National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Selected to Strengthen National K-16 Stem Education and Outreach

NCWIT

$75M Department of Defense initiative will fund more than a dozen organizations.

The U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) recently-launched Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC) will strengthen kindergarten through college STEM education and outreach programs across the United States.

The DSEC initially includes 15 organizations led on behalf of the DoD STEM office by RTI International under the direction of Dr. Angela Quick. The multi-year, $75 million effort includes elements focused on STEM enrichment programs for students and educators, STEM workforce engagement, program evaluation, and public outreach (www.dodstem.us).

“The U.S. needs a diverse pipeline of highly qualified STEM talent to meet future workforce demands and remain a global leader in technological innovation. Providing students with a strong K-16 STEM education is the first step,” said Quick, the DSEC consortium chair and director of RTI’s Center for Education Services. “We are thrilled to work with this group of partners to increase STEM engagement and improve outcomes for students pursuing STEM careers.”

Aligned to the DoD STEM strategic plan, DSEC will focus on five fundamentals: 1) longitudinal student engagement across the K-16 continuum, 2) outreach to students traditionally underrepresented in STEM professions, 3) military workforce engagement with a focus on DoD research laboratories, 4) use of the network’s collaboration structure to amplify the impact of each program, and 5) data-based improvement driven by evaluation.

As a part of DSEC, NCWIT will provide coding camps concentrating around the three target regional hub areas: San Diego, Baltimore/DC/Virginia, and Dayton. Support includes NCWIT AspireIT coding camps and specific outreach to U.S. military bases overseas through NCWIT Aspirations in Computing—a program providing technical girls and women with ongoing engagement, visibility, and encouragement for their computing-related interests and achievements from high school through college and into the workforce (www.aspirations.org).

“NCWIT AspireIT encourages K-12 girls to contribute their unique perspectives and ideas to future innovations,” said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. “Since 2013, more than 9,500 girls have received an estimated 295,000 instruction hours through 436 AspireIT programs in 43 states; and, we are honored to align our expansion efforts of this program with DSEC goals.”

The DSEC network includes the following organizations:

About NCWIT and Aspirations in Computing

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of nearly 1,100 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase girls’ and women’s meaningful participation in computing. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers. Find out more at www.ncwit.org.

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) provides technical girls and women with ongoing engagement, visibility, and encouragement for their computing-related interests and achievements from high school through college and into the workforce. AiC reaches all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and all U.S. military bases overseas. As part of AiC’s efforts to identify and honor technical women, the NCWIT Award for AiC recognizes women in grades 9 through 12 who are active and interested in computing, and encourages them to pursue their passions. These women are inducted into the AiC Community, which provides ongoing support and encouragement to more than 11,500 technical women, resulting in long-term impact on women’s participation in computing. Find out more at www.aspirations.org.