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Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New coalition led by IU offers support to high school-age women interested in IT

Sept. 14, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As part of an effort to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology, the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) and the Indiana STARS Coalition of universities, which is led by Indiana University, are now seeking applications from high school women for the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing.

Award-winners will be selected for their outstanding aptitude and interest in information technology and computing, solid leadership ability, good academic history and plans for post-secondary education.

Maureen Biggers

Maureen Biggers, associate dean for diversity and education at IU Bloomington's School of Informatics and Computing, said up to 20 high school-age women interested in information technology could receive awards through the new program.

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"Encouraging young women's interest in technology careers is critical: Our workforce needs their creativity and their innovation," said Lucy Sanders, CEO and co-founder of NCWIT. "This award helps us recognize and encourage talent that might otherwise be overlooked."

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing was created to acknowledge the computing aspirations of young women, introduce them to leadership opportunities in the field and generate visibility for women's participation in computing-related pursuits. The national award is sponsored by the Bank of America.

Each national award winner will receive:

  • $500 in cash
  • A laptop computer to enhance each student's future in technology
  • An engraved award for both the student and the student's school
  • A trip to the National Award Ceremony for the award recipient and a parent/guardian.

In order to recognize even more outstanding young women in technology, NCWIT is partnering with Indiana University and other partner organizations to offer the Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing for the young women from around the state of Indiana.

Indiana partners include Barnes & Thornburg, ChalkLabs, Liberty Mutual, OneAmerica, Women & High Tech and the Indiana Society for Information Management. University partners include Indiana University Bloomington, IUPUI, University of Notre Dame, Purdue University, Butler University, DePauw University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana University Southeast and IPFW.

Affiliate sponsors also include Microsoft, Motorola and Google. Up to 20 young Indiana affiliate winners will receive $250 cash, an engraved award for the student and her school, scholarships to selected Indiana colleges provided they attend and choose a computing related major, and a gift bag.

Applicants can choose to enter the state competition, the national competition or both. The award is open to any U.S. high school level female (grades 9-12). Applications must be submitted online at no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, Oct. 15, 2010. Affiliate award packages vary by state and details on the Indiana Affiliate Competition can be found at the NCWIT website.

The Indiana STARS Computing Coalition is a new and multi-purposed community that is launching a strategic net across the state of Indiana. Made up of university, industry, K-12 and community partners, it will focus on a collaborative promotion of computing-related majors and career opportunities and a broadening of participation of underrepresented Indiana talent (women and minorities) who know computing and IT.

"The group is promoting ways computing is collaborative, makes a difference for people, is creative and can combine interests with just about any other academic interest area," said Maureen Biggers, assistant dean for diversity and education at the IU School of Informatics and Computing. "Organizing the Indiana Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing is a first step toward increasing awareness of these opportunities."

Biggers and Dennis Groth, associate dean at the IU School of Informatics and Computing, are co-investigators on the National Science Foundation planning grant for Indiana STARS. Biggers is also co-chair of the Academic Alliance for the National Center for Women in Information Technology.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computing-related jobs rank among the top 10 fastest growing occupations, have some of the highest entry level salaries of any bachelor's degree, and are connected to a wide range of career options, including film, finance, health care, journalism, security and music.

National Center for Women & Information Technology

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a coalition of more than 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in information technology (IT). To find out more visit

To speak with Biggers or Sanders, please contact Steve Chaplin, University Communications, at 812-856-1896 or