The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women at the high-school level for their computing-related achievements and interests. Awardees are selected for their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing offers both a national and local "affiliate" competitions to generate support and visibility for women's participation in communities nationwide.
The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program is a sweeping national talent development initiative for young women in computing and information technology, from 5th grade through graduate school. The Aspirations program is supported nationally by AT&T, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Northrop Grumman, and Symantec. Find out more at www.aspirations.org.
NCWIT AspireIT – a component of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program – is a national initiative to increase girls' access to meaningful, inclusive computer science education during the middle school years. AspireIT dramatically widens the pool of middle school girls entering high school with computing experience, creates a community of peers engaged in technology exploration, fosters mentoring relationships with technical professionals, and increases girls' confidence in their technical abilities. Simultaneously, AspireIT supports high school and college women's persistence in computing by creating teaching and leadership opportunities.
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: http://cra.org/cerp/) 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.
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.
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.
The NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) Engagement Team is responsible for reaching out to potential new members. Currently the Academic Alliance comprises more than1,000 representatives from over 350 institutions. These institutions include two-year and four-year schools, research universities, community colleges, minority serving institutions (MSIs), and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which offer degree programs ranging from Associate's degrees through PhDs. With the increasing number and diversity of institutional members, this team also focuses on increasing engagement between members. There are two activities that have recently been the focus of the team, increasing engagement and providing more benefits specific to NCWIT members to increase the value of their membership in the Academic Alliance.
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.
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.