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Fewer women graduating with college degrees in computer science

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The decline in women graduating with degrees in computer science may be due to stigmas attached to the field. (NINA LIN / THE STATESMAN)

When Jennifer Wong first started teaching at Stony Brook in 2006, she caught a male student in her CSE 220 class aiming a laser pointer at her rear.

Even though she dismissed the student from the class, she said she did not think it would have happened if she were a male teaching the course.

According to a study from the National Science Foundation, the number of women graduating with degrees in computer science has actually decreased compared to data from two decades ago.

In 2010, female students earned 18.2 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in computer science.

In 1991, that number was 29.1 percent.

In a male-dominated field like computer science, Wong said that perhaps students were not used to seeing a woman leading the lecture. Students had signed her up for random email lists and taken out personal ads in her name, filling up her voice mailbox.

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Turkish students find American education appealing

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Alper Mirmahmutogullari, left, and Ipek Demirgezer, right, have both been in America for about five years. (MEHMET TEMEL/ THE STATESMAN)

Alper Mirmahmutogullari, left, and Ipek Demirgezer, right, have both been in America for about five years. (MEHMET TEMEL/ THE STATESMAN)

Instead of an hour drive or a two-hour train ride to get home at the end of this semester, sophomore psychology major Ipek Demirgezer will have to endure a longer journey to see her family: a 12-hour flight to Istanbul, Turkey.

This is not the first time Demirgezer will be going home.  She has been making the trip three times a year—for winter, spring and summer breaks—for the last six years. And she has not been the only one.

According to a census by Open Doors, which tracks international student movement, in the 2011-2012 school year, 11,973 students from Turkey came to the United States to study at a primary, secondary, undergraduate, graduate or Optional Practical Training level, making Turkey “the 10th leading place of origin for students coming to the United States.” The west Asian country obtained that position in 2000 and has kept it since.

In New York, Turkish students make up roughly 2.8 percent of the state’s international student population. Stony Brook University ranks as the institution with the fifth highest number of foreign students with 3,726 students, based on Open Doors’ state census from 2012.

While graduate students make up a little more than 50 percent of the Turkish student population in the United States, Demirgezer and many of her friends arrived in the United States alone at age 14.

“I always wanted to go outside of Turkey and live without my parents,” Demirgezer said.  “Then my dad found out about an opportunity to go to the United States so I [said] ‘I want to go,’ and I came here.”

The appeal in coming to the United States at such a young age, she said, is much more than just the educational opportunities.  “We thought it would be easier to learn English when we were younger,” she said.

Although senior computer science major and president of Stony Brook’s Turkish-American Student Association Zeynep Doğanata was born and raised in the United States, she says that fluency in English for Turkish internationals can take them a long way.

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Governor Cuomo praises Stony Brook in educational development

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“In so many ways the challenges that the state faces are being addressed here at Stony Brook,” Cuomo said. (MIKE PEDERSEN / THE STATESMAN)

“In so many ways the challenges that the state faces are being addressed here at Stony Brook,” Cuomo said. (MIKE PEDERSEN / THE STATESMAN)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo arrived at the Charles B. Wang Center on Thursday, Feb. 28, to speak to constituents about his proposed budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year as well as the topics covered in his State of the State address from January.

Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley introduced some of the issues Gov. Cuomo would later cover saying, “it is fate that the governor chose to visit Stony Brook to talk about this plan. Education is the engine in growing the economy and the SUNY system and our university play a major role in this state. We are educating and preparing our students to join the workforce.”

Governor Cuomo took the stage at 2 p.m. and called Stony Brook “such a great gem for the SUNY system.”

“In so many ways the challenges that the state faces are being addressed here at Stony Brook,” Cuomo said.

He then outlined his plans for the state in a presentation titled “New York Rising,” including education reforms, which focused on aiding students of all ages around the state.  “We are not educating all of our children to the fullest,” he said. “Some are getting a world-class and some children are being left behind and that’s the truth. And we’re better than that.”

Cuomo proposed keeping primary and secondary school students in the classroom longer by either extending school days or school years, in order to better prepare New York children to globally compete for jobs. “I understand that this change is hard, and I understand that this is a big one but I think we should move in this direction. I’ll leave it to the local school districts as to how they want to do it.”

He also explained the idea of creating a “tech-transfer challenge.” “Stony Brook has some very high examples in this regard [to the tech transfer]. When you look at the economies that are doing well in this country, or around the world for that matter, the basic common denominators are these new high tech ideas that are basically coming out of academic institutions of higher learning,” he said.

“It’s the next cell phone, the next chip, it’s the next circuit board, the next brilliant idea that comes out of an academic institution that then becomes commercialized. They call that the tech-transfer, when you transfer the technology to the commercial sphere.”

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Del Bosque: It would be ideal to play the Copa del Rey final in Madrid

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Spain National Team coach Vicente del Bosque spoke to the press in Valladolid on Friday saying, the Copa del Rey final between Atletico and Real Madrid “gives all the circumstances for the match to be played in Madrid.”

Former Real Madrid manager Vicente del Bosque received the award for best communicator of Castile and León on Friday from the European University Miguel de Cervantes.

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SBU researchers collaborate on new polio vaccination

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Dr. Jeronimo Cello, Dr. Eckard Wimmer, Dr. Benjamin Hsiao and Dr. Sean Boykevisch are working a polio vaccine in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals. (Photo Credit: Stony Brook University)

Dr. Jeronimo Cello, Dr. Eckard Wimmer, Dr. Benjamin Hsiao and Dr. Sean Boykevisch are working a polio vaccine in collaboration with Janssen Pharmaceuticals. (Photo Credit: Stony Brook University)

Stony Brook professor Dr. Eckard Wimmer and assistant research professor Dr. Jeronimo Cello have recently collaborated with Stony Brook University and Janssen Pharmaceuticals to develop an inactive polio vaccine based on highly attenuated polio viral seed strains.

According to the university’s press release, “These strains, when inactivated, have the potential to be as effective and as safe as the current activated poliovirus vaccine (IPV).”

Wimmer, who has been at Stony Brook for nearly forty years, is best known for his work on the poliovirus.

Last May, he was inducted into the National Academy of Science.

Sean Boykevisch, who facilitated the agreement between Janssen and the university, lauded Wimmer’s accomplishments and contributions to the field of virology, which include “the elucidation of the chemical structure of the poliovirus genome and the first in vitro synthesis of polio, or any organism for that matter.”

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