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.
NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) provides a long-term community for female technologists, from K-12 through higher education and beyond, encouraging persistence in computing through continuous engagement and ongoing encouragement at each pivotal stage of their educational and professional development. Thousands of technically inclined girls and women are offered opportunities to learn through computing-related activities, network at virtual and in-person meetups, receive visibility for technical achievements, and grow leadership and entrepreneurial skills by leading computing outreach programs in their local communities. Additionally, they gain exclusive access to scholarships, internships, and job opportunities. All of these benefits are made possible by NCWIT Alliance Members, AiC peers in the network, and adult influencers who serve as volunteers and mentors. This collective investment is making a considerable and sustainable impact on future technology and innovation by increasing women’s meaningful participation.
The Aspirations program is supported nationally by Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Northrop Grumman, and the Symantec Corporation. AiC serves 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and all U.S. military bases overseas. Find out more at www.aspirations.org.
NCWIT AspireIT connects high school and college women with K-12 girls interested in computing. Using a near-peer model, program leaders teach younger girls fundamentals in programming and computational thinking in fun, creative environments that are supported by program partners from the NCWIT community. The relationship between the program leaders and their program partners fosters mentoring with technical professionals, increases young women’s confidence in their computing abilities, and develops valuable leadership skills.
Applications for NCWIT AspireIT programs are now closed! Applications for the next round of ApireIT (programs occurring between June 15, 2017 and October 14, 2017) will open in the winter.
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 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 Outreach 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.
The NCWIT Academic Alliance (AA) Engagement Team is responsible for reaching out to potential new members. Currently the Academic Alliance comprises more than 1,200 representatives from nearly 400 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.
NCWIT Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs (ES-UP) helps academic departments of computing develop high-impact strategies for recruiting and retaining more women students with advice that is customized to local needs and conditions.
The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund awards NCWIT's Academic Alliance members at non-profit, U.S. institutions (excluding U.S. territories) 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, 47 member organizations have received a total of $545,450 to grow their technology-related outreach program. We thank Microsoft Research for their support of the Seed Fund. In addition, a campus is eligible to win one Seed Fund award; however, a principal investigator may win more than once if they have moved to a different campus.