As the reach and awareness of the
program increase, so do the number of
applications, with 54% more girls applying in the 2013 season compared to
2012. With the increase in the number
of applicants and regional awards, the
number of winners and runners-up has
also increased (see Figure 1).
The high school girls being rec-
females in choosing a major and a ca-
reer. 1 Programs like Aspirations can
help to inoculate girls against feeling
like a misfit.
Role models also can influence girls’
decisions to pursue computing. 1 Such
role models, however, are often less
available for those students who do not
come from affluent communities, positions of privilege, or school systems
that provide high access to computing
courses. 1 Some Aspirations awardees
fall into these categories: In 2013, for
example, 10% were from schools with
40% or more free or reduced lunch, 61%
reported being a racial/ethnic minority, and many came from schools with
few or no rigorous computing classes.
One of the most important characteristics of a role model is that girls perceive these role models as “relatable”
and similar to themselves in important
ways. Awardees have reported that the
support they receive and the role models they see among Aspirations awardees and NCWIT staff are essential to
their continued pursuit of computing.
a Solution: the nc Wit
Since 2007, NCWIT has been support-
ing young women through the NCWIT
Award for Aspirations in Comput-
ing. Awardees are selected for their
computing and IT aptitude, leader-
ship ability, academic history, and
plans for post-secondary education.
The NCWIT Aspirations Award has
a national competition as well as lo-
cal competitions in all 50 states, plus
Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and
the U.S. Virgin Islands.
figure 1. 2007–2013 aspirations awards.
8% 24% 29%
winners runner-up non-awardee
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
national winners of the nc Wit aspirations in computing award at the nc Wit Summit in may, 2013.