As part of its mission to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all, Women & Hi Tech is constantly focused on enhancing and empowering females in the STEM talent pipeline. This starts in the classroom, keeping girls and young women interested in STEM and helping them overcome systemic and cultural barriers to their interest and future careers.
This year, Women & Hi Tech President Rebecca Bormann and the rest of the Board of Directors were eager to, again, seize the opportunity to partner with the Society for Information Management, Indianapolis (SIM Indy) to sponsor scholarships for the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Award for Aspirations in Computing. Through a cash honorarium and complimentary one-year student membership, Women & Hi Tech is providing tangible support for young Hoosier women who want to develop careers in computing and other STEM fields.
What is the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing?
The National Center for Women & Information Technology is a non-profit organization chartered by the National Science Foundation in 2004. This women in STEM organization seeks to increase the influential and meaningful participation of girls and women in the field of computing, particularly in areas of development and innovation.
As part of achieving this mission, the NCWIT created the Aspirations in Computing Program, a program dedicated to fostering a sense of community to conquer isolation and build long-term motivation for female STEM students. The program was awarded a 2018 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.
Part of the Aspirations in Computing Program is the Award for Aspirations in Computing (AiC). This award recognizes outstanding aptitude and interest in information technology and computing, solid leadership ability, good academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. 90% of past AiC award winners have gone on to major in STEM fields during post-secondary education.
Indiana NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing
In the spring of 2020, 25 female high school students from across the state of Indiana were recognized by the Indiana Affiliate of the NCWIT, along with another 25 honorable mentions. Women & Hi Tech in partnership with SIM Indy recognized each award winner with a $250 honorarium thanks to the support of our generous sponsors. Winners were also provided a complimentary one-year student membership to Women & Hi Tech. This provides access to the organization’s network of over 2000 Hoosier STEM professionals, as well as regular programming, networking and education events as well as opportunities for mentorship. The Indiana NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing was also sponsored by affiliates OneAmerica and Indiana University.
STEM females face barriers of inclusion and representation that can only be overcome through efforts like the Aspirations in Computing Program, and the work of Women & Hi Tech. While women were among the first computer programmers and represented the majority of human computers, today only 20% of computing jobs are held by women, and less in some sectors of the industry. With computing jobs among the highest-paying and fastest-growing, leaving women and girls behind in this economic sector is not acceptable. That is why Women & Hi Tech is so honored to recognize these young award recipients, and will continue pursuing its mission until STEM fields are equally inclusive to all.