Four students earn 2015 Fifty for the Future Award

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Lewis University students earn 2015 Fifty for the Future Award

Published: April 2, 2015.

(L to R) Victoria Vodicka and Thao Le
are among the Fifty for the Future
award recipients.

Four Lewis University students won the prestigious 2015 Fifty for the Future Award by the Illinois Technology Foundation. The honor is awarded annually to 50 students in the state of Illinois who exhibit great potential for becoming leaders in the computer industry. Computer Science majors Thao Le of Oswego and Victoria Vodicka of Romeoville were joined by Michelle Campana of Shorewood and Saradha Kannan of Naperville, who are pursuing the Technical Concentration of the Master of Science in Information Security degree, as Lewis University winners of the award.

The Fifty for the Future Award is sponsored by the Illinois Technology Foundation (ITF). The Illinois Technology Foundation is a volunteer group of IT industry professionals who devote their talents and experience to mentoring young computer scientists as they try to prepare themselves for work in industry.

Lewis University’s Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences hosted two events for the ITF last year. During the event, students learned about life and work in the IT sector and how to distinguish themselves as professionals who can bring value to an organization.

“Victoria, Thao, Saradha, and Michelle are among Lewis’ best and brightest women in Computer Science. One of the department’s major initiatives is to increase the number of women in Computer Science, a field in which only 12 percent of its new workers are female. This is regrettable statistic, and Lewis is taking steps to reverse it,” commented Dr. Ray Klump, chair and professor of Lewis University’s Department of Computer and Mathematical Sciences.

One example includes the Girls Create with Technology program hosted by the Lewis University Computer Science program. Vodicka volunteered a lot of her time to help lead the initiative, which teaches girls in grades six through eight how to program, how to set up networks, and how to secure data. Klump added, “The hope is that efforts like these will help bring more outstanding women like Lewis' four Fifty for the Future awardees to this most important of fields.”

Lewis University offers a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Computer Engineering. Computer Science majors can pursue formal concentrations in Cyber Security, Video Game Development, Web and Mobile Development, Computational Theory, and Data Science. Internship and hands-on learning opportunities are plentiful. The university is nationally recognized for its Master of Science in Information Security program, which includes an innovative fast-track that enables students to earn both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in five years. A master's degree in Data Science is also available.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,700 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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