Previous Seed Fund Recipients

View the previous NCWIT Higher Ed Alliance Seed Fund recipients, organized by track.

“General” Track Recipients

  • Auburn University will promote Computer Science (CS) among girls, by creating the Computer Science for All Girls (CS4ALL – G), a collaboration project that builds upon the Auburn University (AU) and Southern Union State Community College (SUSCC)’s successful joint efforts in recruiting and retaining girls and special needs students in computing careers. Read more here. Project Principal Investigator: Daniela Marghitu. Round 9 (February 2013)
  • Brown University will provide a summer day camp for girls in the Providence area who about science and technology, run by undergraduate women from Brown University. Project Principal Investigator: Amy Greenwood. Round 6 (November 2009)
  • California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo will create a new course, Teaching Computing, geared toward computing TAs, tutors, and future K-12 teachers. The new course will emphasize inclusive pedagogical practices and near-peer mentoring. Goals of this project include fostering a more inclusive learning environment within the department while also equipping future computing educators with the skills to effectively recruit and retain students from underrepresented demographics. Project Principal Investigators: Zoe Wood, California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo; Bruce DeBruhl, California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. Round 15 (March 2019)
  • CCGIT will develop and disseminate a DVD to recruit women, non-traditional age groups, and underrepresented minorities from community colleges into four-year computing and IT programs. Project Principal Investigators: Warren Kuehner, Tracy Camp, and Deborah Keyek-Franssen. Round 1 (June 2007)
  • Central New Mexico Community College will work to grow the percentage of women pursuing computing degrees at the college by recruiting high school women to participate in a Girls Code Community led by female faculty. Outreach efforts will particularly target underserved areas, including rural and tribal communities. The program will provide intentional role modeling to help students learn about possible education and career pathways in computing. Project Principal Investigators: Hyekyung Clark, Central New Mexico Community College; Donna Diller, Central New Mexico Community College. Round 15 (March 2019)
  • Central Washington University will recruit and retain women and under-represented undergraduate students into the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology and Administrative Management (ITAM) degree program through a faculty-mentored undergraduate research experience. Read more here. Project Principal Investigator: Natalie Lupton. Round 7 (December 2010)
  • Claflin University will host a four week, full-day computer science summer program for 20 middle school girls, taught by one faculty mentor and three female computer science majors, with the long-term goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities and female representation in computing. Project Principal Investigator: Cheryl Swanier. Round 13 (February 2017)
  • Claremont Graduate University will engage students, especially female and underrepresented groups, through teamwork, problem-based learning, and a socially relevant topic to cultivate an interest in IT. Project Principal Investigators: Gondy Leroy, Brian Hilton, and June Hilton. Round 4 (January 2009)
  • Claremont Graduate University will team with Scripps College Academy to provide workshops that provide high school, undergraduate and graduate students with mentoring and support to pursue careers in technology and computing. Project Principal Investigator: Gondy Leroy. Round 8 (January 2012)
  • College of St. Scholastica will provide professional development for faculty teaching at The College of St. Scholastica, assisting them in instilling a growth mindset among students in the Computer Science/Computer Information Systems (CS/CIS) major and associated concentrations, as well as pre-engineering courses at the College of St. Scholastica. Read more here. Project Principal Investigator(s): Jennifer Rosato. Round 10 (February 2014)
  • Colorado School of Mines will study the effects that an introductory computer science course has on recruiting and retaining women in computer science. Read more here. Project Principal Investigators: Julie Krause, Irene Polycarpou, and Keith Hellman. Round 7 (December 2010)
  • Columbia University will use its award to fund the Artemis Project, a five-week, full-day computer science summer program for 20 rising 9th girls attending local schools, taught by four female computer science and engineering undergraduate coordinators and one faculty mentor. Project Principal Investigator: Tal Malkin. Round 9 (February 2013)
  • Columbia University will increase the enrollment of female students in CS courses beyond CS1, and ultimately to increase the number of female CS majors, by creating a program that encourages active participation and discussion of CS-related topics in a more positive, relaxed and open environment. Project Principal Investigators: Christian Murphy, Kristen Parton, and Adam Cannon. Round 3 (June 2008)
  • DePauw University will engage first-year women students through role modeling, dispelling myths about computing, and showcasing a broad variety of computing careers and lifestyles in computing. Project Principal Investigator: Gloria Townsend. Round 1 (June 2007)
  • Dordt College will offer ten annual scholarships for girls who attend the college’s residential, overnight summer camp. Dordt College also plans to expand upon the school’s new “Girls Who Code” program, visiting sites in surrounding communities where females work within the information technology industry while fostering young female students’ interest in computer science education. Project Principal Investigator: Kari Sandouka (February 2016)
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach will help fund a woman’s engineering institute to recruit and retain female undergraduate and graduate students. The program will provide female students with unique mentoring and networking opportunities and will connect them with industry partners who are looking to hire recent female graduates. Project Principal Investigator: Shafagh Jafer. Round 11 (February 2015)
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University hosts a Community College Partnership Program, which has brought bachelor’s and master’s degrees to underrepresented students throughout New Jersey, making the transfer process seamless, as advisors from both institutions help students stay on track for associate and bachelor’s degrees. They plan to expand this process and bring computer science education within reach of women and minorities, who are vastly underrepresented in the U.S. computing workforce. Project Principal Investigators: Laila Khreisat and Neelu Sinha. Round 13 (February 2017)
  • Fisk University will use its award to integrate software engineering into its GUSTO (Girls Using Scientific Tools for Opportunities) project, which introduces, encourages, and prepares low-income and minority girls for STEM careers. Project Principal Investigator: Ray Bullock. Round 8 (January 2012)
  • Florida A&M University intends to purchase “Raspberry Pi” kits to be used in outreach activities for the purpose of creating instructional videos directed at high school and middle school students. The program will also implement a monthly research seminar designed to encourage interested undergraduate students to pursue undergraduate and graduate research avenues in computer science. Project Principal Investigators: Hongmei Chi, Sharmini Pitter, Maurice Edington (February 2016)
  • Georgia Gwinnett College will implement The Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) Women in IT Boot Camp.  The boot camp is a weeklong workshop that will provide 24 rising female IT sophomores with an opportunity to gain a head start in programming. Project Principal Investigator(s): Sonal Dekhane, Kristine Nagel, & Nannette Napier. Round 10 (February 2014)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology plans to implement its “reFOCUS” program in order to increase the number of qualified, underrepresented female applicants in the college’s PhD programs. “reFOCUS” is a two-day program that includes informational sessions, lab tours, networking opportunities, interactive workshops, and individual meetings with faculty members. Project Principal Investigators: Jennifer N Whitlow, Cedric Stallworth (February 2016)
  • Green River College will give computing students the opportunity to apply their technical skills toward building software for a non-profit organization, in order to increase the relevance of the material and, therefore, their commitment to the discipline. Green River will also provide an opportunity for collaboration and communication with other students, faculty, and a real-world customer. Project Principal Investigator: Tina Ostrander. Round 13 (February 2017)
  • Hunter College will adapt the successful Emerging Scholars Project (ESP) in Columbia’s Computer Science Department for use at Hunter College. Project Principal Investigators: Susan Epstein, Virginia Teller, and Felisa Vazquez-Abad. Round 7 (December 2010)
  • Indiana University will develop and evaluate three to five team-based activities for high school students, incorporating basic computing concepts using sensors, robots, pervasive computing concepts. Project Principal Investigators: Kay Connelly, Suzanne Menzel, Anne Ottenbreit-Leftwich, and Kamie McAtee. Round 2 (January 2008)
  • Johnson County Community College will establish a yearly training program to equip faculty, counselors, and college recruiters with effective practices for recruiting and retaining women and underrepresented minorities in computer science classes, with the goal of increasing women’s participation in the Computer Information Systems department by 10 percent over three years. Project Principal Investigator: Perla Weaver. Round 14 (February 2018)
  • Knox College will create an annual retreat where current CS students can meet and connect with Knox alumni who are working in the tech industry. At least 50 percent of alumni speakers will be women, and all speakers will complete the NCWIT Inclusive Speaker Orientation. A goal of the project is to retain female computing students by fostering a greater sense of community within the major. Project Principal Investigators: Jaime Spacco, Knox College; Monica McGill, Knox College; David Bunde, Knox College. Round 15 (March 2019)
  • Livingstone College will provide students whose grades or SAT scores may not have earned them acceptance at other colleges and universities an introduction to technology, via a course that focuses on engaging, project-driven, hands-on activities. Project Principal Investigator: Kathryn Moland. Round 9 (February 2013)
  • Michigan State University will create a two-week, non-residential Computer Science Bridge Program (CSPB) to help incoming female computing students build community and gain confidence in their programming skills prior to entering college. The CSBP aligns with a broad strategic plan for increasing the percentage of women students in computing through marketing and outreach initiatives, pedagogical innovations, role modeling, and peer support. Project Principal Investigators: Laura Dillon, Michigan State University; Teresa Isela VanderSloot, Michigan State University; Yolanda Anderson, Michigan State University. Round 15 (March 2019)
  • Northeastern University aims to offer a unique opportunity of peer recruitment efforts involving various student groups on campus. The primary outcome of the recruitment will be a video documenting why students transferred to the College of Computer and Information Science (CCIS), and it will be showcased in many different places, including the CCIS website. Project Principal Investigator: Andrea Parker (February 2016)
  • Oklahoma State University will create a two-week summer program to introduce middle school girls in the Native American community to STEM through engaging and relevant spatial design projects that incorporate Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and 3D Printing applications. Recognizing that Native American women are among the most underrepresented groups in the tech industry, university faculty will partner with tribal representatives to create and model culturally responsive pedagogical practices. Project Principal Investigators: Tilanka Chandrasekera and Gina Peek. Round 14 (February 2018)
  • Oregon State University will leverages its highly successful “Ambassadors in Engineering” program as the model for a new student-to-student recruitment initiative focused on attracting college-bound high school students to computing studies. Project Principal Investigator: Ellen Momsen. Round 1 (June 2007)
  • Purdue University will engage another influential layer, parents, with Pair Programming via 6 Workshops per semester. Project Principal Investigator: Mindy Hart. Round 3 (June 2008)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology will extend MUPPETS and Virtual Participatory Theatre to HS students in grades 10-12 and also create Golisano Scholars program. Project Principal Investigator: Susan Kurtz. Round 2 (January 2008)
  • South Carolina Technical College System will implement the Triple A (AAA) Academy for 10-14 females enrolled in IT programs.  The initiative is a one-week pilot program that promotes ability, acuity, and audacity in IT-related fields. Project Principal Investigator(s):  Salandra Bowman & Stephanie Frazier. Round 10 (February 2014)
  • Southern Illinois University will create a female-friendly learning environment by building a community in which female students actively engage in learning, research, and service activities. Project Principal Investigator: Nancy Martin. Round 9 (February 2013)
  • SUNY-Albany will develop a workshop that uses popular high school platforms, such as the NXT, to explore the idea of social robotics and introduce core concepts of robotics. Project Principal Investigator: Jennifer Goodall. Round 6 (November 2009)
  • SUNY-Stony Brook will establish a mentorship and academic support program for first-year undergraduate women students in the Computer Science department. Featuring a week-long, pre-college coding camp; near-peer mentoring; and ongoing discussions on topics related to academic and professional success throughout the year, the MERIT (Mentor, Educate and Retain Women in Information Technology) program aims to improve retention by increasing participants’ confidence and sense of self-efficacy. Project Principal Investigators: Kevin McDonnell, Aruna Balasubramanian, and Michael Glick. Round 16 (March 2020)
  • Towson University will implement a multi-level mentoring model, which will combine elements of both intentional role modeling and peer-led team learning toward the ultimate goal of showing all female undergraduates in our programs pathways to success in computing. Project Principal Investigator: Shiva Azadegan. Round 3 (June 2008)
  • Tufts University will design a curriculum and accompanying set of hardware and software tools that teaches computational thinking and engineering through the design and construction of tangible, programmable electronic musical instruments that youth can use for live performance. Project Principal Investigator(s): Benjamin Shapiro. Round 10 (February 2014)
  • Union College will pilot a successful Seed Fund project from another institution: a social robotics outreach workshop in which female computing undergraduates serve as mentors and educators for middle and high school girls. Project Principal Investigator: Nick Webb. Round 8 (January 2012)
  • University of Arizona and their MIS department will team with industry to make students in CS and MIS aware of diversity issues, with a special focus on gender, preparing them to be leaders and managers who are equipped to both counter the problems and leverage the benefits of diversity. Project Principal Investigator(s): Paulo Goes & Gondy Leroy. Round 10 (February 2014)
  • University of California-Berkeley will build upon the best practices in computer science education research to inspire, empower, inform, connect, and mentor women who may pursue computer science. The program recruits UC Berkeley students who have expressed an interest in computer science and have not declared a major. Project Principal Investigator: Amy Tsai. Round 9 (February 2013)
  • University of California-Irvine will support the Girls Inc. Eureka! summer camp, building on experiences with the summer program to create a series of complimentary workshops for both the middle school girls served by Eureka! and high school girls as part of the College Bound effort. Project Principal Investigator: Gillian Hayes. Round 4 (January 2009)
  • University of California – Riverside will develop a multifaceted recruitment and mentorship program designed to educate prospective women students about opportunities in Computer Science while fostering ongoing community support, encouragement, and professional development for women students. Key elements of the program include near-peer mentoring and faculty-led workshops for both computing majors and non-majors. High school and community college women will also be invited to attend a mini-symposium featuring talks by alumni, faculty, and industry professionals. Project Principal Investigators: Mariam Salloum, Cecilia Cheung, and Jiasi Chen. Round 16 (March 2020)
  • University of Central Arkansas will build a female-friendly environment for computing majors by recruiting a first-year cohort of women and retaining them with opportunities for learning, research, service, and leadership. Project Principal Investigators: Chenyi Hu, Yu Sun, and Karen Thessing. Round 8 (January 2012)
  • University of Maryland-College Park aims to host five workshops for high school and undergraduate students to kindle interest in computing fields. The workshops include hands-on activities involving web development, app development, Internet protection, grad school applications, and job interview exercises. Project Principal Investigators: Jandelyn Plane, Anusha Gururaj. Round 11 (February 2015)
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln will establish a comprehensive statewide writing program and contest, including UNL women CS students as big sister mentors to HS students. Project Principal Investigator: Leen Kiat Soh. Round 2 (January 2008)
  • University of New Hampshire will host a two-week residential “counselor-in-training” program to recruit and prepare high school women to become counselors in a program that introduces elementary school students to computing projects. This initiative supports ongoing efforts to increase girls’ participation in the elementary program by including more female role models with skills and interests in technology. Project Principal Investigator: Karen Jin. Round 14 (February 2018)
  • University of North Carolina at Charlotte will start the Mobile Maker Space outreach program, designed to excite community college students’ interest in computing and recruit them into the CCI’s 2+3 degree pathway. Project Principal Investigators: Manuel Perez Quinones, David Wilson, and Audrey Rorrer. Round 13 (February 2017)
  • University of North Carolina-Greensboro, in collaboration with Kennesaw State University, plans to host a three-day program that provides rising female sophomore students with an opportunity to get a head start on programming skills. The program aims to foster female students’ interest in information systems through engaging in hands-on projects, mentoring and networking with IT professionals, and socializing with their peers. Project Principal Investigators: Lakshmi Iyer, Sweta Sneha. Round 11 (February 2015)
  • University of Pennsylvania will bring high school guidance counselors and teachers to the Penn campus for a day-long workshop on how to become better recruiters for women’s participation in computer science. Project Principal Investigator: Michele Grab. Round 5 (July 2009)
  • University of Pennsylvania will reach out to high school girls on a national level and culminate in a March 2008 conference, to target students from 2,500 high schools nationwide, and encourage their interest in computing. Project Principal Investigator: Rita Powell. Round 1 (June 2007)
  • University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will develop a summer enrichment program in which mothers, daughters, and high school teachers work together to program a NAO robot. Since parents and teachers are often influential in young women’s college and career planning process, this program aims to empower both parents and teachers to support and encourage high school women’s interest in AP computer science offerings. Project Principal Investigators: Giti Javidi, Ehsan Sheybani, and Lila Rajabion. Round 14 (February 2018)
  • University of Texas will develop the Breakfast Bytes, a Saturday Morning CS club to provide a continuous outlet for engaging middle/high school students, encouraging them to take HS CS classes. Project Principal Investigator: Tiffany Grady. Round 2 (January 2008)
  • University of Texas-Dallas (UTD) intends to facilitate a summertime, residential, overnight camp experience for incoming freshmen female students who have been accepted to UTD for the fall semester. The program will help develop a community for attendees to meet faculty, do hands-on activities, and network with career professionals. Project Principal Investigators: Janell Straach, Mary Partain. Round 11 (February 2015)
  • University of Texas-Pan American will redesign an intro to computing course to make it more accessible to women and underrepresented groups, giving UTPA students, 85 percent of whom are Hispanic, the chance to work with LEGO® Mindstorms robots while learning programming concepts, teamwork, and computing in the context of real-world problems. Project Principal Investigator: Pearl Brazier. Round 5 (July 2009)
  • University of Virginia program will focus on actively recruiting computing graduate students from traditionally underrepresented groups by providing enhanced exposure to graduate programs, facilities, faculty, and graduate student life. Project Principal Investigator: Carolyn Vallas. Round 8 (January 2012)
  • Virginia State University will increase female populations in computer science through a two week summer program targeted at sophomores and juniors from regional high schools. Project Principal Investigators: David Walter and Giti Javidi. Round 7 (December 2010)
  • Virginia Tech will provide a series of annual summer workshops offering networking and professional development opportunities to high school teachers of computing in co-ordination with members of the ACM-sponsored professional organization for high school teachers, CSTA. Project Principal Investigator: Barbara Ryder. Round 6 (November 2009)
  • Wake Forest University will develop and implement a new curriculum that integrates AI topics into all introductory Computer Science courses. By emphasizing AI’s interdisciplinary connections, career opportunities, and practical applications for contemporary social issues, this project aims to attract women and other traditionally underrepresented students to the computing program. In addition, undergraduate women student researchers will be recruited to  lead group discussions and serve as near-peer mentors for women students in the introductory class. Project Principal Investigator: Natalia Khuri. Round 16 (March 2020)
  • Waukesha County Technical College will develop I Can Do IT!, a road show designed to engage elementary and middle school girls with hands-on activities including programming, wireless technology, and website development. Project Principal Investigator: Kim Elhert. Round 5 (July 2009)
  • Willamette University will expand its efforts to recruit and retain women in the Computer Science department by hosting twelve Women in Tech events and four Tech Treks over the course of two years. The Women in Tech series will bring female tech professionals to campus to engage with students through career talks, panels, and mentoring sessions, while Tech Treks take current and prospective students off campus to learn about regional tech employers. Project Principal Investigators: Haiyan Cheng and Evgenia Chuniknina. Round 16 (March 2020)
  • Wilmington University will recruit women into computing through the higher-level concepts of analysis and design, such as computer forensic analysis techniques, human-computer interface (HCI) design concepts, gaming, media-rich computer applications, and computer-based graphic design. Project Principal Investigator: Edward Guthrie. Round 7 (December 2010)


“Microsoft Research Faculty Summit” Track Recipients

  • Duke University will support a Code+R&D initiative in which a team of undergraduate women will undertake a 10-week research and development project in collaboration with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Computer Science, and the Office of Information Technology. Through this project, students who are interested in research careers can gain a systems-level understanding of the university IT operations, while seeing the real-world applications of their research firsthand. Project Principal Investigators: Maria Gorlatova, Duke University; Tracy Futhey, Duke University; John Board, Duke University. (2019)
  • University of Texas at Arlington will institute an annual Student Computing Research Festival, including a student research competition, exhibits of ongoing projects, recruitment for technical and research opportunities—both on and off campus, keynote talks by women in computing research fields, and mentorship from alumni, faculty, and graduate students. The festival is designed to encourage women computing students to explore research possibilities by connecting them with people, ideas, and resources to support their interests. Project Principal Investigators: Chengkai Li, University of Texas at Arlington; Ming Li, University of Texas at Arlington; Shirin Nilizadeh, University of Texas at Arlington. (2019)


“Surging Enrollments” Track Recipients

  • Colorado School of Mines will create a new program called Undergraduate Computing Leaders Invested in Mentoring Beginners (U-CLIMB). The program will ease the burden on faculty by training intermediate-level undergraduates as near-peer mentors for students in first-year computing classes. The program will increase the visibility of women computing majors who can serve as role models for beginning students. First-year students will have access to academic support and encouragement from relatable mentors, while the mentors themselves will gain greater skills and confidence through participating in the training program. Project Principal Investigators: Tracy Camp, Colorado School of Mines; Sharon Naylor, Colorado School of Mines. (2018)
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University will expand peer mentoring through the Women’s Engineering Institute and implement a new supplemental advising program pairing students from underrepresented groups with diverse faculty members. The Electrical, Computer, Software, and Systems Engineering Department will also provide funding to support undergraduate research, create tech-oriented work-study jobs, and enable students to pursue opportunities to present at technical conferences, in an effort to alleviate the financial pressures that cause many students to leave the program. Project Principal Investigators: Shafagh Jafer, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Courtney Thurston, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. (2019)
  • Georgia State University will create a program to support and retain incoming women students through community building and mentorship. Near-peer undergraduate students will lead biweekly, small-group discussion sections that emphasize building strong connections among students in each cohort. In addition, the program aims to change students’ perceptions of opportunities for women in technical careers through visits to inclusive workplaces and guest presentations by female tech professionals. Students who complete the program may be recruited to become mentors themselves. Project Principal Investigator: Olga Glebova, Georgia State University. (2019)
  • Lord Fairfax Community College has a multiple retention approach: 1) expand high school recruitment; 2) improve marketing by removing unintentional bias; and 3) improve computational skills and coding ability for incoming students so as to improve self-confidence for success. Project Principal Investigator: Melissa Stange, Lord Fairfax Community College. (2019)
  • Michigan Technological University will establish a new near-peer mentorship program in which enrolled students connect with accepted women applicants during their senior year of high school, answering their questions and giving them a sense of the campus community, so that they can feel more comfortable attending a college that is likely to be far from their home. The program will also sponsor a campus visit for prospective women students where they will have the opportunity to meet their mentors and learn about ongoing computing research projects within the department. Project Principal Investigators: Linda Ott, Michigan Technological University; Allison Carter, Michigan Technological University. (2018)
  • Southern New Hampshire University will offer intentional role modeling, women-led mentorship and community building to develop a culture of equity and inclusion for women in engineering that will support the College of Engineering, Technology and Aeronautics’s recruitment and retention initiatives. Project Principal Investigators: Susan Elsass, Southern New Hampshire University; Angela Foss, Southern New Hampshire University; Bo Kim, Southern New Hampshire University. (2019)
  • University of Central Florida will use a “four-prong” approach to recruit and retain women students in computer science and information technology majors. The program will expand existing efforts to recruit women into the department by funding high school women to attend pre-college activities. Program advisors offer peer mentoring for all first-year women students. Faculty will redesign several first-year classes that are commonly seen as “roadblocks” to students continuing in the major, while also creating a basic “coding for all” class to be marketed to non-majors. In addition, the department will revamp its minor offerings to provide additional pathways for women in other majors to become involved in computing and information technology. Project Principal Investigators: Melissa Dagley, University of Central Florida; Gary Leavens, University of Central Florida; Damla Turgut, University of Central Florida. (2018)
  • University of Michigan will implement activities to boost the retention of women in computing courses. Within the classroom, we plan to educate all students on inclusive behaviors and the value of diversity. Beyond the classroom, we create community-building opportunities for women. Project Principal Investigator: Valeria Bertacco, University of Michigan. (2019)
  • University of Minnesota will develop an extracurricular Emerging Scholars program for women enrolled in CS1. The program will use a peer-led team learning approach, where students work in teams of six to eight to build problem-solving skills, while more advanced undergraduates provide support and guidance. The next step will be to create a one-credit version of the Emerging Scholars program that will be available to all students enrolled in CS1 classes. Project Principal Investigators: Maria Gini, University of Minnesota; Shana Watters, University of Minnesota. (2018)


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