UW-Whitewater: Northwestern Mutual Foundation funds IT scholarships, camp for girls

Contact: John Chenoweth



WHITEWATER ­ Technology programs at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are getting a boost with a $78,000 commitment from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation in Milwaukee.

“This is significant for both our information technology infrastructure and management computer systems program,” said John Chenoweth, chair of UW-Whitewater’s Information Technology and Business Education Department. “This allows our outstanding students to be recognized for their hard work.”

Supporting two to four $3,500 scholarships per year over the next five years, the funds will be used to recognize the academic achievement of information technology students. The first two scholarships were awarded this year to senior Andrew Kielbasa of Crystal Lake, Ill., and senior Danielle Dresang of Manitowoc. Scholarship recipients are also given an opportunity to enter a mentorship program with professionals from Northwestern Mutual.

A portion of the $78,000 is also being set aside to help fund the CyberGirlz technology camp, a weeklong program to help girls develop an interest in technology. The camp is offered free of charge and relies on sponsorships to continue. The commitment from the Northwestern Mutual Foundation ensures that the program will be available for the next few years. A version of the CyberGirlz camp was held at the Northwestern Mutual campus in Milwaukee in October.

“Enrollment in technology programs has been dropping for several years, along with the percentage of women in the field, yet the demand for skilled IT employees will only continue to grow,” said Tim Schaefer, Northwestern Mutual chief information officer. “CyberGirlz is a fun and exciting opportunity for young women to experiment with technology at an early age, and as a large employer of IT professionals, Northwestern Mutual is pleased to contribute to this effort to develop the next generation of the workforce.”

UW-Whitewater has offered the camp to about 50 girls in each of the past two summers. “This will allow us to continue those efforts and expand the offering to high school girls,” Chenoweth said.

Northwestern Mutual has helped clients and policyowners achieve financial security for more than 150 years. The company has been consistently ranked as one of the “Best Places to Work in Information Technology” by Computerworld magazine in its annual survey. In 2009, Northwestern Mutual was the only company based in Wisconsin included on the list.

The Northwestern Mutual Foundation ­ the largest corporate giver in the state of Wisconsin, contributing $15.5 million nationally and locally in fiscal year 2009 ­ focuses on inspiring human potential through lifelong learning and community commitment.