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Two Georgia Gwinnett College students win Women in Technology scholarships

Two Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) information technology students have earned scholarships from Women in Technology (WIT), an Atlanta-based nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women excel in the science, technology, engineering, arts and math fields (STEAM). This is the fourth year in a row a GGC student has been awarded this scholarship.

The scholarships are offered to undergraduate students in STEAM-related degree programs and provide them with the opportunity to connect with other women in their fields of interest. Students are selected based on academic performance and leadership qualities displayed for the WIT community. This year, more than 30 applicants hoped to earn the scholarships. Six were chosen as finalists and three earned scholarships. Two of those three attend GGC: Chenanniah Mac-Cephas and Rian Teyani, who won $20,000 and $15,000 respectively.

Teyani, a 21-year-old senior from Suwanee, is majoring in information technology, with a concentration in systems and security. 

“I wanted to surround myself with other women who are in the same position as me,” said Teyani. Her desire to grow led her to join WIT@GGC activities. Teyani is also a member of the Arab American Student Association.

“This scholarship means a lot to me,” said Teyani, a sentiment shared by Mac-Cephas, a 20-year-old junior from Lawrenceville and graduate of Peachtree Ridge High School. Mac-Cephas studies information technology with a concentration in software development, but also minors in film. 

“I see myself being an inspiration to people like me who want to keep persevering in male-dominated career sectors,” said Mac-Cephas, who entered WIT through a bootcamp in 2019 and shortly after became an officer. 

“Women are underrepresented in information technology,” said Sonal Dekhane, professor of information technology and chair of faculty at GGC. “While 57% of professional occupations in 2021 were held by women, only 26% of professional computing occupations were held by women in 2021. Only 13% of chief technical officer roles were held by women in 2020.”

Dr. Chavonda Mills, dean of the School of Science and Technology at GGC, is excited to further the cause. 

“The School of Science and Technology is making a substantial contribution to increasing the representation of women and women of color in IT by creating an inclusive learning environment for all students,” she said. 

“These scholarship awards embody much of what we do here at Georgia Gwinnett College, and for two of our women students in IT to receive competitive scholarships among students across the state of Georgia speaks volumes for their efforts in and outside the classroom.”