Computer Science/Mathematics Scholars Program

What is the CS/M Scholars Program?

The CS/M Scholars Program at WWU has a mission of graduating more women with degrees in Computer Science and Mathematics.  The program is funded by a $590,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).  The grant was written by Professor Perry Fizzano in Computer Science and Professor David Hartenstine in Mathematics. 

What are the benefits of the program?

CS/M Scholars enjoy many benefits, including:

  • A substantial need-based scholarship.  The limit imposed by the NSF is $10,000 per year for up to four years.  The actual amount we award to you will depend on your financial need, our yearly budget and the need of the other scholars we choose.
  • Automatic registration in two first-year seminars, a 2-credit seminar in Mathematics and a 3-credit seminar in Computer Science.  These classes will have at most 25 students, will be engaging and fun and will require no previous experience.
  • Monthly get-togethers.  Many of these will focus on exploring career options and opportunities for internships or research experiences beyond campus.  Some of these events will showcase successful WWU graduates from Mathematics and Computer Science others will be purely social.
  • Active advising with faculty in the first year including the formulation of a four year graduation plan.

Why should I participate in the program and study Math or Computer Science?

We know that Math and CS is not for everyone but many studies show that female students can be discouraged from studying Math or Computer Science as early as middle school.  Thus, some women who would enjoy studying these subjects and be successful never even give them a try in college and never get to appreciate the beauty or depth of these fields. 

Math is about a lot more than solving algebraic equations and doing calculus.  Computer Science entails far more than building web pages or writing computer programs.  The first year seminars are designed to be an excellent way to develop a greater appreciation for the subjects without requiring previous experience. 

What do students have to say about the program and about studying Math and Computer Science at Western?

"The seminar classes were a perfect introduction to Western and and an excellent sneak peek into both math and computer science.  You get to know everyone in the class and for me those friendships turned into taking classes with some of the other girls.  It's really nice to have people you can automatically turn to for advice.  Plus our professors were, and still are, absolutely amazing.  It's an experience I wish everyone could have."

Sierra Southworth, CS/M Scholar 2011

"I originally started at Western thinking I would be a journalism major, but changed to computer science after I took a Computer Science class and realized that programming was pretty cool.  I really enjoyed my time in the CS Department because it felt like I was part of a supportive community that wanted me to succeed: the professors and department support staff were always there to answer questions when I needed help and the camaraderie of my fellow students in the lab made it easier to get through difficult projects."

Amanda Font, Computer Science Graduate
& Program Manager at Microsoft

“Opportunities for the determined and inspired undergraduate are diverse, and it’s not hard to feel determined and inspired with the support system that the Western Math Department offers.  I’m much less nervous about speaking in front of a group after learning to present my own mathematical proofs to my peers! The math professors at Western make it their goal to help and inspire students to get excited about studying math and they set great examples with their varying research interests. I can’t imagine having this experience anywhere else!”

Cari Jamieson, Mathematics major

"The ability to deeply understand technical information and effectively communicate the information to non-technical people has put me on the track to management at the Boeing Company. With my background in Computer Science, I gain the respect of my programmer colleagues as well as management.  My degree has given me the technical knowledge to succeed at my job and has therefore given me the opportunity to live a fulfilled life which includes technology, studies, travel and art." 

Sara Robertshaw,
Math/CS combined degree graduate &
Project Manager in IT at the Boeing Company

For more information about the CS/M Scholars Program, including how to apply, visit the program website, which is hosted by the Computer Science Department:

CS/M Scholars Program Website
Page Updated 08.23.2012