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Indian women throng US IT sector

April 11, 2006 14:50 IST

Indian women march into America's infotech campuses.

Indian men have been walking the corridors of high technology in US for quite a few years now. It is now the turn of the Indian women.

In a head-turning spectacle, Indian women have emerged as the largest non-US group in the list of recipients of the prestigious Anita Borg scholarships for female computer-science students in US universities, announced recently.

They have managed to bag 10 of the 47 scholarships on offer. While four of the 19  girl-students who won the $10,000 scholarship this year are Indian, even the 28 finalists who won consolations of $1,000 contain no less than six Indian names. (See chart).

The Indian girls have left behind their Chinese counterparts who had to be content with a total of eight selections, all in the "finalists" list. Interestingly, while there were Chinese and Eastern European selectees with western first-names, Sanskrit names like Himabindu, Sharmishtaa and Vinithra were all that could be found in the Indian list. The 19 winners (including four Indians) were selected from 90 universities across the US.

Now, a little more about the scholarship which has been set up by Google in association with the Anita Borg Institute to honour Anita Borg, arguably the biggest name among female contributors to the IT industry. She was the chief technologist at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center who started the first e-mail network for women in technology called Systers.

Dr Borg co-founded the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the enormously successful technical computer science conference which was inspired by the legacy of Navy Admiral Grace Murray Hopper and featuring successful women in computing.

She is also the founder of Institute for Women and Technology, an experimental R&D organisation focusing on increasing the impact of women on technology and the positive impact of technology on the world's women.

Google said it received nearly 324 applications this year from senior year undergraduate students of computer science and related fields. The students were then put through a series of tests and interviews with members of the review committee. Google said it also took into consideration their academic performance and letters of recommendation from their faculty.

These brainy students will  be invited to Google's scenic headquarters in Mountain view where they will get to meet the best of Google's brains (engineers and executives) and former winners.

The winning tide

  • Himabindu Pucha, Purdue University
  • Sharmishtaa Seshamani, Johns Hopkins University
  • Soumi Sinha, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Vinithra Varadharajan, Carnegie Mellon University

The finalists

  • Anagha Mudigonda, Polytechnic University New York
  • Ashima Kapur, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Divya Arora, Princeton University
  • Meeta Sharma Gupta, Harvard University
  • Moushumi Sharmin, Marquette University
  • Neha Rungta, Brigham Young University

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Sreejiraj Eluvangal in Mumbai
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