NCWIT AspireIT Program Brings Girls Into Tech During Critical Middle School Years
August 7, 2013
Pilot initiative supports high school and college young women to teach middle school girls how to code, encourages young women in tech careers
Boulder, CO (NCWIT) August 7, 2013 – The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has launched a new pilot program, NCWIT AspireIT, that addresses the lack of women in technology by actively engaging middle school girls with computing. NCWIT AspireIT pairs female high school and college computing students with local colleges and K-12 education non-profits to create and run technology outreach programs for middle school girls. NCWIT AspireIT is supported by Intel, Northrop Grumman, and Google.
In its 2013-2014 pilot year, NCWIT AspireIT will grant more than $100,000 to 24 programs -- including summer camps, after-school programs, clubs, and weekend workshops -- providing more than 25,000 instruction hours to more than 800 girls in 15 states. At full scale, NCWIT AspireIT is on-track to serve more than 8,000 middle school girls per year, providing high-quality, inspiring, computing education and outreach with long-term impact.
"The participation of women in tech is so dismal, and the situation so dire, that we need a big, bold approach that can scale to the tens of thousands, quickly,” said Ruthe Farmer, NCWIT Director of Strategic Initiatives. “NCWIT AspireIT has the potential to effectively double the number of girls taking high school technology courses in just a few years.”
NCWIT AspireIT capitalizes on a "near-peer" approach, giving middle school girls a hands-on, inspiring introduction to technology from young women just a few years ahead of them in the pipeline. AspireIT participants also join the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Talent Development Initiative, which supports young women through each of the critical transitions along the pathway to a career in technology: from middle to high school, high school to college, college to internships or graduate school, and into the technology workforce.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 450 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT helps organizations more effectively recruit, retain, and advance girls and women in K-12 through college education, and from academic to corporate and startup careers. Find out more at http://www.ncwit.org.