2017 NCWIT Summit – Academic Alliance Seed Fund Awards

LUCY SANDERS: Alright, well good afternoon everybody, welcome back. I hope you had a very busy and informative time. Lots of different discussions going on, I’ve heard the sessions went really well, I went to a couple myself, so I learned a lot in the sessions that I went to. Before we turn to our primary speaker, we’re going to do some academic awards, which I think are super fun because the academic community is really doing a lot of great work in the space of under representation and computing. So, helping me is Paige Williams, who is the director of artificial intelligence and research global for Microsoft. As director of AIR global, Paige leads global engineering strategies focused on regional development and innovation. In over 25 years at Microsoft, Paige has managed the localization and globalization of the first Microsoft.com corporate website, wow, and more recently has spent a decade building a new program in corporate capability called ‘Global Readiness’. Microsoft research has sponsored the academic alliance seed fund for over 10 years and through that fund, the academic alliance is really able to use peer review process, due cause for proposals, really use the research foundation to fund the efforts of many of our members, and as such has been an extremely successful program. And so please welcome Paige to the stage.

PAIGE WILLIAMS: Thank you. Over the past 11 years, Microsoft research has awarded 51 post-secondary ncwit members with nearly 600,000 dollars to develop and implement initiatives to recruit and retain women in the computing field. Since its conception, 3,000 students, teachers, and adult stakeholders have been impacted. Close to 400 schools and colleges have benefited from seed funding. And about half of those funded programs report that they’re able to go on and continue that program. And now, let’s meet the 2017 academic alliance seed fund recipients who will continue this proud heritage of accomplishment. Dr. Cheryl Swanier, Claflin University. Claflin university will host a four-week, full day computer science summer program for 20 middle school girls. The program will be taught by one faculty mentor, and three female computer science majors, with a long-term goal of increasing the number of under-represented minorities and female representation in computing. Drs. Laila Khreisat and Neelu Sinha, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Dr. Sinha is here to accept this award. Fairleigh Dickinson University hosts a community college partnership program which has brought bachelors and masters degrees to underrepresented students throughout New Jersey. This partnership makes the transfer process seamless, as advisors from both institutions help students stay on track for associate and bachelor degrees. They plan to expand this process and bring computer science education within reach of women and minorities, who are vastly underrepresented in our nation’s computer workforce. From my neck of the woods, Ms. Tina Ostrander, Green River College. Green River College will give computing students the opportunity to apply their technical skills towards building software for a non-profit organization. This opportunity will increase the relevance of the material and therefore the students’ commitment to that discipline, and additionally provides collaboration and communication with other students, with faculty, and with real-world customers. Dr.s Audrey Rorrer, David Wilson, and Manuel Perez Quinones, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Accepting for Dr. Wilson is Johanna Okerlund. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte will start the mobile makerspace outreach program. This program is designed to excite community college students’ interest in computing, and recruit them into the college of computing and informatics two and three-year degree pathway. Congratulations. Let’s have another round of applause, all the winners and the great work they’re doing, thank you.

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