NCWIT EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awards

The NCWIT EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awards, funded by Google, recognize faculty who are making a difference in their introductory computer science classrooms through excellent and engaging curriculum, contributing the best of the best to the EngageCSEdu collection.


NCWIT EngageCSEdu is a growing collection of high quality materials for introductory undergraduate computer science courses created by faculty across the country. All of the peer-reviewed materials in the collection employ a number of “engagement practices” that research suggests are likely to engage students, especially women and other underrepresented groups.

We are pleased to announce the 2016 EngageCSEdu Engagement Excellence Awardees!

Awards were presented at the 2016 NCWIT Summit on May 17, 2016.

Each contributor or team of contributors received a $5,000 gift from NCWIT:

  • Elizabeth Boese, Lecturer, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado Boulder, Using Programming to Analyze Real Human DNA Files

    Using diet and DNA sequencing information, this assignment has students explore computing concepts (such as Python dictionaries) in a captivating way. This highly creative project helps students make interdisciplinary connections and see the meaningful contributions that computing makes to real-world problems. The project employs other effective pedagogical techniques, such as pair programming, and engages students at multiple skill levels through interesting extra credit opportunities. All of these practices can help encourage all students, especially women, to persist in computing.
  • Mark LeBlanc, Professor of Computer Science, Department of Math and Computer Science, Wheaton College, Set of Assignments Applying Computational Analyses to Poetry

    In these assignments, students artfully “bend” poetry using programming and algorithmic thinking. By making interdisciplinary connections, this highly creative set of assignments helps students see the relevance of computing to their lives. These practices have been shown to be effective in encouraging all students, especially women, to persist in computing. In addition, the assignments have well-defined learning goals, scaffold students’ problem-solving by breaking down larger tasks into subtasks, and offer flexibility for a variety of instructors and students.

View Previous Winners

Want to become eligible for next year’s award?

Contribute your own engaging resources for introductory computer science courses at To begin, become a member of the EngageCSEdu community by creating an account. For more information about contributing materials or for general EngageCSEdu inquiries, please contact the Content Manager, Stephanie Weber, at


People Involved: 

Beth Quinn

Research Scientist & EngageCSEdu Director

Stephanie Weber, MS STEM

Curriculum Specialist

Terry Morreale

CTO and Associate Director

Aaron Vimont

Technical Project Manager and Webmaster