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 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 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.
NCWIT’s Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs (ES-UP) provides customized consultation to academic departments to help improve their strategic recruitment and retention of women students in their majors. To recognize the achievements of these outstanding departments, NCWIT has established the NCWIT Extension Services Transformation (NEXT) Awards. These awards are funded by Google.