YSU’s Dr. Sharif Wins NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award

Dr. Bonita SharifDr. Bonita Sharif is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Youngstown State University.

In her five years at YSU, Dr. Sharif has mentored 14 students, almost half of which were women and almost a third of which went on to graduate studies. It’s because of these students that she’s mentored that she won the award.

Dr. Alina Lazar nominated her for the award. The two of them are attending the Summit on Women and IT. The award will be presented to Dr. Sharif on May 17th. It is also a great way to connect with others in their field and learn about how to engage more women in IT.

“NCWIT provides a lot of resources to help educators in supporting women in CS and IT,” said Dr. Sharif.

The National Center for Women and Information Technology awards both men and women who work toward this goal of promoting gender diversity in IT. YSU is an NCWIT Academic Alliance member. By mentoring these students, Dr. Sharif and this year’s other three award recipients have helped to inspire young women to pursue ambitious careers in information technology.

Her advice to students is to try to get involved with research at the undergraduate level, no matter what their majors are.

“A lot of students don’t even know that we do research. I try to get students early on in their degrees to start doing research. It’s never too early.” said Dr. Sharif.

She wants more students to actively look for research opportunities to get the experience and the recognition before they’ve even graduated. She gives students the opportunity to help draft and rewrite research results when submitted to a conference or journal. They also have the opportunity to present their results at national and international conference venues.

“It’s all about the students in the end,” said Dr. Sharif.