Facebook Funds SMC Women in Technology Scholarships

Woman with computer and Facebook logoFacebook has given $25,000 to Saint Mary’s College to create a scholarship fund for women interested in pursuing careers in technology.

The Facebook Women in Technology Scholarship will provide $5,000 a year for five years to provide scholarships for female digital media minors. Christena Reinhard, associate director of development for individual giving, said the goal is to address the disparity between the numbers of women and men entering technology careers.

Reinhard, who joined Saint Mary’s Development Office in November, had worked with Facebook and other technology companies while at YearUp Bay Area, a one-year intensive training program that provides hands-on skill development, college credits and corporate internships to low-income young adults. “Facebook wanted to make an impact and saw Saint Mary’s as a unique opportunity to make an impact,” she said.

The new scholarship is an offshoot of a larger technology and learning initiative spearheaded by Communication Department Chair Ed Tywoniak, who said Facebook “really values diversity” and is working to improve the pipeline of talent from U.S. colleges and universities.  

Mark Chiarucci, a major gifts officer at Saint Mary’s who has been working with Tywoniak to raise funds for the Keck Media Center in Sichel Hall, said technology companies are excited about SMC’s proposed curriculum model, which weds technology and liberal arts. They see it as an opportunity to “have an impact on what learning is going to look like in the 21st century,” he said.  

Noting that Facebook hires more than 1,000 interns each May, Reinhard says she hopes the Facebook Women in Technology Scholarships will also lead to internships or jobs at the company for SMC students.

Teresa Castle
Office of College Communications