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BOULDER, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) today announced the winners of its second round of Academic Alliance Seed Fund awards. The Academic Alliance Seed Fund was established in 2007 to provide members of NCWITs Academic Alliance with startup funds (up to $15,000 per project) to develop and implement projects for recruiting and retaining women in computing and information technology. Funding for the Seed Fund is provided by Microsoft Research.

“We’re extremely grateful to
Microsoft for its support.”

The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund is stimulating innovative ways to increase diversity in computing and IT, said NCWIT CEO Lucy Sanders. Were extremely grateful to Microsoft for its support.

The NCWIT Academic Alliance includes more than 65 computer science and IT departments across the country including research universities, community colleges, womens colleges, and minority-serving institutions dedicated to gender equity and institutional change in higher education computing and information technology. Following is a description of the four award-winning projects:

The University of Texas at Austin will use its $10,000 Academic Alliance Seed Fund Award to create PowerUp, a Saturday Morning Computer Science Club designed to provide a continuous outlet for engaging middle and high school students in computer science (CS) concepts and opening their minds to future CS careers. The project will build awareness about computer science, encourage students to take CS courses in high school, build an ongoing relationship with students, and provide information about majoring in CS in college.

The Girl Empowerment and Mentoring (GEM) for Computing Project at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL) will inspire secondary school girls to study computing at the post-secondary level. The $15,000 Academic Alliance Fund Award will provide 60-100 secondary school girls with the skills and interest for IT as well as big sister mentors from UNLs Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department. The secondary school girls will learn about CS topics and applications, education, and careers; the big sisters will gain valuable mentoring and leadership skills for their careers.

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will use its $15,000 award to launch a new program Golisano Scholars that establishes a two-week residential summer honors program geared to junior and senior high school women. The Scholars Program will introduce the women to computer science using a contextual approach and project-based involvement. Additionally, RIT will also leverage the success of its existing "Kids on Campus" program to target women in grades 10-12. Kids on Campus supports academic enrichment in science, math, and technology through innovative, IT-intensive activities.

"JUST BE" at Indiana University is an interactive road show where undergraduate and graduate students travel to Indiana K-12 schools to deliver a highly interactive and educational presentation aimed at dispelling gender and race-based myths on careers in information technology. Over the last three years, JUST BE has reached more than 1,500 school-age children and 250 college freshmen. "JUST BE: Making IT Real" will use its $15,000 award to develop fun, interactive, team-based activities for high school students, incorporating basic computing concepts using sensors, robots and pervasive computing.

The deadline for round 3 of NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund proposals is June 1, 2008. Information about the Seed Fund program, including proposal requirements, the review process, and how to become an eligible Academic Alliance member, is available at


NCWIT is a coalition of more than 100 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to increase women's participation in information technology (IT). NCWIT member organizations believe that women's participation in IT impacts innovation, competitiveness, and workforce sustainability. Member organizations include Apple, Avaya, Bank of America, Catalyst, Cisco, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Georgia Tech, Google, Harvard, HP, Intel, IBM, Kauffman Foundation, Lehman Brothers, MIT, Microsoft, Motorola, National Science Foundation, University of Texas at El Paso, University of Illinois UC, Pfizer, Princeton, Qualcomm, Sally Ride Science, Spelman, Stanford, Sun, University of Colorado, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, University of Washington, Wal-Mart, and many more. Visit us at



National Center for Women & Information Technology
Jenny Slade, 303-735-6600

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