On Tuesday, November 17, UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics (CCI) Dean Fatma Mili was honored as the North Carolina Technology Association (NC Tech) 2020 Tech Educator of the Year.
Annually, the NC Tech Awards recognize the best in North Carolina’s tech community and raises money to support NC Tech’s Education Foundation, which provides scholarships to young women pursuing STEM in higher education.
This year’s gala, hosted virtually over three days for the first time, dispensed awards in 24 categories, from “CISO of the Year” to “Tech for Good.”
Tech Educator of the Year was presented by Lenovo’s Regional Sales Manager, Ryan Piggie, who highlighted Lenovo’s commitment to diversity and Smarter Technology for All. “The word ‘all’ means everyone,” he said, “across all ages, genders, nationalities, abilities and ethnicities.” Piggie tied these ideals directly to Mili and her work, trumpeting CCI’s growth into not only North Carolina’s largest, but its most inclusive and diverse producer of computer science graduates.
In her acceptance, Mili said, “Last year, we graduated more than 1,000 students, more than a quarter of all IT graduates in the state. But as important, we continue to graduate the largest number of women, the largest number of African Americans, and the largest number of Hispanics,” she said, while also noting that CCI still has a long way to go before achieving full equity.
“The College of Computing and Informatics’ success is not accidental,” she said. “It stems from a long-held commitment to working towards equity and to changing the culture in our classrooms, our curricula, and our hallways. It also stems from a commitment to graduate students fully aware of the impact of the technology they design and hold themselves accountable for that impact.”
In closing, Mili shared the honor. “This award goes, not to me,” she said, “but to my colleagues, predecessors, and students, who made the college of computing and informatics what it is."
CLICK to View Award Presentation and Acceptance