Campus & Community / Magazine Feature

Women’s College students repair, donate old computers

Warren Kuehner and members of the DU Women in Technology student group have made it their mission to ensure that no deserving Women’s College student is without her own computer.

Group members have refurbished more than 100 donated computers and given them to fellow students.

The eight-year-old group receives donations from DU alumni, students, companies and other DU departments.

“Before we give them away, we wipe old files and clear the hard disks,” says Kuehner, director of information technology studies for the Women’s College. “Then we reload them with an operating system and standard software, get them checked out and physically clean them up.”

Students who do not own a home computer (or own one so old it cannot run current software), can apply for a free computer on the Women’s College Web site.  Applicants write a short essay about how receiving a computer from the program would impact their learning experience.

“Once we have a good supply of computers, we match them up to applicants, and schedule a work party,” says Kuehner, noting that the group can typically refurbish a group of computers in one evening.

The “Great Computer Giveaway” is just one activity of the 40-member DU Women in Technology group, an organization comprised of students and alumnae devoted to building community and enhancing learning experiences within the college’s information technology studies program.

“It’s an opportunity for members to get together with other students who are interested in same thing, to use their collective skill to augment their education in IT,” says Kuehner.

The group, which meets once a month during the school year, sponsors guest speakers, workshops and field trips, including a visit to the First Data Corp. to meet with female Information Technology (IT) leaders.

“As most of us work and have families, it is really important to have a community of people to connect with about successes and struggles we are experiencing to keep the mountain of motivation required to finish the degree program,” says Sarah Tonso, club vice president. “And by interacting with other ITS students, we broaden our peer network and support system as well as perspectives on what IT means to us.”

Members also work with women’s IT groups at the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Colorado School of Mine, and the University of Wyoming to create a roadshow presentation that they will take to area middle and high schools to encourage young women to pursue careers in IT.

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