White House Recognizes National Center For Women & IT Among "Champions of Change"

Share Article

Representatives work to increase participation of women in technology and computing

Three individuals working with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) will be among those honored at the White House today as “Champions of Change”.

The Champions of Change program, part of President Obama’s “Winning the Future” initiative, highlights a different issue each week and recognizes people across the country working to make make it better. This week’s issue is the recruitment and retention of women in STEM fields, and it coincides with Computer Science Education Week (December 4-11), recently endorsed by Congress to recognize the importance of computing education.

Of the 12 individuals being honored today by the White House, 3 work with NCWIT to promote the increased participation of women in technology and computing:

Baker Franke
Since he started teaching at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools in Chicago, Illinois, Baker Franke has worked to increase the visibility and credibility of high school computer science. Much of this work involves ensuring that women and other under-represented groups are given opportunities to succeed and he has enjoyed greater than 50% female enrollment in his computer science courses. Several of his students have won the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing, and many of the young women in his classes have gone on to major in computer science in college and take jobs in the tech industry. Last year Baker received the Google-sponsored NCWIT Educator Award, which recognizes educators for their efforts to promote gender equity in computing.

Bobby Schnabel
Bobby Schnabel is Dean of the School of Informatics at Indiana University and Co-founder and executive team member of NCWIT. He has worked throughout his career to promote computing as a core discipline and broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in computing. He serves as chair of the ACM Education Policy Committee and chair of the advisory committee for the Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions, and was a co-founder of the Alliance for the Advancement of African-American Researchers in Computing. He was a founder of the Alliance for Technology, Learning and Society (ATLAS) Institute at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the headquarters of NCWIT.

Avis Yates Rivers
Avis Yates Rivers is the President and CEO of Technology Concepts Group International, LLC, (TCGI), an information technology solutions provider and full-service equipment leasing firm. She has been named Entrepreneur of the Year, and has been recognized as one of the Top 25 African American Women in Business and one of the Top 10 Women in Technology. As a member of the NCWIT board of directors she advocates for greater awareness of diversity’s benefits to technology innovation, and the need for companies to recognize and incorporate diverse contributions.

“We’re so pleased to see these incredibly passionate, hard-working individuals be recognized on a national stage,” said Lucy Sanders, NCWIT CEO and Co-founder. “As advocates for increasing women’s participation in technology and computing, they are making the world a better place for all of us.”

In addition to the three NCWIT community members being honored as Change Champions, six winners of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing (which recognizes young women at the high school level for their computing aspirations and achievements) have been invited as guests to the White House celebration:

  • Serena Booth, from Memphis, Tennessee, likes discrete math and AI. She’s been admitted to Harvard, but is taking a gap year to work in robotics at Disney Research.
  • Marissa Halpert is a sophomore at James Madison University, where she is an Honors Scholar studying computer science.
  • Ranika Kejriwal is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in electrical engineering. She will be an intern at Microsoft and worked at Qualcomm last summer.
  • Elena Nadolinkski is a freshman at Virginia Tech, studying computer science. She has been making and selling jewelry made of computer parts since the 4th grade.
  • Allyson Perry is a senior at New Manchester High School in Georgia. She recently worked with another girl to invent a computer-controlled heated jacket to help people who suffer from anemia.
  • Vivian Stepp is a freshman at Georgia Tech. She worked at Atlanta Hartzfeld airport as an IT intern and volunteers at FIRST Lego League tournaments in Georgia.

To watch this event live, visit http://www.whitehouse.gov/live at 3:30 pm ET on Friday, December 9th.

The National Center for Women & Information Technology is a coalition of more than 300 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in information technology and computing. Find out more at http://www.ncwit.org.

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jenny Slade
(303) 735-6600
Email >