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Comedian Ashley Gavin Visits STEM Students, Performs at WVU Tech

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With reporting from Rubhi Garcia.

WVU Tech’s Student Activities Board and the Association for Women Engineers, Scientists, or Mathematicians Empowerment (AWESOME) kicked off the semester with a chuckle as they welcomed comedian Ashley Gavin on Tuesday, January 12.

Gavin – a self-described “expert geek” with an engineering background and professional experience developing coding curriculum for organizations like Girls Who Code and All Star Code – visited with student and faculty members of AWESOME to discuss her experience in the field and ways that the organization can reach out to young women interested in studying STEM disciplines.

“She shared a lot of great information on using the creative aspects of a field like computer science for outreach,” said Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph, computer science professor at WVU Tech and faculty advisor to AWESOME. “We were very excited to have her on campus where she served as a powerful role model in the STEM field.”

Dr. Kimberlyn Gray, assistant professor of chemical engineering, said that Gavin’s meeting with the students highlighted the universal value of STEM fields.

“She talked about how that fact that she’s doing comedy does not negate her computer science background – that she uses what she’s learned in a very non-traditional way. She gave them a lot of ideas about how widely a STEM field like computer science is used,” she said.

After her visit with AWESOME, Gavin performed to a packed house in the Tech Center Ballroom, where her unique brand of social commentary and personal humor was a clear hit with the crowd.

Gavin said she enjoys performing on college campuses.

“College for me is an opportunity to get stage time for presence and delivery, and also because I love the kids. For me it’s the first step in becoming an economically productive comedian,” she said.

Student feedback to Gavin’s visit was extremely positive.

“I thought she was really funny and it was very interesting,” shared sophomore Quentin Cooper.

“I enjoyed the show,” said senior student Janet Cunningham. “I really appreciated her style of comedy.”

Gavin’s visit was one of many such events the WVU Tech Student Activities Board has planned for the spring semester. Keep up with the SAB on Facebook, and find out more about Ashley Gavin on her website.