Gargees on Mission to Boost Number of Women in Computer Science

October 08, 2020

Portrait of Rasha Gargees


Computer science is rapidly growing as technology becomes more pervasive in our homes and lives. However, the number of women in computer science programs in the U.S. has dropped since 2000. Mizzou Engineering’s Rasha Gargees is on a mission to change that.

Gargees was selected this year to participate in the University of Missouri’s Preparing Future Faculty  –  Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Program. The program prepares scholars and researchers for tenure-track faculty positions.

“As both a person from a minority group and a woman in computer science, where women are underrepresented, I would like to encourage and inspire other women to pursue careers in computer science,” Gargees said. “I strongly feel that a broader presence of women is needed in the computing fields.”

The PFFFD program is a perfect avenue because it allows her to focus on research and teaching and also provides professional development.

“I love working with computers, and I love research,” she said. “And teaching students is a very rewarding career because we can help future generations develop their skills to participate in that work.”

Setting an Example

Gargees earned a master’s in computer science from the University of Mosul in Iraq. At Mizzou, she earned a second master’s in computer science and completed her PhD this year. In 2019, she earned a 1907 Women in Engineering Award recognizing her significant contributions to Mizzou Engineering. And this year, she was recognized with the Best Presenter Award at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics (IEEE) Communication and Computing Workshop and Conference.

Gargees’ research includes leveraging cloud computing and high-performance distributed systems for big data analytics. She is also interested in extending cloud computing methodologies to edge computational resources. And she has explored big geospatial data analytics, examining high-resolution remote sensing imagery collected by satellites.

Ultimately, she plans to become a tenure-track faculty member, preferably at Mizzou.

“A faculty position will allow me to be a good example for women, support the needed diversity in the computer science community and allow me to play an important role in this fast-growing field,” Gargees said. “I hope to inspire other women and minorities to excel within the field of computer science to help reduce the gender gap and achieve a more diverse environment, especially under increasing demands for computer scientists in the workforce.”