Three faculty members awarded for research aimed to enrich community awareness of a variety of issues

September 27, 2023

An exterior shot of the M&T Bank Arena on Quinnipiac's York Hill Campus

Outstanding faculty members at Quinnipiac have recently been recognized for their research on topics that will benefit both local and larger communities through the 2023-2024 M&T Bank Center for Women and Business research award program.

Ruby Elkharboutly, associate professor of software engineering, uses her research to promote a sense of community among women in computing through a variety of initiatives, such as peer mentorship and encouraging participation in events like WeCode and Grace Hopper.

Grace Hopper and WeCode are both conferences focused on Women in computer science and computing. Both conferences include keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, and chances for networking.

“I seek to build a vibrant community of learners in which younger school-age female students are mentored and supported by older Quinnipiac students in the Girls Who Code club and I am committed to nurturing and sustaining this community,” said ElKharboutly.

She expanded on the goals and intentions of the center at Quinnipiac.

“The mission of the M&T Bank Center of Women and Business, which centers around creating a community that aligns with women's personal values and aspirations, perfectly resonates with my passion and commitment to establishing a community of female computing students through mentorship," said ElKharboutly. "Receiving this award will enable me to continue my role as an adviser for the Girls Who Code club and support my research on the impact of mentoring and peer support among female students in enhancing their sense of belonging in computing fields. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all committee members for choosing me as the recipient of this award.”

ElKharboutly offered advice to women pursuing their studies in the computing field.“My advice to all young female computing students is not to let self-doubt creep in and prevent their advance,” she said. “Have the confidence and prevalence to keep going in your studies and don’t give up.”

Katie Place, professor of public relations, focuses her research on the importance of organizational listening within the communications field.

“Being selected for a M&T Bank Center for Women and Business research award means the world to me,” said Place. “It supports my ability to research the intersection of organizational listening and leadership and to develop new methods for more respectful and ethical listening in our business communities.”

Place explained her hope for the research she has conducted. “I hope this research will offer richer insights for how organizations can successfully and ethically engage in organizational listening, particularly to marginalized communities,” she said.

According to Place, her research findings tie into her class material and curriculum as well.

“In the public relations campaigns class, we are doing service-learning work for Hartford Housing Authority,” said Place. “I will be drawing upon my ethical and intersectional listening research for that class, in particular. In 2024, I’ll be offering a one-credit Micro Course Initiative course on listening co-taught with Professor J.T. Torres, which will draw upon our research.”

Elena Bertozzi, professor of game design & development, centers her research around collaborating with a team to develop a video game that aids couples in selecting the method of birth control that will be most suitable for their particular situation and way of life.

Bertozzi outlined the core focus of her research.

“We seek to help couples with effective family planning to reduce unplanned pregnancies and help them achieve their desired family size and spacing,” said Bertozzi.

Her research incorporates points of gender, sexuality and technology along with her core focus of informing others about their birth control choices.

All three award recipients are thrilled and honored to be able to delve into their various topics of research and make a difference in all sorts of communities.

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