NCWIT 2012 Summit – State of NCWIT

[audience chatting]

BOBBY SCHNABEL: Let’s see, good morning. Good morning so we’re going to get started. I’m Bobby Schnabel. I’m one of the three cofounders of NCWIT along with Lucy Sanders and Telle Whitney and the three of us continue to be the executive team for NCWIT. I’m gonna start with a piece of good news which is although the program may give you this impression, I am absolutely not speaking at you for 30 minutes. My main job is to introduce three people in the front row who are much more interesting than I am. So I’m just going to make a few comments before I do that. And the first one is to reflect a little bit on the number of people in this room and how that contrasts to the first NCWIT planning meeting where we were around four little tables, didn’t need any microphones, all could get to know each other in a few minutes. Here we’re a lot bigger than that which is great and therefore we need to find ways to get to know each other. So we’re gonna do one right now. Would everybody who is at their first NCWIT meeting, so you may be a new member, or visitor, a new representative please stand up for a moment, wow [audience applauding] Okay well that’s most of you. Will the people who aren’t standing up please make a vow to talk to at least one of the people who is during the meeting. [audience laughing] No, that’s serious, we want to get to know people. So thank you very much. So I’m just going to do a couple of slides to talk about what NCWIT is and then get to our speakers. All right, as Lucy said yesterday, the mission of NCWIT is to significantly increase girls’ and womens’ meaningful participation in computing. And the way we do that is depicted on this graphic. Now this graphic is a little bit like a face. Not just that it looks like one. I’m not sure if it does or not. But what I meant by that is a person’s face can change in various ways over their lifetime. The hairstyle, the color, the quantity, the shape; but, it’s still the same person. And similarly for those of you who’ve tracked NCWIT, the way we depict this tends to change over time, the shapes that we use, the colors, even the words in those three. But it’s always been the same strategy and it’s a three-part strategy, all right. The first then, part that you really embody is about the community. NCWIT is a combination of learning communities. There may be some organizations where you can go to a meeting once a year, hear all the great things the organization is doing, then go home and come back the next year and expect the organization made progress. In this organization, you are the progress. The communities are the way that things get done as change and action communities all through the year. So that’s the first of the circles. The second one is the evidence. One of the things that NCWIT does is provide a wide variety of resources that are based upon research to help those communities take action, advocate to other groups and in some cases send information to other people who are working on that. And you’re familiar with those. There’s a lot of those resources outside on the table. There’s some new ones there. So, I encourage everyone to take a look at that and see what has really become known for the high quality resources that it produces. And the third one, what we referred to there is action is the fact that NCWIT is part of a larger community where it both advocates and creates programs that help in many ways. So, that includes not only enhancing the visibility of women in IT but being a partner in activities that enhance all represented, underrepresented communities in IT. It’s increasingly played a major role in the national conversation about technology and information technology computing at the K-12 level on both the policy side and the curricular and content side. It’s playing an increasing role in the entrepreneurship level and increasing the talent pool including the diversity of that talent pool. And I think one of the pleasing things that NCWIT has become a really sought after and valuable partner in many of these national conversations. Now, that was probably not the intended results, okay that button. As we said, the way that NCWIT does this is largely through the six alliances that are depicted here. And let me just say a couple words about those. The one that’s been the longest standing is the one on the bottom right, the Social Science Advisory Board. Even before we officially formed NCWIT, we had a group that has advised us and has continued to on research practices and on evaluation and assessment practices and has been very important to NCWIT. The two other long-standing ones or longest are the Academic Alliance and the Workforce Alliance. The Academic Alliance works on change within higher education. The Workforce Alliance works on change and advocacy in the corporate sphere. The one that’s been in existence for a number of years by now is the K-12 Alliance which is an organization or many organizations which by themselves have a reach to over half of the girls in the United States and work both on the image and on programs in the K-12 sphere. And then there’s two alliances that have just gotten started recently and you may not be as familiar with. The Entrepreneurial Alliance which was announced at the Startup America event at the White House is one that works on growing the talent pool and particularly the diversity and the participation of women in the talent pool of entrepreneurial activities and startup companies. It’ll be meeting here for the first time and then the Affinity Alliance is one that was only announced in January and it is the alliance of the many affinity groups and you can see it on the website. These are affinity groups and professional societies, incorporations and so on about women in technical organizations or women in IT and it’s providing both community and resources to those organizations. So what we’re gonna be doing in this session if I go backwards for a moment, is there is one speaker representing each of the three circles that is there. And so the first of those speakers, Dr. Pat Morreale, from the Department of Computers Science at Kean University in New Jersey is representing the alliances and particularly talking about the Academic Alliance and research experience for undergraduates, so Pat [audience applauding]

DR. PAT MORREALE: Thank you and good morning. It’s a pleasure to be here. Last year, I’m part of the Academic Alliance Research Experience for Undergraduates Project and last year we wrote the book or more specifically the program in a box on research experiences for undergraduates. This material which is available on the website has details about faculty and student approaches and strategies for conducting NCWIT’s renowned best practices undergraduate research experiences in computer science. And this year, we’ve decided to celebrate it and I’m happy to announce that we have the 2012 REU Faculty Recognition Award. We’re trying to identify faculty who are encouraging, supporting and advancing undergraduate women in computer science research. Now the individuals that are designated to receive this award this year have been nominated by their faculty peers and endorsed by students because a student recommendation was required. And we have four individuals that have been recognized through the nomination process and peer review and will be receiving this year’s 2012 REU Faculty Recognition Award. If you see these individuals here at the summit, please encourage them and congratulate them, Dr. Juan Gilbert of Clemson University, Dr. Scott McCrickard of Virginia Tech, Dr. Mingrui Zhang of Winona State University and Dr. Diana Franklin, University of California, Santa Barbara. If the individuals are here and if you could stand up please. We’d be happy to recognize you for your accomplishments. [audience applauding] And again if you see them in the small on the outside please do speak to them and tomorrow morning, Thursday we’ll be formally awarding the awards and giving more details about their expertise that they’ve shared with our undergraduate students. Thank you again. [audience applauding]

BOBBY SCHNABEL: Thank you Pat. What we’re going to switch to next is talking about NCWIT resources as I said a few minutes ago and I think you know NCWIT provides a really wide array of resources. And it’s actually become quite known for doing that. In fact we’ve had organizations come to us and ask if we would make their resources and we resisted so far becoming a marketing company as opposed to a women in IT company. But, there is a really impressive array of resources. There’s just two examples, the Workforce Alliance has been producing a number of really interesting top-10 lists, including ways to retain technical women, ways to increase the visibility of technical women and the most recent one are the top-10 ways to be a male advocate for women in organizations. And so do take a look at that. To show you another type of resource, one of the things NCWIT research did in the last year or two is produce an analysis by each congressional district of essentially the supply and demand for IT in that district. And this has turned out to be a really valuable resource as people have discussions; because, in politics and in many programs it’s all local. And being able to point to that locally has really been a valuable thing to do. So those are just two examples of NCWIT’s resources and now Barbara Ericson is going to talk about a third in the K-12 space. Barb is very well known for her contributions in bringing computing education to K-12. She serves as Director of Computing Outreach in the College of Computing at Georgia Tech, so Barb [audience applauding]

BARBARA ERICSON: Good morning I’m pleased to talk to you about an upcoming new report out of the K-12 Alliance. the Girls In IT: The Facts. This is a report that’s gonna be similar to the women IT but more focused on the K-12 space. Oop, I hit the wrong button, ah that way. So the goals of our report were to have everything in research in computing or in technology about girls and gather it in one place. It’s a lot of research in different areas. We want to make it more accessible by gathering and summarizing the research. We want to find out what are the key barriers to girls’ participation in technology and we wanna help people that are advocates for change as Bobby said. We are a group that are advocating for change. So by having access to the research and promising practices for overcoming those barriers, we hope to help you enable the change. We also want to identify areas for future research. So the report, an overview of the report, what we’re going to have in it is the current state of affairs. So for example, I’ve been looking at one of the drafts of it and AP Computer Science has the lowest participation percentage of women of any of the APA exams, there’s 37 AP exams. There are more men taking studio art than there are women taking AP Computer Science. So that’s one of the interesting facts. Oh, identifying the barriers. What are the overview of the key barriers for a girl’s participation and certainly one of them is a lack of access to computer science. Many girls have already made up their mind what they’re going to major in by high school. So if they don’t have any experience in computer science that’s dismissed as a possibility. So we’d like to get them more access earlier. And addressing the barriers. What are the promising practices? What are ways that we can improve girls’ participation in IT. One of the interesting findings there is that the gender of the leaders doesn’t necessarily matter as much as what kind of leaders are they, role models that you have. We’ve been running summer camps at Georgia Tech and we found that sometimes male role models that are very excited about computing are better than female role models that are a little nervous about how well they do in computing. So stay tuned, that report will, we have a draft available now and that report will be out by the end of the summer, thank you. [audience applauding]

BOBBY SCHNABEL: Thank you Barb. So if you walk into the dean’s office at the School of Informatics at Indiana University where I work; the first thing you see is one of these red chairs. And in fact, then if you are a visitor there my very gregarious assistant will engage you in a conversation and say something about what that red chair is about. Which is exactly why this exists. And the company and the person behind this campaign is Mitch Maranowski who’s the Chief Creative Officer and cofounder of BBMG and Mitch is going to talk to us about that. [audience applauding]

MITCH MARANOWSKI: Thanks Bobby, it’s a privilege to be here and to share an update on this campaign that we have dubbed, Sit With Me. I will try my hand at this nefarious control. So right, so our firm, BBMG, is a branding and marketing firm. We’re a little unique in the sense that we only work on projects that benefit society. So we work on a range of cause marketing and sustainability and social responsibility projects. And you know it’s interesting, I mean we gathered a year ago in New York to kick off a sneak peek at this campaign concept after we had work shopped it together in Atlanta and it really is a co-created effort and that’s very rare and very precious and I think we should all take real pride it that. It is, of course, the organization’s first major advocacy campaign and it really is designed to spur this dialogue about women in IT. They’re an important role today. They’re a role in the future and it’s a very inclusive campaign by design. It’s moving and gaining traction which is really nice to see and very rare and very precious as well. And we had you know sort of a sneak peek a year ago and then we’ve been slowly rolling this thing out to members and now we’re getting ready for a more public facing launch in the fall and this will only continue. A part of the design of this effort has been to cocreate a lot of content early on and many of you in this room have helped by sitting in the chair and sharing your stories and that’s so critically important because we want, at the end of the day, these stories to raise the right questions and the right opportunities and the right challenges and advance the dialogue. One of the neat things about this terrain is that it’s very rich and fertile; but, it’s also very abstract. And when you look at unifying this content, all of these narratives, you need a strong signifier. And that’s what this red chair, this iconic chair really represents. It’s this concrete symbol of this small but symbolic action, sitting to take a stand. And all of us can play that role. Already members, academic and corporate, have been rolling this thing out nationally and globally. There have been dozens of events, whether around International Women’s Day or Father-Daughter days or the Aspirations Awards. It’s really gaining great traction and we’re really proud to see that happening. The IBM research lab in Austin, Facebook did an internal launch, Microsoft, the NERD Center in Boston held a big event. Even programs like Murray State are sitting in the red chair. It’s awesome to see such variety. And we’re here today to announce a couple of new developments. So one of the new developments is that we’ve been hard at work on a new campaign tool kit. This is a very robust interactive tool kit that has a number of creative assets attached to it. It’s now on the microsite and so you can go there to download it and it’s really meant to empower you and your organizations to work with the campaign on your own terms. And you’ll find a number of creative assets attached to the tool kit from the logos and the fact sheets to the PowerPoint templates to the photo releases and legal forms, posters and post cards, QR codes and other fun stuff. As you know too, there’s also really fun merchandise you can buy and have around and use as awards or recognition. And finally, we wanted to continue the momentum. Last year we just sort of did a sneak peek video, really leaned on our academic partners. And this year we’re really leaning on our corporate partners to help show this campaign’s really coming to life and taking a foothold if you will, getting momentum. So here it is, we have a short two-minute video that is sort of the next, show you an update of this campaign rolling out and I guess we can go to the tape. Thank you very much. [upbeat music]

LUCY SANDERS: Sit With Me is based around an iconic red chair. And there’s so many things that a chair really embodies. It’s about sitting for the future technology. It’s about not standing for anything less than womens’ full participation in computing and I hope this campaign really helps us understand that. We need more women in the workforce. We need their creativity. We need their skills.

ALAN MCCONNELL: We’ve learned over time that you can’t build great products if you don’t have a team that improvises with and understands the audience that the product is for.

LUCY SANDERS: We’re doing a Sit With Me campaign because we want the world to know that women are great technical thinkers. And it’s time to do it now.

MATTHEW MCTEE: I think the world needs a campaign like Sit With Me in order to ignite a commitment towards really driving more women into careers in technology.

SHERYL SANDBERG: You know the women that are dedicated in computer science, you go into math, you go into other technical areas; they’re great And it starts with believing they can do it.

COLLEEN BLAKE: As a mother. I want to break the stereotype to show my daughters that, hey you can go to that engineering class. So it’s part of telling that story that’s important for me.

LUCY SANDERS: We want women helping to solve the problems that the world faces. That’s what we hope this campaign provides a catalyst for.

JESSICA MURRILO: We sent out an email a couple of weeks ago about our International Women’s Day event and wouldn’t it be a great idea to have this red chair.

LEAH BRUNSON: The campaign is getting lots of great buzz here at Microsoft we had about a hundred people here to talk about the powerful contributions of women in tech. The wanna hear more, they wanna get involved.

LUCY SANDERS: We want you to have a Sit With Me event or host a photo shoot or use the chair as an award program or have a stealth campaign.

WOMAN: Just do it, it’s not hard. You can request a red chair. You get some people together. You take some pictures and you upload at the site. It’s just easy.

LEAH BRUNSON: I think about the community. How can we get the community involved?

LUCY SANDERS: They’re going to take this iconic red chair places that we could have never imagined and that is the creativity of this campaign.

ANDREW BOSWORTH: People who aren’t necessarily part of the process that’s a loss for not just the rest of us who don’t get that perspective; but, also for them they don’t get to shape the future that is gonna come to exist.

COLLEEN BLAKE: This isn’t just a company versus company issue, it’s a societal issue that we’re trying to change.

LUCY SANDERS: At the end of the day we’ll know Sit With Me is successful if we have created a conversation around the importance of womens’ participation in computing and not just amongst technologists; but, everywhere. [audience applauding]

BOBBY SCHNABEL: Awesome, thanks to BBMG and everybody who’s part of that including the movie star in the first row. [audience chuckles] So let’s see. Okay just a few final remarks before we go into our Alliance meetings. A few comments about what’s coming in the year ahead. Of course an organization this large there’s many things; but, I’m going to just focus on three. In the Academical Alliance we’re seeing really great activity and momentum and growth and it’s a good time. To use a water analogy, it’s a lot easier to catch a wave and get ahead that way, than to paddle upstream. And this is a time when the whole field is growing. And to be able to grow and grow womens’ participation even more in higher ed enrollments and graduations at that time is a really great opportunity and we’re seeing a lot of people doing that. In the Workforce Alliance one of the things that’s become painfully clear, as one looks at the data is that there’s a big attrition of women at mid career, far more than men. And so one of the main things that our corporations are working on are ways to address and solve that problem. And then finally I’ll mention the K-12 space. It really feels like this is a pivotal time for computing in the K-12 space. There’ve been movements for awhile now about reforming CSAP, about getting more, many more K-12 teachers into the computing field and there’s a lot of energy building around that. And that’s a movement that’s far bigger than NCWIT; but, NCWIT us turning out to be an important partner in that movement. So those are just three of the things that are coming. Of course, a reminder again that this is not about a team that is an NCWIT headquarters or somewhere else, it’s about every person in this room and many people who are not able to be in this room today. And then finally a few things on the housekeeping side. First of all, as you know the next in many ways core feature of this meeting are the Alliance meetings which will commence in a few minutes. And it says check your program for a location near you. So, it’ll say what locations those are each in. There’ll be lunch after that and then a new feature of the NCWIT meetings, we’re having flash talks to kick off the afternoon sessions. If you haven’t seen flash talks before, these are five-minute talks where the slides advance by themselves. Somebody else controls your life and so it can be a very interesting process to be a part of so you’ll wanna be here for that. And then finally I think you all know what the organization is this evening. There are two options there. You can either sign up and there’s sign up sheets right out there for the birds and the feather dinners and like any good birds you have to figure out how they’re gonna flock together and get to where you’re going and birds also have to pay for their own dinners. [audience laughter] Somehow we lost that one. Or there is the Innovator Award. For the first time we’re presenting this award which is organized by the Entrepreneurial Alliance at the national summit. It’s being presented this year to a Jessica Jackley who is the cofounder of Kiva. It’s an award that goes to a woman who has played a leadership role in founding an organization or corporation in the technical space and it’ll be held at the Broadcast Communications Museum which is just a couple blocks from here and there’s a map there. And my favorite part of the little script that I was handed is, I’ll blame Lucy, that Lucy wrote me and it says here, drinks and apps provided. [audience laughter] So for all of you who think you’re gonna get something really neat for your phone, I think that actually meant appetizers and not apps. [audience laughter] So with that you have your schedule for the Alliance meetings and I hope everybody has great meetings, thank you. [audience applauding]

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