Elizabeth D. Liddy, School of Information Studies (iSchool) dean, was honored November 3 as one of three trailblazers by the YWCA of Syracuse and Onondaga County. Liddy received the STEM Enrichment Award during the YWCA’s annual Spirit of American Women celebration at Syracuse’s Genesee Grande Hotel.
Liddy, an entrepreneur who founded software startup company TextWise, is an expert in information retrieval, natural language processing, and data mining. She was the founding faculty advisor of Women in Information Technology, a student group that supports and mentors female IT students.
About 200 people attended Spirit of American Women, which supports the YWCA, whose mission is to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen the Syracuse community. YWCA programs include a residence to support women through obstacles, a youth and adolescent program, after-school services at Delaware Academy School, and Girls Inc. at the YWCA.
Girls Inc. is a national organization that provides research-based programs for girls ages 5 to 18 to address math and science education, pregnancy prevention, media literacy, adolescent health, substance abuse prevention and sports participation.
Liddy was praised as one of three role models “who forged their way in the Syracuse community and who forged new pathways for women,” said Joelle Harleston of the YWCA. “They are strong women who are not afraid to tackle real-world issues and work to solve problems of inequality that still exist in today’s society. We are fortunate to have them in our community.”
Also honored were Tatiana Williams, ’16 G’17, a student in Falk College's M.S.W. program, and Rosemary Agonito, a Syracuse writer, entrepreneur and activist who has long advocated for women and girls. The program included brief presentations by a girl who participated in a Girls Inc. summer program on entrepreneurship and a woman who credits YWCA’s women’s residence programs for supporting her sobriety and career growth.
In introducing Liddy, Harleston said the iSchool dean “has truly added value and enterprise in to this area.”
Liddy told the group that she owed her success to the support of many people, including her iSchool colleagues. “This is a field that traditionally was mainly male and is slowly becoming more equal,” she said. “So, go women!”