A retrospective from NCWIT C4C Program Manager Kelsey Kman
Between April 20-22, 2023, The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) hosted 16 educators from 11 states who engaged in 12 sessions across two days with Counselors for Computing (C4C) Champions in Boulder, Colo., for our Leadership Development Institute, and we are thrilled to share the highlights! C4C’s focus is to broaden participation in computing for K-12 students, and we honed in on strategies to do just that. This year’s event emphasized action planning and engaging students from different backgrounds.
NCWIT Executive Director Terry Hogan kicked the event off by discussing the importance of persistence and how it is a key factor in keeping girls, non-binary, and genderqueer students interested in computing throughout their education and into their careers. This year’s C4C Champions dove into the concept of persistence by analyzing their own computer science course enrollment data and next school year’s course registration. Each participant also created action items to carry out over the summer and next school year to engage and inspire more students to explore computer science courses and activities.
During the institute, attendees heard from the NCWIT AspireIT team about their new AspireIT Toolkit. This comprehensive resource is a valuable tool for educators and community leaders alike, and it provides guidance on planning and implementing successful outreach programs for girls, non-binary, and genderqueer students in computer science. With its step-by-step approach and resources for managing budgets and measuring impact, this toolkit has the potential to make a difference in the lives of young people and their communities.
Our tour of Google in Boulder was another memorable experience. We were inspired by the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and saw firsthand how diverse teams positively impact innovation and problem-solving. It was both rewarding and energizing to witness the growing impact of NCWIT’s strategic partnership with Google.
To conclude the institute, we watched the Emmy-nominated film “Pioneers in Skirts,” which explores the challenges that women face in fields dominated by men – including computer science. The film underscored the importance of mentorship, role models, and a supportive community in helping women overcome these barriers and achieve their goals.
“As C4C Program Manager, I am proud to be a part of a group that is so passionate about being positive role models and mentors to students while working to eliminate barriers to students’ educational and career goals,” Kelsey Kman, Counselors for Computing Program Manager, said. “I am excited to see how attendees will apply what they learned at the institute in their own work and communities as we continue to work together to make computer science education more inclusive and equitable for all.”
In summary, the NCWIT Counselors for Computing Leadership Development Institute was a powerful and memorable experience. The AspireIT Toolkit, the Google tour, and the film “Pioneers in Skirts” all provided valuable insights and inspiration for engaging students from diverse backgrounds in computing.