For Immediate Release – April 18, 2005


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516


GENESEO, N.Y. – Sue Chichester, director of computing and information technology for the State University of New York at Geneseo, has received the Information Technology Woman of the Year Award from the Association for Women In Computing’s upstate New York chapter.

Chichester, a resident of Mount Morris, Livingston County, received the award April 13 at the organization’s annual awards ceremony at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. She was one of six women nominated for the award, which recognizes and celebrates the achievements women have made in the IT field, an industry traditionally dominated by men. This is the sixth year the award has been presented.

Chichester received the award for her work in changing the face of technology. Recipients are selected for their sustained contributions to the field; contributions advancing the status, opportunities and employment for women; and community service.

"When I heard of Sue receiving the honor of IT Woman of the Year, I could only think of how much she truly deserves such an award. She has expertly handled the technology needs of our campus for a number of years, but she has also made Geneseo a model of excellence," said Provost Katherine S. Conway-Turner. "There is nothing as special as recognition by your peers, and this award acknowledges that Sue is indeed a recognized leader and an outstanding model for women and men in the field of technology."

Chichester has worked at Geneseo for 21 years, the last eight as head of information technology. She oversees a 28-person staff that takes care of a network connecting more than 40 buildings. In 2002, all of the academic buildings and spaces on campus became wireless.

Chichester said she majored in business, concentrating in management science, and opted to get a minor in computer science in the early years it was offered. Upon reflection, she realizes computer science was a male-dominated field, but at the time she was just studying what interested her. She recalls attending a systems management conference in the mid-1980s and being unaware that she was in the minority as a female in a room of 30 people.

"It took until the third day when I realized I was the only woman in the room. That was kind of an epiphany for me," she said. "Today, I do notice a difference.

"I think that it definitely is changing. There are more women going into the field right from the onset," she said.

Chichester said she was particularly proud of being honored because she works in an academic setting. She stressed the importance of being a mentor to the students. The college’s information technology staff does its share of mentoring students. In fact, it employs 70 students.

"We really rely heavily on our student staff. I consider them an extension of the professional staff," said Chichester. "We really wouldn’t be able to do it without them."

The Association for Women In Computing award serves a dual purpose, Kim Perry, president of the chapter, told the Rochester, N.Y., Democrat and Chronicle. "This is to recognize and make visible women who have risen to the top of their profession," Perry stated. "It also serves as an important example to girls in college and high school to show they can succeed in this business."

The other nominees for the award were: Wendy Brabon, chief executive of Ignite Worldwide Inc.; Heidi Conti, program manager for enterprise applications at Paychex Inc.; Sandy Roberts, senior vice president for information technology at Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Co.; Christine Scheible, founder and chief executive of Quantum Technology Associates Inc.; and Shirley Wilson, chief information officer of Global Business Services.

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