Technology and Sexuality, Academic Award Nominations and Proposals, Advice from Women in Tech, Mirroring and Unconscious Bias, NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

Technology and Sexuality

NCWIT Senior Social Scientist Dr. Catherine Ashcraft recently published an article in ‘Learning, Media, and Technology’ entitled “Technology and Sexuality - What’s the Connection?” In the article, Ashcraft argued that those of us interested in increasing girls’ participation in computing need to pay more attention to youth sexualities. She noted, “we often talk about making computing relevant for girls, yet these programs rarely consider addressing sexuality issues – perhaps one of the most relevant topics for youth.” She explored how this results in at least two potential problems. “First, we remain unaware of significant ways sexuality may be thwarting our efforts to increase girls’ participation in technology and how we might improve these efforts. Second, we remain oblivious to how we might use girls’ interest in sexuality as a potentially powerful resource for fostering their interest in computing.”

In addition to this article, NCWIT has a number of resources related to sparking girls’ interest in technology including, “Top 10 Ways to Increase Girls’ Participation in Computing Competitions.”

Now Accepting Award Nominations and Proposals

Thanks to the continued support from several sponsors, the Academic Alliance (AA) is pleased to announce the call for nominations and proposals for the latest round of awards. Below you’ll find submission details:

Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award - Nomination Deadline: 10/19/2014

Do you mentor undergraduates in research? Do you know someone who does? Then, we encourage you to nominate faculty members at non-profit, U.S. institutions 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. Thanks to sponsor AT&T, each institution will receive a $5,000 gift that the winner can use for research. Submit a nomination, or find out more information at www.ncwit.org/urmaward.

Student Seed Fund - Proposal and Advisor’s Letter of Recommendation Deadline: 10/26/2014

Is there a student-run women in computing group on your non-profit, U.S. campus that could use funding to support their efforts? We’re now accepting proposals from groups who provide outreach, mentoring, peer support, training, and professional development opportunities that promote participation of women in computing and IT. The NCWIT Academic Alliance has partnered with Symantec to award $1,000 to each winner’s institution in January 2015 to be used during the Spring 2015 semester. Be sure to pass this opportunity along to groups on your campus. Submit a proposal, or find out more information at www.ncwit.org/studentseedfund.

NCWIT Seed Fund - Proposal and Dean/Chair Letter of Recommendation Deadline: 11/02/2014

The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund awards non-profit, U.S. university members of NCWIT's AA with startup funds to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting women and underrepresented populations in computing and IT. To date, sponsor Microsoft Research has awarded more than $465,000 to AA member organizations and will award up to $10,000 per project for the next round of recipients. Submit a proposal, or find out more information at www.ncwit.org/seedfund.

NCWIT Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award - Nomination Deadline: 11/03/2014

Do you know someone who has combined outstanding research accomplishments with excellence in graduate mentoring? Has he or she served as an advocate for recruiting, encouraging, and promoting women and minorities in computing fields? If so, be certain to nominate that person for this award, sponsored by NCWIT’s Board of Directors. Each winner will receive $5,000 as a gift for the winner’s institution. Submit a nomination, or find out more information at www.ncwit.org/harroldnotkin.

Advice from Women in Tech

In a recent Fast Company article, Samantha Cole identified five women in tech and asked them to share the best and worst advice they had ever received regarding their careers. Bo Ren, product manager at Facebook, reiterated advice from her mentor who encouraged her to “be ready for anything.” She used an example of unexpectedly meeting a stranger who “happens to be able to connect you with the investor of your dreams.” On the other end of the spectrum, Cole wrote, “The worst advice Tara Syed Williams, business analyst at Pinterest, has ever heard? ‘Just wait.’" Williams explained, “Great opportunities come to those who do more than what is asked of them.”

NCWIT’s “Top 10 Ways to Give Employees More Effective Feedback Using a Growth Mindset” is a great resource related to this article. Giving employees feedback that they can realistically use is essential to their ability to increase their learning and improve their performance.

Do you have advice that has made an impact on your or someone you mentor? Tweet it to @NCWIT using #techadvice.

Mirroring and Unconscious Bias

In a recent Mercury News article, Michelle Quinn raised some important questions regarding the trend of tech companies releasing their diversity data. She asked, “Do the similar profiles at each firm mean that no one company is actively discriminating against a certain group?” Quinn argued that it is not “overt discrimination” but rather unconscious bias that contributes to the lack of diversity. She wrote, “And what often happens, diversity experts say, is what's called "mirroring" -- companies started by white men tend to hire and promote people who look and act like themselves -- meaning more white men.” Have you checked out the “NCWIT Checklist for Reducing Unconscious Bias in Job Descriptions/Advertisements”? This tool can help you analyze job ads for subtle biases in language and criteria, and could be useful in crafting recruiting language for board members as well.

NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

Applications open for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing on September 15, and any U.S. high school woman with computing aspirations is eligible to apply. This multi-tiered award includes recognition at the national level (sponsored by Bank of America) and at the local level (sponsored by Microsoft).

Each award recipient receives recognition at an award event, scholarship and internship opportunities, access to a national network of technical young women, and other various prizes — computing resources, gadgets, sponsor swag, engraved awards and certificates, and more. Additionally, National Award recipients receive $500, a laptop, and a trip to attend the Bank of America Technology Showcase and Awards Ceremony on March 7, 2015.

Did you know that educators play a significant role in connecting young women to this award? More than 65% of applicants report learning about the Aspirations Award from a teacher or other educator. Tell young women to get started by registering online. For detailed application information, please take a look at the how-to guide and FAQ webpage.

Are you in the loop? Check out this inspiring video by Aspirations alumna Allison Collier encouraging girls to apply, and read our Aspirations Blog for impressive stories about participants. You can also follow @NCWITAIC and Aspirations on Facebook for news and updates about the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to get involved, and to help us spread the word.