June 23, 2010

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

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and Microsoft Research have announced the winners of the NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund.

The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund awards U.S. colleges and universities with start-up funding 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 more than $265,000.

“We’re so pleased to partner with NCWIT in fostering innovation in higher education,” said Jane Chu Prey, Program Manager of External Research and Programs at Microsoft Research. “These winning academic institutions are helping us strengthen the technology workforce by generating pioneering programs that increase the number of women.”

Following are the three winners:

Brown University: "Extending, Expanding, and Evaluating the Artemis Program"

Brown University will use its $15,000 award to extend the Artemis Program (a summer computing camp for ninth-grade girls, run by undergraduate women from Brown University) to create community-use projects and reach students in the greater Boston area.

SUNY at Albany:"Social Robotics Outreach"

The University at Albany’s Social Robotics Outreach initiative ($15,000) will use social robotics to deploy hands-on workshops that teach K-12 girls fundamental problem-solving and programming skills.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute: "Professional Development & Networking Workshop for High School Teachers of Computer Science"

In coordination with the Computer Science Teachers Association, Virginia Tech will use its $15,000 award to sponsor summer workshops that provide local K-12 computing teachers with tools and curricula to strengthen the pipeline of computing students.

The NCWIT Academic Alliance brings together representatives from computer science and IT departments at colleges and universities across the country 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 how to become an Academic Alliance member, visit


NCWIT is a national coalition of over 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to strengthen the computing workforce and foster technology innovation by increasing the participation of women. NCWIT connects efforts to increase women’s participation in IT along the entire pipeline, from K-12 and higher education through industry, academic, and entrepreneurial careers. Find out more at