Living Outside the Box

  • Rose Shumba portrait

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    Thinking, learning, living life outside the box. It’s about constantly breaking through barriers. Redefining intellectual and disciplinary boundaries. Shattering social and cultural stereotypes. Stepping beyond geographical and linguistic borders. At IUP, you’ll meet professors with diverse interests, from around the world and from a variety of social and cultural backgrounds. And you’ll quickly discover what they have in common: not just a passion for teaching but an extraordinary commitment to living life outside the box.  

    Born and raised in Zimbabwe in south-central Africa, Dr. Rose Shumba is used to breaking through boundaries, whether they are geographical, intellectual, social, or cultural. In fact, even her decision to pursue computer science was born of a desire to challenge existing gender stereotypes. “I was registered for a program in agricultural economics but wasn’t really enjoying it much,” she recalled. “And then I discovered that a high school friend of mine was the only female student enrolled in the computer science program at the University of Zimbabwe that year. She wanted me to join her so she wouldn’t be the only woman in her class. Neither of us really knew what computer science was all about. We had never even seen a computer before!”

    It would prove to be the beginning of a truly extraordinary journey. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Dr. Shumba began a successful career as a software engineer with NCR Corporation, a leading global technology company. But her passion for an academic career soon won her a prestigious British Council Scholarship toward graduate study in the U.K. After earning a Ph.D. in computer science, Dr. Shumba returned to the University of Zimbabwe to teach, eventually becoming head of the computer science department. After a brief appointment as a visiting professor at Hope College in Michigan, Dr. Shumba decided to join IUP as an associate professor in 2002.

    “Information security education, software engineering and security, gender and computer science…I have a wide range of research interests,” said Dr. Shumba. “But I also love teaching and working with students. This is exactly why IUP is such a good fit for me. Here, I have found opportunities to collaborate extensively with other researchers across the U.S. and beyond, to present papers at innumerable conferences, to publish several articles in prestigious refereed journals. This is a place where students can expect to learn from professors who have received national research grants, who attend national and international conferences, and, most important of all, who use their research to inform their teaching.”

    Rose Shumba with studentsDr. Shumba also continues to remain passionate about promoting gender equality in her field. Her numerous initiatives to attract, retain, and strengthen professional and personal bonds between female students at IUP include:

    • Founding a Big Sister-Little Sister mentorship program within the Computer Science Department that pairs freshman female students with seniors or juniors.
    • Applying for, and receiving, ACM CREU (Association for Computing Machinery Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates in Computer Science and Engineering) grants toward initiating a female undergraduate student research group.
    • Making a special effort to mentor female students and enable them to participate actively in nationally acclaimed conferences across the nation, including one of ACM’s most prestigious events for women, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
    • Classes offered at IUP are led by fully qualified faculty. Even the facilities on campus are intentionally designed to encourage students and faculty to collaborate and share experiences with one another.