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Technology too often has a culture of invisibility, otherness, self-doubt, and closed doors. Our Aspirations in Computing (AiC) program’s exclusive awards, scholarships, internships, and community turn barriers into possibilities by building women’s leadership, technical, and entrepreneurial skills. High school students can participate in the annual local awards program and college students studying computing can join the Community directly. Faculty and employees can volunteer, and businesses can offer internships and jobs.
The Community College Involvement Project Team is working to include 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 Involvement Project Team has gathered information about the issues facing 2-year institutions and learned the common issues involved, such as budget constraints and student retention.
Foster diversity in introductory computer science courses with quality content and engaging pedagogy. Many things influence whether a student chooses to continue to study computer science. A key factor is being exposed to engaging curriculum that is both relevant and meaningful to a student’s life. And the first year courses are some of the most important since they establish a student’s attitudes toward the field and influence whether they will choose CS as a major. Find vetted course materials on EngageCSEdu.
The NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) Engagement Team is responsible for reaching out to potential new members. Currently the Academic Alliance comprises more than 2,300 representatives from more than 550 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.
Extension Services (ES) consultants help academic computing departments build consensus and action from the inside out—customized practices for reimagining strategic recruitment, retention, and evaluation that change what’s possible and create a momentum of enthusiasm for long-term change.
In partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NCWIT, CRA has launched BPCnet.org, a resource portal designed to amplify the NSF CISE Directorate’s efforts in broadening participation in computing (BPC).
Since 2011, the NCWIT Student Seed Fund has invested $316,250 in more than 157 student-run programs for women in computing at AA member institutions nationwide. Programs have included programming workshops, tech summits, peer mentoring and support, professional training, after-school programs, and the creation of multimedia materials — all aimed at increasing recruitment and retention of women and other underrepresented groups in computing.
Postsecondary institutions looking to develop initiatives to recruit and retain women in computing can apply for funding through the NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund It provides start-up funds (up to $10,000 per project) for institutions looking to make lasting change in their communities for women interested in tech.