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Since 1923, Zonta International has been “empowering women through service and advocacy,” providing more than $41.2 million through clubs in 63 countries to expand “access to education, health care, economic opportunities and safe living conditions.” This year, Zonta encouraged women to pursue educational, career and leadership opportunities in technology-related fields by offering the inaugural Women in Technology scholarship. The selection process was based on “outstanding potential in the field,” and Informatics Ph.D. student Lucy Pei was one of the recipients.

“It is a tiered competition,” explains Pei. “I won $1,000 from the Newport Harbor club, and my application was then forwarded to the district-level competition.” Pei is now eligible to win a district scholarship of $2,000, with winners being announced next month.

As a scholarship recipient, Pei attended the Newport Harbor chapter meeting last month to talk about her research into technology for social good. “My research looks critically at how technology intervention is framed as being for social good and how harms and extractions are also distributed alongside benefits for marginalized communities,” she explains. “I hope to work with communities to develop ways to engage openly with the downsides of technological intervention while still ensuring the benefits of technology reach a wider audience.” In particular, Pei is interested in how immigrant and resettled refugee communities adopt digital technologies in the context of community literacy centers.

Shani Murray