FSU STARS Students Win 1st and 2nd Place at National Conference

2013 STARS group
2013 STARS National Conference attendees

Florida State University undergraduate students successfully earned first- and second-place at the “STARS Celebration 2013” Conference in Atlanta on Aug. 15-17.

The students were attending the three-day conference as members of the Florida State University chapter of the STARS (Students and Technology in Academia, Research, and Service) Alliance, a national community of regional partnerships with a mission to grow a diverse 21st century technology/STEM workforce that addresses the shortage of computer scientists and information technologists in the United States.

“We have a great group of students who are dedicated to recruiting new and diverse populations to the fields of technology and STEM,” Associate Dean Ebe Randeree said.

Over 350 faculty members, students, members of industry and government, and community and partnering organizations from throughout the U.S. attended. They worked on planning and evaluating the progress of current projects and exchanged ideas and information. The event also provided opportunities for training and dialogue on topics such as leadership, peer mentoring, service learning, web development and community outreach.

Workshops addressed the STARS Alliance’s major initiatives: K-12 outreach, industry partnerships, pair programming, mentoring, culturally situated design tools and assistive technology.  The organization comprises 51 universities and colleges and is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Broadening Participation in Computing grant.  Florida State was one of the five founding members of the STARS Alliance in 2005.

The focus of the FSU STARS Alliance is to recruit and retain current student in the technology/STEM field while increasing enrollment of traditionally underrepresented student populations (women, minorities, and people with disabilities).  Florida State focuses on K-12 outreach and recruitment/retention projects.

STARS poster winners
STARS poster winners Nancy Moyers and Ashley Schaffer

The award-winning poster presentations of FSU STARS student projects exemplified the organization’s goal:

The first-place project poster award, “WISE”, described the initiatives on campus and in the Leon county community to build mentorship programs for women.  WISE (Women in IT/ICT Sharing Experiences) hosts tech camps for young women, recruits and retains women in IT, hosts professional workshops and provides networking experiences for Florida State students.  The project is well established in the local business community with support from various local female business leaders and CEOs.

The second-place project poster award, “Strategic use of Social Media”, described the use of social media to promote STARS projects, engage community participants and disseminate information.  STARS only has 12 members, yet it completes 50-60 projects annually and reaches 12,000-15,000 people.  Social Media allows STARS to promote, document and highlight its messages.

The FSU STARS students attending the conference were:

Ashley Augustine (UG – Information, Communication, & Technology)
Michelle Crowe (UG – Computer Criminology)
Rachael Deja (UG – Information Technology)
Desiree Fraser (UG – Information Technology)
Caroline Goodrich (UG – Information, Communication, & Technology)
Brittany Holland (UG – Information, Communication, & Technology)
Allison Loehr (UG – Information, Communication, & Technology)
Nancy Moyers (UG – Psychology/Humanities)
John Nguyen (Grad – Computer Science)
Matt Russi (UG – Information Technology)
Ashley Schaffer (UG – Information, Communication, & Technology)
Shelby Schlembach (UG – Information Technology)
Bryan Strawter (UG – Information Technology)


For more information on FSU’s STARS Alliance, visit starsalliance.fsu.edu. For more information on STARS Alliance, visit starsalliance.org.