BS, Ithaca College; MS, Rochester Institute of Technology; Ph.D., University at Buffalo
Sharon Mason is a Professor in the School of Information at RIT where she has served on the faculty since 1997. Dr. Mason’s work focuses on the promotion of student and faculty success, particularly minoritized and marginalized populations in STEM. Her research focuses on faculty enactment of problem solving and collaborative learning in the classroom and lab environment.
Dr. Mason is currently the PI for a $1 million dollar National Science Foundation S-STEM grant titled, “ENGAgE: College of Computing Scholars, ENhancing Academic Growth-mindset Academic Experiences.” This project uses a multi-pronged growth-mindset approach infused throughout existing curricular and career support structures to increase the number of academically talented, low-income computing students. Previous work on growth mindset in computing education will be extended by broadening the approach beyond a single classroom intervention to a multi-faceted approach that addresses both academic success and career success for students as they prepare for graduation and entry to the workforce.
Previously, Mason was a co-PI on the $3.2 million NSF grant from the project “CONNECT: Increasing the Representation and Advancement of Women Faculty at RIT.” This was an effort across RIT’s nine colleges to increase the representation and advancement of women STEM/SBS faculty. The project aimed to (1) refine and strengthen targeted institutional structures, (2) improve the quality of women faculty’s work life, (3) align institutional, administrative, and informal systems of power and resources to support and sustain progress towards the project goal (4) enhance the working environment and support career advancement for women faculty and (5) establish a sustainable, inclusive, accessible RIT network supporting career goals for all RIT faculty.
Locally, Dr. Mason served as the founding director of RIT’s Women in Computing (WIC). In this role, Mason cultivated programs for the support and retention of women students, faculty and staff in the college and outreach to K-12 women in the community. Regionally, Mason co-chaired the New York Regional Women in Computing Conference prior to serving on the advisory board. Nationally, Mason co-chaired the Academic Alliance Committee as part of the Executive Committee for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). She also served as a seed fund reviewer for NCWIT and worked with NCWIT researchers to provide a series of recommendations for improving recruitment and retention efforts based on an assessment of GCCIS programs.
Additionally, Dr. Mason served as the PI of for the Department of Defense (DoD) Information Assurance Scholarship Program (IASP) awards to RIT, totaling over $800,000. These scholarships enabled students to study and do research in graduate programs in security, forensics and information assurance.
Dr. Mason also served for five years as the GCCIS Faculty Associate for Student Scholarships, Issues and Advising. She was responsible for distributing student scholarship dollars and managing all student issues, including grievances, grade appeals and student-faculty conflict situations.
Mason has presented on numerous panels at the local, regional and national levels, reaching out to female students, parents, teachers and guidance counselors interested in technical careers.