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NCWIT: Aspirations in Computing Award Application Reviewer

Org: National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT)


The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) offers an award each year for high school and college female students who have shown interest in and achievements relative to computing. CISE researchers can volunteer to review award applications. NCWIT receives thousands of applications in the last quarter of each calendar year, and we need reviewers. You can review as few as 5 applications, or as many as you want. Some ambitious reviewers have completed hundreds of reviews!

The thousands of applicants are reviewed by at least 4 reviewers according to a rubric provided. High school award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing; leadership ability; academic history; and plans for post-secondary education. Undergraduate and graduate award recipients are selected based on submitting technical projects that demonstrate a high level of creativity and potential societal impact.

You will not only be inspired by the amazing accomplishments of these students interested in computing, you will be giving back by helping to complete the award cycle, thus strengthening your institutional connection to this network of women in technology.

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing provides a long-term community for female technologists, from high school through higher education and beyond, encouraging persistence in computing through continuous engagement and ongoing encouragement at each pivotal stage of their educational and professional development. Winning an AiC award offers high school women encouragement and recognition for their computing-related achievements, builds computing self-efficacy and supports long-term retention. It also helps academic and corporate organizations celebrate diversity in computing by honoring young women for their interests and achievements.

Your department does not need to be an NCWIT Academic Alliance member to participate. The approximate time commitment varies per person, depending upon how many applications you wish to review. We ask for a minimum of 5 application reviews per person (from 1-10+ hours).

How to use this Activity in your Project BPC Plan:

Not sure how to use this activity in your Project BPC Plan? Once you customize the red text, this activity should fit the checklist for Project BPC Plans. Disclaimer: Using this text in your Project Plan does not guarantee NSF approval of your BPC Plan.

Interested in this activity for your Departmental BPC Plan? Summarize the content below to fit the checklist for Departmental BPC Plans. Disclaimer: Using this text in your Departmental Plan does not guarantee BPCnet Verification of your BPC Plan.

If you intend to use this activity in your BPC Plan (Departmental or Project), be sure to submit the Program Interest form, found at the bottom of the page, so this organization is aware of your intended participation.


Activity Summary

In each year, the PI will serve as a reviewer for a local Aspirations in Computing Award and help coordinate the local celebration. The PI will attempt to secure funding from the department to offer scholarships to award winners.

1. Context & Goals

Context: [Provide currently available data. Including IPEDS and K-12 data from here]

Goal: The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program is an encouragement program for young women in high school and college who aspire to go into the field of computing. By participating in the Aspirations program, the PI will learn more about local efforts to bring more women into the field, and will contribute to this regional and national impactful BPC effort. 

Activity Motivation: The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program seeks to encourage participation in computing among high school and college women. As noted in the Context section above, women are underrepresented among AP CS test takers in the state and among students in CS at the institution. Encouragement (DuBow et al, 2016; Hong et al, 2014; Wang et al, 2015) and recognition (DuBow et al, 2016; Espinosa, 2011; Carlone & Johnson, 2007) are key levers that the community can use to increase the participation of women in the field. The majority of Aspirations winners go on to major or minor in computing (NCWIT evaluation report).

2. Intended Population

Activity Participants: [The PI (Note – multiple PIs could participate – update as needed)].

Participant Recruitment: N/A.

3. Strategy

Activity Content: Each year of the grant, [the PI] will serve as a volunteer for a local Aspirations in Computing Award. This will involve serving as a reviewer of applications ( and helping to support a regional award celebration ( 

Activity Budget: $2000. With funding from the NSF, [the PI] will provide a scholarship to any Aspirations in Computing award winners should they attend [the PI]’s institution. If students make use of the scholarship, [the PI] will attempt to secure additional scholarships from the department for future years. 

Responsibilities of PIs: Each year, [the PI] will review applications, serve as a volunteer for an event, and attempt to secure a scholarship for award winners.

4. Preparation

The PI has registered as a volunteer to read applications and has contacted the lead volunteer for the local award event. [The PI] has discussed with the department chair the idea of offering a scholarship. 

5. Measurement

[The PI] will track the number of students who participated in the Aspirations in Computing program who attend the PI’s institution and which of them major in CS at the institution.  This information may be used to motivate the department to fund additional scholarships, and/or motivate others in the department to review Aspirations applications or otherwise get involved.


Intended Level(s)
Graduate, High School, Undergraduate

Intended Population
American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic, LGBTQ, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Persons with Disabilities, Women

Program Costs

Program Matching Funds Available?
Not Applicable

Program Interest Form