NCWIT, Google.org, and ACM-W Announce Initiative to Scale Student Computing Groups on Campuses Nationwide

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A $500,000 initiative will directly fund student groups for technical women, develop a national infrastructure, and create tools for groups to succeed.

... the ACM-W regional celebrations of women in computing have made a significant impact by providing a community for technical women. This project will create that peer community on campuses for women students year-round.

At the 2015 SIGCSE Technical Symposium last week, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), Google.org, and ACM-W announced a $500,000 investment in support of student computing groups at U.S. post-secondary institutions.

This initiative will dramatically increase the capacity for student computing groups by growing the national infrastructure and creating tools for chapter sustainability, while investing directly in student groups including seed funds to launch 35 new ACM-W chapters; $5,000 awards to amplify the impact of existing chapters; and moonshot awards (up to $15,000 each) for established chapters to launch institution-wide projects.

Representatives from each organization were on hand to make the announcement: Ruthe Farmer, Chief Strategy and Growth Officer, NCWIT; Chris Busselle, Principal, Google.org; and Gloria Townsend, Student Chapters Project Chair, ACM-W.

“We’ve seen how the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program, the Grace Hopper conference, and the ACM-W regional celebrations of women in computing have made a significant impact by providing a community for technical women,” said Ruthe Farmer. “This project will create that peer community on campuses for women students year-round.”

“Google is committed to increasing the diversity of computer science graduates in the U.S. We believe investing in campus groups will provide critical peer networks for technical women both in college and ultimately throughout their careers,” said Chris Busselle, Principal at Google.org who leads Google’s computer science education philanthropy.

“ACM-W has collaborated with NCWIT on several ventures over the years, and we are very excited to participate in this new project which will help us greatly increase the number of ACM-W student chapters, better connect chapters, and help develop leadership skills among chapter participants. In our view, this is an extremely positive step towards transforming the environment for women CS students on campuses nationwide,” said Valerie Barr, Chair, ACM-W.

This new initiative corresponds with additional NCWIT programs such as the NCWIT Student Seed Fund (sponsored by Symantec) that has awarded $73,250 to student-run computing programs nationwide, as well as NCWIT research and resources such as Regional Celebrations-in-a-Box (developed in partnership with ACM-W). Research shows that student groups can increase members' confidence and enjoyment of their studies, help reduce their feelings of isolation, dispel common myths and stereotypes, and empower members to actively recruit and mentor others.

About NCWIT

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 600 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. Find out more at http://www.ncwit.org.

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, AT&T, Bloomberg, and Hewlett-Packard. View all of NCWIT’s supporters at http://www.ncwit.org/about/supporters.

About ACM-W

ACM-W is the Association for Computing Machinery Council on Women in Computing. Our mission is to support, celebrate, and advocate internationally for women in computing. We contribute to improved recruitment and retention of women in computing primarily through our celebrations of women in computing, ACM-W chapters, and scholarships for women computing students to attend research conferences. ACM-W student chapters, in particular, play an important role in the development of a supportive environment for women CS students.

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Adriane Bradberry
NCWIT
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