Summer 2008

Revolutionizing the Face of Technology
NCWIT NEWSLETTER – Summer 2008

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Greetings from NCWIT



Save-The-Date: Upcoming Meetings

NCWIT’s November 2008 Meetings will be November 6-7, hosted by the Ada Bryon Research Center at the University of California, Irvine. The theme of our November 2008 Meetings will be “Multiple Pathways to an IT Career.” The Practices Workshop will focus on non-traditional pathways to an IT career, a critical avenue for increasing the number of people seeking to join the IT workforce. Our confirmed speakers include Lesley A. Arsht, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Military Community and Family Policy; Dr. Lisa Servon, Senior Researcher at the Center for Work-Life Policy; Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS); and Dr. Martina Whelshula, President of The Spokane Tribal College.

Our May 2009 Meetings will take place May 12-14 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, with a theme centering around the global status of women in technology. These meetings will also feature NCWIT’s five-year birthday celebration!

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May Meetings Wrap-Up

To those of you who joined us for our May 14-15 Meetings and Workshop at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), thank you for your participation, enthusiasm, and time. Our workshop, “Advancing Computing from Multiple Disciplines”, featured a discussion of how science and engineering disciplines are pushing the frontiers of computer science today. Our distinguished speakers addressed how their research offers exciting, grand challenges with the potential to change the image of computing and attract top talent to the field.

Our workshop speakers included Dr. Freada Kapor Klein, founder of the Level Playing Field Institute and author of Giving Notice: Why the Best and Brightest Leave the Workplace and How You Can Help Them Stay; Dr. Mae Jemison, former NASA astronaut, the first African-American woman in space, and founder of The Jemison Group, Inc.; Lydia E. Kavraki, the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and Bioengineering at Rice University; and Richard M. Murray, the Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at the California Institute of Technology. We’ve posted some of their slide presentations at the Meetings page of our website and you can download the program there as well.

In the second half of our workshop, we invited image professionals from the entertainment and marketing industries to join us for a brainstorming session about how we might positively enhance the image of IT. “Be Geek or De-Geek?” yielded a discussion that will be food for thought as we continue to support efforts that improve the image of computing. We also recognized the computing achievements and interests of seven young women from local Urbana-Champaign high schools with the third NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.

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NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing

Congratulations to our eight Champaign-Urbana-area winners of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing! Check out their video and photos, and find out more about the NCWIT Award, at www.ncwit.org/award.

   
Pictured left to right: Faye Cheng; Robin Nicole Johnson; Sharika Pongubala; Lucy Sanders, NCWIT; Meril Thornton, Bank of America; Kitt Vanderwater; Brianna Connolly; Katy Malinowski; Hannah Seidenberg

We’ve gone national! Thanks to generous sponsorship and cooperation from Bank of America, our award recognizing high-school women for their computing-related interests and achievements has been piloted across in six metro areas around the country: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, and New York City. In addition to the $500 and engraved award for each young woman and her school, the 28 national award-winners will also receive a laptop computer and an expenses-paid trip for them and a parent or guardian to attend a Bank of America awards ceremony in Charlotte, North Carolina, in August 2008. The award-winners who will be high school seniors in the fall also are invited to attend NCWIT’s November 2008 meetings at the University of California at Irvine.

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Academic Alliance Seed Fund

Does your institution have an innovative approach for broadening the participation of women in its department, one that could benefit from seed funding? We can help. Established with original support from Microsoft, the Academic Alliance (AA) Seed Fund awards startup funds (up to $15,000 per project) to develop and implement initiatives for recruiting and retaining women in computing and IT.

Round 3 winners have been selected! Congratulations to Columbia, Purdue, and Towson Universities for their award-winning projects. Round 4 proposals will be due November 1, 2008. Submit your questions about the award or your electronic PDF-file proposal on to AA project manager, John Ezell, at johnezell@ncwit.org. For more information about the NCWIT AA Seed Fund Award, or to view the winners’ proposals, visit http://www.ncwit.org/work.awards.seed.html.

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New Resources

NCWIT has launched several new resources in the past few months. Here’s a sampling:

  • Our newest Program-in-a-Box, Computer Science-in-a-Box: Unplug Your Curriculum, launched in May. This Box gives middle-school educators an abbreviated version of “Unplugged,” the award-winning curriculum designed by New Zealand teacher Tim Bell, to teach young children the fundamental concepts behind computer science without using computers, and the Box includes worksheets, activities, and videos.
  • Evaluating Promising Practices in Informal Information Technology (IT) Education for Girls, the third phase of a research project conducted with Girl Scouts of the USA and Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, uses the results of a survey with over 1,000 women in IT to help determine promising practices for attracting girls to IT.
  • In conjunction with International Women’s Day, March 8, NCWIT recently launched International Women’s Day-in-a-Box: Raising Awareness, Igniting Change. This all-in-one resource is designed to help companies capitalize on International Women’s Day as an occasion to celebrate successes and address barriers to women’s full participation in IT. Download the Box now to check out the ideas, events, and tips for designing your own celebration next year.
  • The NCWIT Workforce Alliance Practices Subcommittee, which is supporting several studies that seek to determine the current climate and barriers for women in IT companies and identify promising practices to address them, co-sponsored a study with Catalyst that surveyed IT employees about the existing culture in IT companies and women’s perceptions, experiences, and levels of satisfaction in these companies. Read the final report, “Women in Technology: Maximizing Talent, Minimizing Barriers”, at Catalyst’s website.
  • We’ve syndicated the NCWIT Entrepreneurial Heroes podcast series with http://www.w3w3.com and InformIT (owned by Pearson Prentice Hall), which extends the reach of this already-popular NCWIT resource. The NCWIT Entrepreneurial Heroes campaign is a series of magazine-style audio interviews highlighting women entrepreneurs in information technology (IT) careers, sponsored by the NCWIT Entrepreneurial Alliance and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Listen as these successful, creative, and technical women discuss their lives and their work – how they first get into technology, why they chose to be entrepreneurs, and what advice they would give to young people interested in IT or entrepreneurship.
  • We released two new Promising Practices at our May Meetings: “Better Approaches to Well-Intentioned, but Harmful Messages: Overcoming Stereotype Threat to Improve Retention”; and “Interview Strategies that Identify Functionally Diverse Perspectives: One Way to Recruit Diversity That Promotes Innovation and Productivity”. We’ve also revised our Promising Practices Catalog, which indexes all of our practices by topic and audience. Browse our Promising Practices or search the catalog here.

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New NCWIT Website

We have a new website! Launched on April 1, the new NCWIT website features a fresh new design; improved navigation; expanded content and better access to resources; more attention to our alliances, research, and reports; a practices “configurator” which allows users to search through our collected practices based on categories or keywords; whole-site search functionality; a tricked-out blog; and a portal-style homepage with rotating designs that allows us to highlight internal site features for a broad range of visitors. The site was revamped by Boulder, Colorado-based Insight Designs and every page was built and tested to W3 HTML, accessibility, and Google Analytics standards.

Going forward, we’ll focus on applying the revised design to the NCWIT member site as well, with some of the enhancements there to include customized areas for each alliance; improved access to member-only resources such as logos, art, presentations, and alliance documents; and improved member community spaces. We’ll continue to update the new public website frequently, and we’ve already built the infrastructure for future resources, such as additional audio-interview series, more video, additional practices and programs-in-a-box, and marketing and awareness campaigns. If you haven’t already, visit us at www.ncwit.org and give us your feedback at info@ncwit.org.

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NCWIT Extension Services

NCWIT Extension Services (ES) provides customized consultation services to members of the NCWIT Academic Alliance who wish to increase the participation of women in their undergraduate computing programs. NCWIT ES provides customized consultation, support for initiatives, and national workshops for increasing programs in ways that increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of women. NCWIT ES is funded by the National Science Foundation and is led by NCWIT CEO Lucy Sanders, Senior Scientist Lecia Barker at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Senior Research Scientist Joanne McGrath Cohoon at the University of Virginia, and Program Manager Kim Kalahar.

NCWIT Extension Services now provides a team of ES consultants to support Academic Alliance members, allowing us to serve many more clients in more comprehensive ways. Twelve new ES consultants will be working with departments as they undertake systemic change. If your department desires assistance, please contact Kim Kalahar at Kimberly.Kalahar@colorado.edu.

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New Employees

This spring NCWIT welcomes two new employees to its ranks: Michele Leonard, External Relations Coordinator; and Malia Hamilton, Administrative Assistant.

     
 
Michele Leonard
 
Malia Hamilton
 

For the past ten years Michele has worked as a “reality-based” television producer/writer. As External Relations Coordinator she will handle the major work of planning NCWIT’s meetings and other events, and manage relationships with our many of our vendors, members, and the general public. She looks forward to applying her production skills to her NCWIT role and, most of all, she’s excited about the “veracity” of NCWIT.

Malia Hamilton is a former math teacher at Kealakehe High School, her alma mater, and worked as a college counselor for disadvantaged, inner-city youth at a Boston non-profit called Bottom Line. She has a B.A. in political science from Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, and is originally from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

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NCWIT in the News

Since January 2008, NCWIT has been featured in 15 news articles, including in media outlets such as The New York Times, eWeek, InfoWorld, and MSNBC, and has published 4 press releases. Visit our Press Room to read more.

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