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August 1, 2018 |

CompTIA Names Winners of New Women in IT Awards

They include Sarah Johnson, pictured left, a recent high school graduate and technology enthusiast who received the first CompTIA/ChannelPro Cecilia Galvin Scholarship Award, which is named after ChannelPro’s former executive editor.

CompTIA has named the inaugural winners of its AWIT Spotlight Awards.

The four honorees were celebrated in a ceremony held yesterday at Downers Grove, Ill.-based CompTIA’s 2018 ChannelCon event, which is currently underway in Washington D.C. They include Sarah Johnson, a recent high school graduate from Philadelphia who received the first CompTIA/ChannelPro Cecilia Galvin Scholarship Award.

Sponsored by CompTIA’s Advancing Women in Technology community, the AWIT Spotlight Awards are designed to encourage women to pursue careers in technology by calling attention to role models already making an impact in the industry. At present, women account for 47 percent of the U.S. workforce and 57 percent of U.S. college graduates, yet just 25 percent of U.S. IT employees, according to data from IDC.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” noted AWIT chair Cristina Greysman, who is also vice president of partner recruitment and activation at SAP. “To put a more positive spin on it, seeing is believing.”

The goal of the Cecilia Galvin Scholarship Award in particular, which includes a $2,500 grant, is to help a talented young woman with an interest in technology launch an education in IT. It is named after former ChannelPro Executive Editor Cecilia Galvin, who passed away last year.

“We wanted to provide support for a woman who would like to begin a career in technology,” Greysman explained. “We know how important that is, to get started on the right foot.”

Sarah Johnson (pictured left with her mother Audrey Johnson, who home-schooled her) is exactly the kind of person the AWIT leadership team had in mind for the award. A frequent participant in prestigious science and engineering fairs with a trophy case full of medals, she’s been fascinated by technology since kindergarten.

“I was really interested in finding different ways that things work and taking apart different things around the house,” she says.

That led to experimentation in robotics beginning in the sixth grade, and more recently to her invention of two GPS devices, one of which helps parents locate lost children. Built around a portable sensor, the system communicates its longitude and latitude via SMS messaging when queried by anxious parents. Johnson spent the better part of a year researching the unit’s engineering and components.

“It had to be affordable, because I knew my product had to be available to people who probably couldn’t pay $200 for a tracking device but still wanted to keep their child safe,” Johnson says.

Her other device, which is designed for use with people suffering from dementia, automatically sends a text message any time someone wearing it strays outside the perimeter of a home or assisted living facility.

Johnson has also been an active participant in TechGirlz, a Philadelphia non-profit and former CompTIA charitable grant recipient that encourages young women to cultivate an interest in IT. She has served the group as a technical teaching assistant and mentor to other young women with a passion for technology.

Johnson begins her freshman year at the New York Institute of Technology, in Manhattan, shortly. She plans to pursue a career as a hardware product designer.

“I don’t want to just be a part of the future. I want to invent the future,” she says.

Other winners of AWIT Spotlight Awards include Sheryne Glicksman, director of channel strategy consulting service at Keypoint Intelligence, a digital imaging solution provider in Fairfield, N.J. Glicksman received the first-ever Technical Pacesetter Award, which goes to a woman with demonstrated accomplishments in both a technical field as well as customer or community service. A frequent speaker and writer widely respected as an authority in the copier and print market, Glicksman has also contributed thousands of hours to Place of Hope, a nonprofit focused on rescuing abused and neglected children, among other organizations.

The first Mentorship Guide Award, which honors a woman who has made motivating and advising other women leaders a top priority, went to Kathryn Rose, founder of wiseHer, which offers education and advice to women on business, career, and life.

Roberta Fox, of Fox Group, a Canadian digital technology and user experience advisory firm, won the first Industry Leadership Award, which recognizes a woman broadly acknowledged as an industry expert who helps set the direction for her company, the IT community, and her personal community.

“She’s respected for her creative and innovative style of working and her ability to leverage her knowledge of advanced technology,” explained AWIT Vice Chair Lori Jolley, who is director of strategic reach for AT&T Partner Solutions. Fox is also personally responsible for the creation and launch of a suicide prevention solution equipped with VoIP, chat, and text functionality. Used by over 16,000 people to date, the system has played a direct role in saving 187 lives.

Prior to her tenure with ChannelPro, Galvin was the first female editor-in-chief of Popular Science magazine, where she launched the publication’s first news section about computers. According to Greysman, that and other accomplishments, plus her continual drive to keep pace with a constantly evolving industry, make her a fitting namesake for an award aimed at helping other women blaze new trails in IT.

“Cecilia had an insatiable curiosity, and while she was an expert she never pretended to know everything and was always open to learn from the people that she interviewed and those she worked with,” Greysman said. “They respected her for that.”

Galvin’s husband Scott and daughter Danica both spoke during yesterday’s ceremony. Galvin’s other daughter, Delaney, who is preparing to begin her undergraduate studies at NC State University, was unable to attend.

“My mother Cecilia Galvin was one of the most courageous and intelligent women I’ve ever met,” said Danica Galvin. “I know in my heart that this would have meant the world to her, knowing that more women going into the IT field would have a fair shot at achieving their goals and living their dreams to the fullest.”

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