced placement and honors courses, says she is honored to be chosen to receive this opportunity. “This scholarship means a lot to me,” she says. “I think college is a place to make the transition to the real world, and I want to make the most out of my college experience. I want to be able to be a chief operating officer one day…. I know that a lot of women, especially minorities, don’t make it to top level, and I would love to do that.”

The scholarship is made available through the Dorothy and Hugh McDiarmid Endowment, a fund within the George Mason University Foundation, Inc., established to support merit-based scholarships that advance female students in IT-related fields. Dorothy McDiarmid, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates for 26 years, was a vigorous advocate of George Mason, sponsoring the legislation that founded George Mason College and later the legislation that established the university as an independent institution.

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