Academic Alliance Projects

Aspirations in Computing Talent Development Initiative

Aspirations in Computing is a talent development initiative designed to increase female participation in technology careers by providing encouragement, visibility, community, leadership opportunities, scholarships, and internships to aspiring technically inclined young women.  Since 2007, NCWIT has inducted more than 2,500 young women into the Aspirations in Computing community and is helping to usher these women into technology careers.

Applications are open for the Award for Aspirations in Computing and the Aspirations in Computing Educator Award! Apply at

AspireIT Middle School Outreach Program

AspireIT is a middle school outreach program that matches NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recipients with participating not for profit  Academic Alliance, K-12 Alliance or Affinity Group Alliance members to create and run computing-related outreach programs for middle school girls — such as after-school programs, summer camps, clubs, or weekend conferences. Inspired by the desire of young women in computing to "pay it forward," AspireIT aims to employ a "near-peer" approach that provides middle school girls with a positive, sustained experience of learning and creating computing alongside their peers in high school and college. AspireIT is supported by Google, Intel, and Northrop Grumman. 

Best Practices in Undergraduate Research Project Team

The Best Practices in Undergraduate Research project is focused on identifying and sharing best practices in undergraduate research. Best Practices in Undergraduate Research is a collaborative project of the CRA committee on Education (CRA-E) that includes representatives from the NCWIT AA, the CRA Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W), and the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC). The team is working with the CRA CERP (Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline: to identify best practices for conducting undergraduate research (both individual and group) in computing and impacts such programs have on their participants. In order to share best practices, the team is developing a website for faculty research mentors that offer advice and resources on running an undergraduate research program, funding opportunities to support undergraduate research, and other related items.

Community College Outreach Project Team

The Community College Outreach Project Team is working to invite more community colleges into the NCWIT Academic Alliance and understand how we can best support them. This team is an excellent opportunity to work on broadening participation at this often-overlooked stage in the national IT pipeline. The Community College Outreach Project Team has gathered a lot of information about the issues facing 2-year institutions and learned the common issues involved, such as budget constraints and student retention. To provide meaningful, accessible participation opportunities for community college Academic Alliance members, the Community College Outreach Project Team is busy making plans to move forward on the most requested resources.

Creating and Supporting Student Organizations that Promote Women in Computing (CSSO) Project Team

Student women-in-computing (WIC) organizations reduce feelings of isolation among women students and increase their confidence and enjoyment in their studies.  But establishing and sustaining a WIC student group can be challenging. The Creating and Supporting Student Organization Project Team's mission is to provide guidance to organizers of WIC student groups and help institutions assist their students to form student organizations in computing that create more supportive environments for women students in computing fields. Last fall the team conducted a survey to gather information from existing WIC groups. Responding to feedback from this survey and breakout sessions at the 2012 NCWIT Summit, the CSSO team is working with NCWIT to create two resources.

Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs

The goal of NCWIT Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs is to furnish change agents with evidence-based resources for recruiting and retaining women. We advocate changing the system, not the women (read about Systemic Change.) Resources for accomplishing reform can be found here. The National Science Foundation has generously funded the development of these resources.

NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund

The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund awards NCWIT's Academic Alliance members at non-profit, U.S. institutions with start-up funds (up to $10,000 per project) to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting or retaining women in computing and IT. To date, 39 member organizations have received a total of $465,450 over the first ten rounds. We thank Microsoft Research for their support of the Seed Fund.

NCWIT Academic Alliance Webinar Series

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The NCWIT Academic Alliance created five webinars that we hope you find useful. Below is a short explanation of each webinar.

NCWIT Extension Services Client Recognition Awards

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NCWIT’s Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs (ES-UP) provides customized consultation to academic departments to help them improve their strategic recruitment and retention of women students in their majors. To date, ES-UP has worked with departments of computing and engineering in over 40 universities and colleges.

NCWIT Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award

The NCWIT Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award is given in memory of Mary Jean Harrold and David Notkin, in honor of their outstanding research, graduate mentoring, and diversity contributions. The award recognizes faculty members from non-profit, U.S. institutions who combine outstanding research accomplishments with excellence in graduate mentoring, as well as those who advocate for recruiting, encouraging, and promoting women and minorities in computing fields.