Melissa Chaika's Rice Women's Resource Center Nomination
In May, Melissa Chaika, a Wiess senior majoring in sociology and policy studies, will graduate with a near-perfect GPA and an impressive record of service to the university and the field of women's studies. In her service to the university, Melissa has held the following titles:
Last summer, Melissa became involved in outreach activities at the Center for Research on Parallel Computation (CRPC), a National Science Foundation-funded Science and Technology Center headquartered at Rice University. The CRPC has several "Women's Programs" that are designed to increase the number of women pursuing careers in science, engineering, and mathematics, and Melissa has participated in two of these programs to date:
- Co-Founder (Spring 1994) and Vice-President (1995-96), Women's Interest Network
- Undergraduate Advisor to the President (1995-96)
- University Council Student Representative (1995-96)
- University Review Board
- Co-Coordinator (Spring 1995), Rice Women's Symposium Panel on Women and Technology
- Co-Coordinator (Spring 1995), All-Campus Leadership Symposium
- Student Representative (1993-94), Appellate Court for Student Discipline
Melissa has also participated with Rice University and CRPC authors on an impressive list of publications, including
- The Girl Games 1995 Summer Research Project, in which Houston-area middle and high school girls were asked to critique popular interactive software like Myst and Super Tetris and to create a wish list of features they'd like to see in computer games for girls. Melissa worked as a student researcher for this project.
- The Girl Games Prototype CD-ROM project, which the National Science Foundation is currently considering for funding. Melissa helped to design this project and, if it is funded, will use her expertise in sociology and gender studies to serve as Testing and Evaluation Specialist. She also plans to apply the results from this project to an Honors Research project of her own.
Outside of Rice, Melissa teaches Hebrew to second-year students at the Beth Israel Hebrew School in Houston and has served as a policy analysis intern in Senator J. Bennett Johnston's office in her home state of Louisiana. She is the recipient of numerous scholarships and has spent a year abroad studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.
- "Ethical Considerations in Gender-Oriented Entertainment Technology," which appeared in the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) student magazine Crossroads.
- "Girls Designing Games for Girls," a $30,000 proposal submitted to the National Science Foundation. If funded, this project will allow middle school girls to work with multimedia experts to design prototypes of the ideal interactive software for girls. This could dramatically reshape the interactive software that computer companies produce for girls.
- "Using Girls' Preferences to Design Software: Insights from a Focus Group," a report summarizing the findings from the Girl Games 1995 Summer Research Project (see above).
With all of her contributions to the university and the community in the field of women's studies, Melissa is clearly an excellent nominee for this award, and it is my pleasure to nominate her.
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Posted February 12, 1996.