Mei Yang and Fatma Nasoz are two women from different worlds who excelled in math and science. But Nasoz, from Turkey, and Yang, from China, share one important commonality : They are women in the male-dominated industry of computer science and information technology. Yang, an associate professor in UNLV’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, has a research emphasis in computer architecture, networking and imbedded systems.
Nasoz is a senior resident scholar of information technology at the Lincy Institute, housed on the University of Nevada, Las Vegas campus. Her research is centered on artificial intelligence and human-computer interaction.
Like Yang, she took a liking to computers in high school and saw it as the perfect career choice. Neither Yang nor Nasoz gives too many particulars about what first piqued their interest in computers, but the fact that the field has virtually endless innovation possibilities keeps both motivated. And as colleges make the pitch to future generations about the great career potential in the IT, or computing, world, Yang said she’d love to share her story.
“I think it would be good for girls to see that I was able to do it,” she said. Women account for only 12 percent of the computer science graduates in the United States, according to Computing Research Association, a trade group made up of more than 200 computer science or engineering academic departments in the country.
That figure represents a drop from 28 percent in 2001, a cause for deep concern.