Marshall University has established a new organization called Women in Cyber to bring together female students with the common goals of closing the gender gap in technology and giving women in technology visibility and a voice.

Women In Cyber (WInC)’s mission is to help bridge the gender gap in technology on and off campus by providing tech education, networking, leadership development and community outreach opportunities for females of all ages.

Its advisor is Chelsie Cooper, an alumna of Marshall’s digital forensics and information assurance program. Also helping with the organization are John Sammons, director of Marshall’s digital forensics and information assurance program, and Morganne Hutchinson, who is serving as the first WInC president.

They aim to increase the number of women in cyber security and other technology-related fields at Marshall.

“My hope for this group is to spread empowerment and leadership across campus and in the community,” Cooper said. “I want the ladies in this group to empower other females to join them in closing the gender gap in technology — to give them a support system and for them to empower each other to push through the challenges of being a female in technology.

“My hope for this group is not only to empower female students here on campus but to empower the younger generation of females to go into technology fields. Nothing is more powerful than a group of females advocating for something they are passionate about.”

Hutchinson said she is thrilled about Marshall establishing a group like Women in Cyber.

“The organization will present a tremendous amount of opportunities for females in computer, technology and cyber programs on campus who want to meet each other, provide a support system, advocate for more female representation in technology fields, and inspire the community’s younger generation of females to be excited and interested about the cyber/tech world,” Hutchinson said. “As president, I am committed to making this group diverse, professionally sought out for, and successful.  It will be my duty to help every individual of the group feel welcome, accepted, and to grow as a professional inside the classroom and out in the community.”

Stacy Cossin will serve as vice president of the new group.

“I decided to step up and be vice president of this group because I am not only a woman in the technology, but I am a woman of color in the technology field,” Cossin said. “As a woman, I am underrepresented, and as a woman of color, I feel that I am not represented. My goal for this group is to make sure that no woman who follows with me in this group, will ever feel left behind or she’s not represented. It has been said, ‘You can’t be what you can’t see,’ and I am determined to make us be seen.”

The group will serve as a support system for women in tech and help boost their confidence in the field.

“Women are woefully underrepresented in the technology workforce. One recent survey put that number at around 24%,” Sammons said. “Our objective with this group is to do our part to increase that number.”

Originally from Jean Hardiman for Marshall University Communications.