July 15, 2008

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced the third-round winners of its Academic Alliance Seed Fund.  Funded by Microsoft, the Seed Fund provides academic departments with start-up funds (up to $15,000 per project) to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting and retaining women in computer science (CS) and information technology.

"The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund is stimulating innovative ways of increasing diversity in computer science," said Sailesh Chutani, Director of the External Research & Programs Group at Microsoft Research. "Microsoft is proud to support it."

Following are the round three award-winning projects:

  • The Emerging Scholars Program  at Columbia University will use its $15,000 award to increase the enrollment of female students in computer science beyond the introductory courses, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of female CS majors.
  • “Are You Smarter than your Fifth Grader?” at Purdue University will receive $15,000 to engage an influential population – parents – with pair programming via six workshops per semester.  The program is open to 24 student-adult pairs and will be offered free of charge.
  • Towson University will implement a Multi-Level Mentoring project that uses intentional role modeling and peer-led team learning to help female undergraduates be successful in their study of computing. The award is $15,000.

The proposal deadline for the next round of seed funding is November 1, 2008.  Academic institutions can apply or find out more at

The NCWIT Academic Alliance includes more than 70 computer science and IT departments across the country — including research universities, community colleges, women's colleges, and minority-serving institutions — dedicated to increasing diversity within their student populations and improving the way computer science is taught.


The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a coalition of over 120 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in information technology (IT). Member organizations include Avaya, Bank of America, Catalyst, Cisco, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Georgia Tech, Google, Harvard, HP, Intel, IBM, Kauffman Foundation, Lehman Brothers, MIT, Microsoft, Motorola, National Science Foundation, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Illinois UC, Pfizer, Princeton, Qualcomm, Spelman, Stanford, Sun, University of Colorado, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, University of Washington, Wal-Mart, and many more. To find out more visit