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NCWIT Encourages Young Women through the Aspirations in Computing Program

Twelve young female high school students received the Award for Aspirations in Computing from the NCWIT (The National Center for Women & Technology) in a day-long event held in late February. The NCWIT is a non-profit community of 600 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s involvement in computing and technology. UT Dallas Computer Science Department is an active member of the NCWIT.

The NCWIT annually gives out the Award for Aspirations in Computing to female high-school students for their computing-related achievements and interests. Award recipients are selected based on their aptitude and aspirations in technology and computing, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education. The award recipients receive opportunities for scholarships, internships, research experiences, and other educational and employment opportunities provided by NCWIT member organizations. UTD offers the recipients a scholarship of $2,000 minimum for winners who enroll in a degree program offered by the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computing Science. An educator award was also presented as part of the day-long event to a teacher from Trinity Academy.

The awards were given out at the MTBC (Metroplex Technology Business Council) monthly luncheon meeting. Sponsors included UTD, UNT, Bank of American, Via West and others. A representative from AT&T gave the keynote speech on Big Data. The afternoon was spent at UTD where the award recipients were given a tour of ViaWest and the UTDesign facilities.

During the afternoon session students from the UTD and UNT gave short presentations on the decisions that led them to pursue a career in computer science and their educational experiences. UTD students Grace Kaldawi (President of Women Who Compute), Junia Valente a Ph.D. Candidate in Software Engineering, and Corrin Thompson (President of the Computer Security Group) spoke of their career choices and experiences. Prof. Janell Straach represented the faculty at the event. Describing the afternoon she said “I think the best part of the day is when the award recipients get to hear from our students about what they are doing. It then turns from being about aspirations to being about inspirations.”

“This award is a huge stepping stone,” said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. “The recognition and visibility these young women receive lead to educational and workforce opportunities in technology, encouraging them to persist in one of the fastest-growing and most stable fields. We are excited to support these young women as they continue on their paths to success.”

The Department of Computer Science at UT Dallas is one of the largest CS departments in the United States with more than 1300 undergraduate, 1150 master, and 150 PhD students.  The Department is committed to pursuing excellence in teaching and research in a culture that is as daring as it is supportive.

NCWIT Aspirations Award Feb 2015
Grace Kaldawi (President of Women Who Compute)

NCWIT Aspirations award feb 2015

Aspirations award 2015 feb

Corrin Thompson (President of the UTD  Computer Security Group)
Corrin Thompson (President of the UTD Computer Security Group)


Junia Valente
Junia Valente

For more information on the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing please visit

To view the Aspirations Affiliate Award Recipients click here


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