News on the Radar: 9/30/20


Here is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT's radar recently and which we think will be of interest to you. The practices or content of the news gathered (while not endorsed or vetted by NCWIT) is meant to spark new conversations and ideas surrounding the current diversity statistics and trends in the tech workforce. We encourage you to add your two cents on this month's topics in the comments below.

Did you know that award nominations and Seed Fund applications are open?

NCWIT aspires to acknowledge individuals whose influence have inspired women to persist in computing, and institutions for their excellence in recruiting and retaining women in computing education.

  • NCWIT Mentoring Award for Undergraduate Research – Nomination Deadline: 10/19/2020
    Great mentors are important—tell us who they are! Nominate an outstanding undergraduate research mentor whose efforts have encouraged and advanced undergraduates in computing-related fields. The winners of each institution will receive a $5,000 gift to support the recipient’s research. Read more about it and submit a nomination. Self-nominations are perfectly acceptable as well as nominations from students.
  • NCWIT Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award – Package Submission Deadline: 10/19/2020
    Do you know someone who has combined outstanding research accomplishments with excellence in graduate mentoring? Have they served as an advocate for recruiting, encouraging, and promoting women and minorities in computing fields? What better way to show them than to submit nomination materials on their behalf? Read the details of what information you’ll need to gather and then submit their nomination materials on their behalf. 
  • NCWIT Seed Fund – Proposal Deadline: 11/2/2020
    We have increased the award amount to $20,000 and are excited to share we have a new focus for the Seed Fund grant and all non-profit, U.S. (including U.S. territories) institutions in the NCWIT Academic Alliance are eligible to apply. We are seeking proposals for developing and implementing online initiatives, including instruction, advising, recruiting, mentoring, tutoring, community building, or other online techniques to support diversity in your computing program (undergraduate- and/or graduate-level). We welcome applications from all types of institutions, including community colleges, minority-serving institutions, undergraduate-only institutions, and research institutions.  Intrigued? Read all about the call for proposals and submit your winning proposal.

Did you know that TECHNOLOchicas offers resources to support Latinas who are pursuing interests in computing?

In a recent article for the journal Communications of the ACM, NCWIT Senior Research Scientist JeffriAnne Wilder and NCWIT K-12 Alliance and TECHNOLOchicas Director Jannie Fernandez discussed the importance of programs designed to support Latinas in exploring their interests in computing. As Wilder and Fernandez pointed out, “Eighteen percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic and Latinx, yet currently only 1 percent of the jobs in the computing workforce are occupied by Latinas... Latina girls and women in the U.S. are avid users of technology, but they are significantly underrepresented in its creation.” 

Through research-based resources, inspirational videos, and interactions with real-life Latinas in technical fields who can serve as role models, the TECHNOLOchicas program helps Latina students and young adults see themselves in computing. As Wilder and Fernandez explain, “Providing exposure to computing fields through a shared cultural lens helps students create a computing identity at a young age and helps them persist.”

To learn more about the TECHNOLOchicas program, meet the TECHNOLOchicas Ambassadors, and find out how you can get involved, visit technolochicas.org. Educators and families who want to help young people explore career options in the tech field can also access a Spanish-language version of the NCWIT resource, Why Should Young People Consider Careers in Computing and Information Technology?

Did you know that working from home creates both obstacles and opportunities for inclusion efforts?

A recent New York Times article explored the range of impacts that working from home may have on employees of color, and on diversity efforts in general. The article noted that “[a]s a result of the coronavirus pandemic, 27 percent of companies put diversity and inclusion efforts on hold, according to a survey by the Institute for Corporate Productivity.” Kimberly Bryant, founder of NCWIT K-12 Alliance Member Black Girls Code, reflected on the loss of “spontaneous encounters with other people of color around the office that gave her a sense of belonging as she forged a career as an engineer.” Others pointed to the unique opportunities to advance inclusion efforts that come with the shift to remote work, such as the chance to form affinity groups with co-workers in different locations who share similar backgrounds and experiences. 

NCWIT Research Scientists Brad McLain and Catherine Ashcraft offered several ways to strengthen support for diverse team members in the blog post, “Building More Inclusive Cultures At Work While We’re At Home.” As the authors explain, if individuals and organizations can proactively attend to the specific ways the pandemic is impacting different demographic groups, “this can be an opportunity for our cultural norms and values to respond for the better… towards creating more inclusive cultures, now and in the future.”