Aspirations in Computing is a talent development initiative of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT). The program increases women’s 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 this unique community.
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 Seed Fund awards members of NCWIT's Academic Alliance 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, 34 member organizations have received a total of $415,450 over the first nine rounds. We thank Microsoft Research for their support of the Seed Fund.
The NCWIT Student Seed Fund, sponsored by Symantec, has awarded $41,750 to 68 student-run programs with funds to recruit, retain, and support women in computing. These groups have provided outreach, mentoring, peer support, training, and professional development opportunities to more than 1,750 elementary middle-school, high-school, undergraduate, and graduate students. We thank Symantec for its support for the Student Seed Fund.
The annual NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award recognizes American Academic Alliance representatives for their outstanding mentorship, high-quality research opportunities, recruitment of women and minority students, and efforts to encourage and advance undergraduates in computing-related fields.
The NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) Recruitment and Engagement Team is responsible for reaching out to potential new members. Currently the Academic Alliance comprises nearly 650 representatives from over 275 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 Sharing Practices Project Team is examining ways to create an online searchable repository for activities and initiatives underway that relate to women in computing but that have not been vetted as an effective practice. The Sharing Practices blog (http://sharingpractices.posterous.com/) is a place for Academic Alliance members to share their good ideas that have not yet graduated to Promising Practice level. Browse the tags for types of initiatives, targeted audience, or intended goals. Submit your promising practice! Follow the blog for daily or weekly updates to practices!