Yuni Xia, Ph.D., coached the USA Computing Olympiad (USACO) women’s team this summer at an international competition for young women interested in computer science. (Photo above, from left: Yuni Xia, and team members Maria Chrysafis, Tina Wang, Eva Zhu, and Christina Li.)
Xia, an associate professor, is program director of the Computer Science Department at IU’s Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering in Indianapolis.
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European Girls’ Olympiad in Informatics
In July at the European Girls’ Olympiad in Informatics (EGOI) competition, Xia helped lead the USA Computing Olympiad women’s team to a total of four medals (two gold, one silver and one bronze). The event, held in Lund, Sweden, drew more than 300 participants from 52 nations.
“EGOI has ignited the girls’ determination to make meaningful contributions to the world of technology,” Xia says.
During the Olympiad, participants work to solve challenging algorithmic problems. In addition to two days of competition, participants also attend lectures and presentations, explore the host country, and learn about career opportunities available to them in the tech sector.
The event helps team members connect with other young women who are interested in computer science and is open to participants under age 20.
A supportive environment for women in tech
“The (event) provided an extraordinary experience for these girls, challenging not only their problem-solving skills but also exposing them to a vibrant community of brilliant young minds with a shared passion for computer science,” Xia says.
Through competition, the European Girls’ Olympiad in Informatics aims to encourage young women to engage in programming. EGOI notes research shows that many girls do not choose a career in this sector due to long-standing stereotypes that wrongly consider it a male-dominated field.
“This event reaffirmed our belief in the exceptional potential of women in the field of informatics and emphasized the significance of fostering a supportive environment that celebrates diversity,” Xia says.