NCWIT: Join a Regional Award for Aspirations in Computing Affiliate

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


CISE researchers can participate in regional award groups, called “Affiliates.” CISE researchers can host, or just volunteer time, for regional awards. Each Affiliate is a partnership between regional organizations and businesses to coordinate their local ecosystem in support of the Aspirations Program each season (an academic-based year). These events can be a good recruiting opportunity for colleges, universities and future employers.

Computing departments often host the event on campus and/or offer scholarships to high school winners if they join their department as a first year college student. Scholarships have ranged from one-time awards of $500 to $6,000 for each eligible year of college.

Each Affiliate is defined by aggregating a collection of counties which may cross State borders depending on the natural cultural, academic and business affiliations and boundaries of a region. Every area within the US is covered by an Affiliate, as is Guam, Puerto Rico, our Overseas Military Bases, and the US Virgin Islands. NCWIT supports our Affiliates with infrastructure, research, guidance and other resources in hopes of creating strong, sustainable, local ecosystems to further women in tech.

Your department must be an NCWIT Academic Alliance member to participate. Your department may already be a member of our Alliance, which is over 600+ strong. The approximate time commitment: varies by region and level of involvement (~10-40 hours).

How to use this Activity in your BPC Plan:

Not sure how to use this activity in your plan? Copy and paste the text into your BPC Plan, customizing as needed.

1. Context & Goals

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. Evaluation

[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.


Level(s) Targeted by Program
High School

URG(s) Targeted by Program
American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic, LGBTQ, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Persons with Disabilities, Women

Program Costs
None. The Award for Aspirations in Computing is financially supported by NCWIT’s generous members and sponsors.

Program Matching Funds Available?
Not Applicable

Program Interest Form