National Center for Women & Information Technology

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing

Challenge

Efforts that introduce young women to computing are often episodic touchpoints lacking research-based elements that encourage persistence.

Actions

NCWIT Aspirations in Computing (AiC) provides a longitudinal community for female technologists, from K- 12 through higher education and beyond, encouraging persistence in computing through continuous engagement and encouragement at each pivotal stage of their educational and professional development.

Thousands of technically-inclined girls and women learn through computing-related activities, network at virtual and in- person meetups, receive visibility and recognition for technical achievements, and grow leadership and entrepreneurial skills by leading computing outreach programs in their local communities.

Additionally, they gain exclusive access to scholarships, internships, and career opportunities. All of these benefits are made possible by NCWIT Alliance Members, AiC peers in the network, and adult influencers who serve as volunteers and mentors. This collective investment is making a considerable and sustainable impact on future technology and innovation by increasing women’s meaningful participation. aspirations.org

Outcomes

  • The national AiC Community, the largest network of its kind, includes nearly 10,000 technical women.
  • Ninety-one percent of past Award for AiC winners report pursuing a major or minor in a STEM field while in college 77 percent in computer science or engineering.
  • Since 2013, nearly 8,000 K-12 girls have received an estimated 240,000 instruction hours in computing fundamentals through 300 AspireIT programs in 40 states. Using a scalable franchise model, AspireIT is on track to reach 10,000 girls by 2018.
  • Fifty-one percent of 2016 Award for AiC applicants identified as a person of color.
  • Nearly 400 AiC Educator Award winners have received funding for professional development.
  • NCWIT Collegiate Award winners receive national media attention for their mobile applications, devices,
    visualization tools, and more.
  • More than 1,500 industry volunteers nationwide are engaged with the AiC program each year.

Top leadership support is critical to changing an organization’s culture. When organizations treat diversity like their other critical business initiatives, then real change happens. The CEO Action Pledge drives home that point and gives leaders a solid platform from which they can publicly commit to diversity, share their own initiatives, and learn from others.

Lucy Sanders, CEO & Co-founder, National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT)

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