Last modified: Wednesday, September 7, 2011
IU-led computing coalition, NCWIT announce computing competition for state's high school girls
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 7, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), along with an Indiana Univeristy-led consortium of state universities and local corporate sponsors called Indiana STARS, have kicked off the second annual Indiana Aspirations in Computing Award competition.
Twenty young women will be recognized for their computing-related achievements and interests in a competition that is part of a nationwide effort spearheaded by NCWIT to introduce young women to leadership opportunities in the field of computing, to generate visibility for women's participation in the field and ultimately to encourage more young women to choose careers in technology. Winners are acknowledged for their outstanding aptitude and interest in technology and computing, leadership ability, academic history and plans for post-secondary education.
To enter, students should submit an application online at www.ncwit.org/award between Sept. 15 and Oct. 15. Winners will be notified in early December and will be honored at an awards celebration in Indianapolis in January 2012. All young women in grades 9-12 in Indiana are eligible to enter. Each winner will receive $250, scholarship opportunities from several computing departments throughout the state of Indiana, engraved plaques for themselves and their school, a T-shirt and a gift bag.
Last year's winners were selected from a pool of more than 100 applicants from 17 high schools statewide, and the award has provided many with inspiration to pursue their interest in technology at the next level. Amy (last name omitted upon request), a 2010 winner from Mt. Vernon who plans to study engineering, said, "When I found out about this award, I was ecstatic. This was a big deal, because at Mt. Vernon, there aren't a lot of technology classes. It's not that I'm not smart enough, it's just our high school doesn't have the money to offer more advanced technology classes."
"Encouraging young women's interest in technology careers is critical. Our workforce needs their creativity and innovation," said Lucy Sanders, CEO and co-founder of NCWIT. "This award allows us to recognize and encourage talent that might otherwise be overlooked."
Indiana STARS is part of a National Science Foundation planning grant led by Maureen Biggers, assistant dean for diversity and education at the IU School of Informatics and Computing, and Dennis Groth, associate dean at the IU School of Informatics and Computing. They, along with a group of Indiana University and corporate sponsors, are promoting computing-related majors and career opportunities as well as a broadening of participation of underrepresented Indiana talent (women and minorities) who know computing and IT.
"We want young people to understand the ways computing is collaborative, makes a difference for people, is creative and can combine interests with just about any other academic interest area," said Biggers. "This competition is a positive step toward increasing awareness, and we look forward to impacting the lives of young women in Indiana when we announce the winners. Sponsors are always welcome (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we hope readers will encourage high school girls to apply."
NCWIT is the National Center for Women & Information Technology, a non-profit coalition of more than 200 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies and nonprofits working to improve U.S. innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability by increasing women's participation in IT. NCWIT's work spans K-12 and higher education through industry and academic careers. Find out more at www.ncwit.org.