NCWIT and Symantec Provide Funding to Student-run Computing Outreach Programs

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The NCWIT Student Seed Fund, sponsored by Symantec, attracts women and underrepresented groups in computing through student-run recruitment and retention efforts.

NCWIT Student Seed Fund logo
Considering that the lack of experience often hinders interest in a CS major, engaging outreach projects that expose computing concepts are critical for adding more young women and minorities to the pool of undergraduate CS degree recipients.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today awarded $10,000 to the ninth-round recipients of the NCWIT Student Seed Fund. Sponsored by Symantec, the Student Seed Fund supports student-run programs designed to increase both the number and meaningful participation of women and minority students in computing at K-12 or collegiate education levels.

With Symantec’s support, the NCWIT Student Seed Fund has awarded projects, programs, and events with $73,250, contributing to the reach of 100 student computing organizations nationwide with technology-related learning opportunities. Initiatives include programming workshops, peer mentoring and support, professional training, afterschool programs, and more.

“The NCWIT Student Seed Fund exemplifies outreach projects that can pave the way for students to choose computing in formal education tracks,” said Lucy Sanders, NCWIT CEO and Co-founder. “Considering that the lack of experience often hinders interest in a CS major, engaging outreach projects that expose computing concepts are critical for adding more young women and minorities to the pool of undergraduate CS degree recipients that enter into the workforce.”

The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that there will be approximately 1.2 million computing-related job openings by 2022. At the current rate, U.S. computing undergraduates could fill only 39% of these jobs. Furthermore, in the U.S. in 2012, women earned 57% of all undergraduate degrees. Yet, women earned less than one-fifth of all computer and information sciences undergraduate degrees and engineering degrees. Discover more statistics about women and IT at http://www.ncwit.org/scorecard.

“Presenting students, especially young women, with these unique computing opportunities encourages them to pursue some of the most available, lucrative careers,” said Antoine Andrews, Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion at Symantec. “Consequently, the workforce becomes more diverse, leading to innovations that could only be produced with their skillful talent.”

Following are the recipients of the ninth round of the NCWIT Student Seed Fund. Each will receive $1,000 in support of their recruitment, retention, and encouragement efforts:

  • California State University, Channel Islands will host a three-day boot camp to expose students to programming in a collaborative, focused environment.
  • Columbus State University will arrange a computing day for fourth- and fifth-grade girls to gain experience with computational thinking and problem solving, as well as to encourage them to consider studies and careers in technology.
  • Michigan State University aims to coordinate a “Teach Workshop” for underrepresented students at STEM Academy.
  • Smith College intends to send a group of 30 students to attend the Harvard Women Engineers (WECode) Conference, which brings women together to learn about CS opportunities and establish meaningful relationships with one another.
  • University of California, Irvine will conduct multiple events for young women at Garden Grove High Schools to cultivate their interest in technology through mentorship and a series of hands-on workshops.
  • University of Connecticut aims to organize a two-day, hands-on workshop for up to 40 middle and high school students. Students will choose from six different programs and will be advised by an UConn undergraduate student.
  • University of North Carolina, Charlotte plans to teach mobile app development fundamentals over a ten-week course, followed by another ten-week course on embedded systems and their relationship to smartphones and participatory sensing.
  • University of Pittsburgh will host an all-women’s hackathon for undergraduate women at the University of Pittsburgh.
  • University of South Florida intends to provide a roadshow that consists of an interactive presentation, a programming contest, and a mentoring session.
  • Washington State University, Pullman will create hands-on programming projects for students and organize presentations about the exciting research and career opportunities that women in computing are pursuing at Washington State University.

The Student Seed Fund is an award of the NCWIT Academic Alliance, bringing together more than 1,000 distinguished representatives charged with implementing institutional change in higher education computing programs. Find out more at http://www.ncwit.org/aa.

About NCWIT
The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 575 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.

NCWIT receives significant financial support from Strategic Partners NSF (the National Science Foundation), Microsoft, Bank of America, Google, and Intel, as well as from Investment Partners Avaya, Pfizer, Merck, Turner Broadcasting Systems, Inc., AT&T, Bloomberg, and Hewlett-Packard.

About Symantec
Symantec Corporation (NASDAQ: SYMC) is an information protection expert that helps people, businesses and governments seeking the freedom to unlock the opportunities technology brings -- anytime, anywhere. Founded in April 1982, Symantec, a Fortune 500 company, operating one of the largest global data-intelligence networks, has provided leading security, backup and availability solutions for where vital information is stored, accessed and shared. The company's more than 20,000 employees reside in more than 50 countries. Ninety-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies are Symantec customers. In fiscal 2014, it recorded revenues of $6.7 billion. To learn more go to http://www.symantec.com or connect with Symantec at: go.symantec.com/socialmedia.

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Adriane Bradberry
NCWIT
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