September 11, 2009

$45,000 Awarded to Pilot Programs That Encourage Participation of Women

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced the Round 5 winners of the NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund.

The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund provides U.S. academic institutions with start-up funds to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting and retaining women in computer science and information technology fields of study. The Seed Fund was initiated in 2007 with funding from Microsoft Research and to-date has awarded $220,450 in grants.
Following are the three Round 5 winners:
  • The University of Pennsylvania will receive $15,000 to support "Guidance Counselor and Teacher Computer Science Day," which will bring high school guidance counselors and teachers to the Penn campus for a day-long workshop on how to become better recruiters for women`s participation in computer science. Counselors and teachers will learn how to talk about the CS field, what admissions officers look for, and ways to identify and encourage student interest.
  • The University of Texas Pan-American (UTPA) award for $15,000 will redesign an intro to computing course to make it more accessible to women and underrepresented groups. The "Dancing Robots Introduction to Computer Science" course will give UTPA students, 85 percent of whom are Hispanic, the chance to work with LEGO Mindstorms robots while learning programming concepts, teamwork, and computing in the context of real-world problems.
  • Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) will use its $15,000 award to produce "I Can Do IT!", a roadshow designed to engage elementary and middle school girls with hands-on activities including programming, wireless technology, and website development. The WCTC roadshow will employ mentoring and demonstrations from 50-60 WCTC technology students to target hundreds of middle-school girls through the Southeastern Wisconsin Girl Scouts council.
NCWIT is a national coalition of over 170 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to strengthen the computing workforce and cultivate technology innovation by increasing the participation of women. NCWIT`s work connects efforts to increase women`s participation in technology along the entire pipeline, from K-12 and higher education through industry, academic, and entrepreneurial careers.
The NCWIT Academic Alliance brings together more than 80 representatives from computer science and IT departments at colleges and universities across the country - spanning research universities, community colleges, women`s colleges, and minority-serving institutions - to work towards gender equity, diversity, and institutional change in computing higher education. For more information about the Seed Fund program, including proposal requirements and date of the next funding round, visit