Bardha Maloku ’18 is a senior in Khiyah House, majoring in computer science and technology with minors in business administration and mathematics. She is a smart, determined woman who wants to help other women reach their goals — to slap the stereotypes that keep them out of the computer science field and claim the success that comes from the world of technology.
Bardha knows the benefits from experiential learning and has four internships racked up already. Her freshman year, she interned with McClain Enterprises, working with their businesses on the Independence Square. “It helped me so very much — opened my eyes to the business field. The second year I interned with Smith and Associates in Houston in computer science, programming for seven weeks, and then I worked again for the McClains. It made the summer go so fast!”
Twice for the McClain Enterprise business internship in Independence and twice with Smith and Associates computer science internship in Houston, Bardha said every experience was different. She worked on different projects with different people, and each internship had its own challenges. “They welcomed us, offered housing, paid us well and taught us so much. The connections we made are really wonderful. I was awarded the Ackerley Scholarship as well, and I am so grateful.”
An ambitious advocate for women, Bardha is determined and making the best of her time on campus. There are not as many women in the computer science field, and she is set on helping other women claim their talents and recognize that computer science and math are where more women should focus their attentions. She has reinvigorated the ACMW (Association of Computing Machinery for Women). The club used to exist but died out due to a lack of membership, and Bardha has reorganized it on the Lamoni campus.
“The club is very welcoming for women who are majoring in computer science, or minoring, or just want to be friends and want to know more about the field. We now have 10 women in the club. It is a hard field that has been dominated by males, so the pressure as a female can be difficult.”
The club meets every week. They support each other and have fun too. “As a senior, I know how hard it is — I’ve been in those classes, and I want them to know that I’m there for them and will encourage and help them.”
Club members will attend a conference in Kansas City this fall called MINK WIC (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas Women in Computing.) The faculty advisor, Kevin Brunner, has coordinated the registration and lodging, and they are sponsored by the Ackerley Foundation with all expenses covered. Bardha and the Graceland ACMW will network with successful computer science women from all over the Midwest. “It is such a great opportunity for us!”
Bardha shared that the best thing about Graceland is the people — the community. “Since I am an international student, I don’t have anyone here except my little brother — the youngest of the Malokus. Graceland has become our new home, and we have so many host families who have opened their homes. Faculty too – they are there for us. We get to talk with them, and they really care about us; they want us to succeed in life.”
“Bardha is a quiet and reserved young lady. But don’t let that fool you, because she has a deep desire to succeed and do her best. She took the initiative to apply for a Grace Hopper conference scholarship. She won the scholarship and attended an inspiring event. She leads with a quiet strength.”
– Kevin Brunner, PhD
Professor of Information Technology