Sunday, September 30, 2018

Aravia's CSW Experience Hopes and Goals

Hi Everyone,

I am really excited to be joining the CSW WomenNC team as a research student from Bennett College. Our research topic is Perinatal Care and Incarceration in Guilford and Forsyth Counties. My hope is that we are able to use our research to advocate for women that are incarcerated and unable to advocate for themselves. I hope that I am able to become a better researcher, writer, and public speaker from this experience. I also hope to gain a few more mentors in the fields of public policy, public health, and social justice. Overall, I hope this experience makes me a better social agent of change!

- Aravia Patterson

Hopes and Goals for CSW Program Experience-My Version of a Superhero

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question that is frequently heard throughout childhood. When I was little I used to say I wanted to be a superhero. Now that I’ve grown up a little bit, I say I want to be business woman. My personal definition of true heroine. A woman that controls a company. A woman that influences others with their every decision. A woman that molds ideas into products, services, innovation and progress. If that’s not a modern superhero, I don’t know what is. But I’ve always wondered, where are these women? Why don’t I see them in the news, the way I see Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

As a woman majoring in business, I’ve seen girls in my classes. Yet, women remain the startling minority in high-level positions. What is the disconnect between graduation and a place at the head of a corporate C-suite? It is simple really. Women remain underpaid, underestimated and underappreciated in the workforce. We remain stagnant. Why is this? It is not from lack of effort or acumen, so what is it? My curiosity has led me to choose this particular topic as the center of my research. I hope to better examine the barriers holding women back from true equity within the business world.

I am looking forward to independently conducting research. I have conducted research that was significant to my intended field in the past, but I’ve never had the opportunity to choose my own topic and proceed with my own individual intrigues in my own way. I want to become more acquainted with research practices and explore which research methods work best for me. Also, the research topic I have chosen, directly impacts me. As a woman aspiring to be a high-level executive in business, this is an introspective look at what challenges I will most likely face my future.

I am excited to learn more about the issues facing the Durham area, which as a Raleigh native, was my backyard growing up. I am hopeful that the work I am able to provide will be helpful in educating populations and influencing understanding and policy in the future. Outside of directly contributing to my own community, I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to travel to the United Nations. I look forward to sharing my findings with strong women and men of different backgrounds. Sharing diverse perspectives and engaging conversations. Proposing solutions and reflecting on past experiences. I hope to build lasting networks and improve my interpersonal communication, as well as my knowledge of ongoing issues affecting women in the world today.

Zybrea Knight's Hopes and Goals for CSW Experience


I am so elated to be participating in the WomensNC project this school year as one the 5 student participants from the illustrious Bennett College for Women! I cannot wait to see what new opportunities, adventures, and new learning I will embark upon while being apart of the WomensNC project. 

- Zybrea Knight 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

A couple days ago, the middle school students who I teach were learning about algorithms. Using their knowledge about algorithms, they made squares, circles, smiley faces, and stick figures by coding for specific commands. My middle school students, mostly students of color and both female and male identifying, each took unique and creative approaches toward coding for such images. In that faded yellow classroom with large windows to the tall oak trees, I felt the indescribable pain of knowing that tech has left so many talented individuals behind and will continue to do so.

North Carolina is prized for Research Triangle Park (RTP) as a hub for high-growth tech innovation and research. However, RTP, in its rapid growth, has left behind the individuals that make up a large proportion of North Carolina's population, women and women of color. This semester, I am looking forward to researching more on how to incentivize technology companies to improve their recruitment, retainment, and promotion of women, especially women of color. 

As a woman highly involved in tech, I have realized the population of NC tech companies are not reflective of the middle school students in my classrooms. Tech is heavily gendered, but, at its core, it exists as a neutral tool to solve individual and societal problems. For my research, I hope to focus on the structures within tech companies that lead to disproportionately low numbers of women, and even lower numbers of women of color, who apply for positions, stay within their roles, and move up to senior positions. 

Tech doesn't have to leave individuals like my middle school students behind. To actively include all individuals, tech companies need to do better in actively conspiring for gender and racial diversity. Through my research, I am looking forward to working with NC citizens and tech companies to make tech a more equitable space for all of us.