CEWiT Announces Winners of Outstanding Mentor and Student Leadership Awards

By Sophie Babcock

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

On Feb. 26, during CEWiT’s third annual Techie Women Have More… conference, Carol Rhodes and Liese van Zee were presented with this year’s Staff and Faculty Mentor Awards, and Jess Tompkins won the Student Leadership Award.

Each year, CEWiT asks Indiana University faculty, staff and student affiliates to submit nominations for individuals who have had significant and positive influence on their successes. The mentors and students nominated exemplified leadership skills, encouraged peers and students and serves as staunch advocates for women in technology.

Meet the recipients of this year’s Outstanding Faculty and Staff Mentors and Student Leader:

Carol Rhodes, recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Staff Mentor Award, is the assistant manager for IU’s Information Technology Services IT Training. She provides leadership in the design, development and delivery of campus-wide IT training services and acts as a communications liaison. Nominators described Rhodes as forward thinking and open-minded, an integral support system and an invaluable source of information. Rhodes is planning for retirement and will be missed by the many people she has influenced throughout her career.


Liese van Zee, recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, is an associate professor of astronomy. Her work focuses on star formation history and evolution of dwarf galaxies, as well as the elemental enrichment of spiral and irregular galaxies. She has excelled at mentoring students at all levels. At the undergraduate level, Professor van Zee has mentored more than a dozen students including CEWiT’s freshman research scholars, departmental honors students, Cox Research Scholars and STARS students. Her mentees describe her as an amazing example for young scholars, and a source of positivity and guidance.


Jess Tompkins, recipient of the 2016 Student Leadership Award, is a Ph.D. student in Communications Science with a minor in sociology and the lead intern for WESiT’s Women in Gaming and Game Design Special Interest Group. Her research includes media representations of gender/sex and ethnicity, and social processes and effects of video games. In her role as lead intern for WESiT’s Women in Game Design SIG, Tompkins supervises two student interns. They describe her as “unfailingly upbeat and always looking for ways to bring more diverse voices in to game design.”