2015 is barely underway, and there is already an impressive list of accomplishments to celebrate and new opportunities available from the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program — a sweeping national talent development initiative for young women in computing and information technology, from kindergarten through graduate school.
Thanks to Hewlett-Packard’s generous support, NCWIT proudly opened applications for the inaugural round of the Collegiate Award on January 1, 2015. Up to three winners will be selected annually for this new award that honors outstanding undergraduate women for their computing and technical accomplishments. In order to be considered for the Collegiate Award, applicants must be a member of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Community, a junior or senior at an NCWIT Academic Alliance institution, and a computing major. Prizes include:
$7,500 cash award
a trip to the Collegiate Award ceremony at the 2015 NCWIT Summit in Hilton Head, South Carolina
early access to internships, job opportunities, and technical projects
invitations to reunions, meet-ups, and gatherings around the country
virtual support such as webinars
a network of over 575 corporate, non-profit, and academic organizations from the NCWIT community
Over 3,300 young women are a part of the AiC Community, and NCWIT looks forward to welcoming more. All female college students attending an NCWIT Academic Alliance institution with a computing major are encouraged to apply.
Community Event: AiC at GHC
AiC community members were well-represented at the 2014 Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing (GHC) this past October. Members attended private meet-ups with NCWIT member institutions such as Apple, Bank of America, Palantir, and Qualcomm to discuss career opportunities, tips for successful technology job searches, and more. Bloomberg hosted the annual AiC at GHC Reunion Dinner for members to reunite and catch up on educational and work experiences since their recognitions.
Community Event: Aspirations in Computing Ambassadors at the NCWIT Summit
Thanks to Bloomberg’s sponsorship, 26 Aspirations in Computing alumnae attended the 2014 NCWIT Summit as ambassadors for the AiC program. These student representatives attended sessions, spoke in meetings, networked with NCWIT members, and enjoyed dinner with Bloomberg representatives at the annual Summit AiC Ambassadors Dinner.
AspireIT (sponsored by Google, Intel, and Northrop Grumman) uses a near-peer model, connecting technical high school and college women with K-12 girls interested in computing. How does it work? Aspirations in Computing Award recipients or collegiate members of the AiC Community become program leaders and partner with NCWIT Alliance institutions for this unique opportunity to share their passion for computing with a younger generation of girls. Alliance institutions serve as fiscal agents, mentors, or potential in-kind supporters while program leaders create and lead camps, clubs, and workshops rooted in programming fundamentals and computational thinking.
Applications for Round Three are open! To get started, visit www.ncwit.org/aspireit. Round Three AspireIT programs may run from June 15, 2015 through October 14, 2015.
The results are in for the national winners and runners-up of the Award for Aspirations in Computing, an award recognizing U.S. high school women for their outstanding aptitude and interest in computing, proven leadership ability, academic performance, and plans for post-secondary education. Nearly 2,500 applications were completed, and 35 national winners were selected to receive a $500 cash prize, laptop computer, and two engraved trophies — one for her and one for her school. All 35 national winners will be honored by Bank of America (national level sponsor) at the Bank of America Technology Stars of the Future Showcase and Awards Ceremony on March 7, 2015, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Thanks to Microsoft’s generous support (local level sponsor), hundreds of technical young women will be honored at 60 Affiliate Award events nationwide. This high school award program continues to grow by adding three new affiliates — Central Illinois, North Florida, and West Tennessee — and expanding to include more of Alaska and overseas military bases.
NCWIT is grateful to the 1,000+ volunteers from academic institutions, non-profits, and corporations who reviewed all of the amazing applications for 2015. Check out all volunteer opportunities at www.aspirations.org/volunteer-support.
The Aspirations in Computing Educator Award (sponsored by AT&T) recognizes teachers, counselors, administrators, mentors, and other educators who make a special effort to support girls’ interest in technology. Award winners will receive $1,000 for computing-related professional development activities, public recognition at an Affiliate Award ceremony, and two trophies — one for the recipient and one for the recipient’s school. Applications for 2015 are currently under review, and winners will be announced by January 31, 2015.
Many past NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing recipients continue to inspire and amaze the NCWIT community by pursuing computing degrees, internships, and other tech-related opportunities. Below are a couple of highlights. Check out “Where Are They Now?” to read what recipients are saying about their post-award experiences, in their own words.
Currently I am working on a combined Masters/PhD in computer science at Georgia Tech. My focus is on cognitive science and robotics. My undergraduate research experience helped prepare me and I’d like to continue on to be a research professor in computer science. The Aspirations in Computing program is actually part of the reason I ended up at Georgia Tech. I was at the 2011 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing giving a presentation with a fellow AiC winner. I was introduced to the representatives from Georgia Tech and they invited me to see what their graduate programs were like. During that visit I met my research advisor who I might not have met otherwise. AiC brought me to this program and without it I might not have known it was a good fit.
Currently, I am a Program Manager on the Xbox user experience team. I’ve been here since September and I love it! I just graduated in May with my Masters in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Last year, I graduated with my Bachelors, also in ECE from CMU. AiC has always been a tremendous support group for me. There have been many times throughout my college career where I was unsure about what to do and I was just lost. I couldn’t always remember why I wanted to be an engineer during some really tough times. The AiC community has always been there. There is always someone there to listen and give useful advice.
Did you know that you can submit* opportunities for award recipients, educators, parents, and other AiC participants? Technology-related camps, workshops, competitions, classes, and more at the local, regional, or national level are all applicable submissions. View a list of current opportunities, or make a submission at www.aspirations.org/opportunities.
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The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program is supported nationally by AT&T, Bank of America, Bloomberg, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola Solutions Foundation, Northrop Grumman, and Symantec.