At the University of Maryland—the Maryland Center for Women in Computing—is committed to making computer science a field that includes people from all backgrounds. MCWIC envisions a vibrant community of scholars, researchers, students and others coming together to increase the involvement—and success—of anyone interested in earning a computing degree.
Why support Women in Computing?
- While women have been at the forefront of many exciting moments in the history of computing only three women have ever won the prestigious Turing Award.
- According to NCWIT, 57% of all 2014 bachelor's degree recipients were women. Only 17% of all computer and information science bachelor’s degree students went to women. (NCWIT- By the Numbers 2016)
- There has been a 21% increase in the number of first-year undergraduate women interested in majoring in Computer Science between 2000-2015. (NCWIT- By the Numbers 2016)
- At the University of Maryland, 18% of our undergraduate students are women majoring in computer science. Currently, 46.1% of the undergraduate students at the university are women.
How Are We Bringing More Extraordinary Women Into Computing?
The Maryland Center of Women in Computing
- supports, educates and mentors women majoring in computing fields at the University of Maryland
- collaborates with the K-12 community in order to to encourage all students especially those from underrepresented populations to participate in computing
- sustains a vibrant community of scholars, researchers, students and educators working together to increase the involvement—and success—of women interested in earning a computer science and other technical degrees
- fosters a supportive, collaborative community for current undergraduate and graduate women studying computing at the university through a dedicated learning and meeting space
The Center is supported by the University of Maryland’s Department of Computer Science, the University’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS). Additional support comes from our corporate sponsors.
Learn more about our specific programs here and by reviewing our news and events tab.
View the MCWIC Flyer
Today’s world demands that we interact with computers and technology. This interaction involves education, employment, finance, entertainment and health care. It is important for all members of society to be included in the new discoveries, innovations, and revolutions that come at the result of work in computer science. As founding members of the field, women should continue to play an important role in computing and technology-related fields. However, as of 2014,the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) reports that only 17 percent of undergraduate computing and information science degrees were awarded to women in 2014, down from 37 percent in 1985. The aim of MCWIC is to increase the number of women and underrepresented minority majoring in computer science.
For over 20 years, efforts to support women in computing were apparent at the University of Maryland. Many of these programs centered around the formation of the Association for Women in Computing (AWC), Computer Science Women, and later our outreach programs. As each of these programs grew and expanded, it was clear a unified center was needed to capture the effort to bring more women into the field of computing and further grow the computing pipeline. As a way to formalize the important work being done by these organizations the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CNMS), The Department of Computer Science, and the University’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), worked together to form the Maryland Center for Women in Computing (MCWIC) in 2014.
We offer a series of outreach programs for K–12 girls aimed to spark an interest in computer science at an early age, showing them that it is both fun and accessible. These programs include an immersive multi-year curriculum for middle school girls, designed to catalyze and sustain their interest in technology. University of Maryland undergraduates serve as student ambassadors and aspirational peers. Participants learn the mechanics behind social media, the importance of cybersecurity, and why computer science is essential to almost any career that demands critical thinking and decision-‐making skills.
Retention programs specific to the University of Maryland that support female computer science majors throughout their undergraduate and graduate experience. This includes scholarships, mentoring and peer networking opportunities, along with workshops that allow female computer science majors to see firsthand the breadth and options available to them in industry and academia. The center also works to build community. The MCWIC lounge is availible for female computing students to gather, share ideas, and interact with peers and mentors.
Dr. Jan Plane- Director
Dr. Jan is the Director of the Maryland Center for Women in Computing, and Associate-Director of ACES (the first undergraduate cybersecurity honors program). She has been a faculty member in UMD's Computer Science Department since 1990. For 15 years of those years, she also worked on university computer science capacity building projects in sub-Saharan Africa and Afghanistan. She holds graduate degrees in both computer science and education; her work focuses on computer science education - curriculum development, pedagogical methods and underrepresented populations in computing. She encourages both quality of content and access to computing for students (elementary-school to graduate-school) through teaching, outreach programs and teacher professional development.
Kate Atchison- Assistant Director
Kate is the Assistant Director of the Center, and joined UMD in 2016. Previously, she worked at UMBC in the Career Center for four years. Kate received her M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Florida State University and her B.A. in Communication from the University of Tennessee. At MCWIC, Kate oversees the event logistics, student programs, Grace Hopper Scholarship program, and the MCWIC Ambassadors and Tutors.
Samantha Ammons - Graduate Assistant
Samantha Ammons is a second-year MPH student in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. In 2014, Ms. Ammons received a BA in Government in Politics with a minor in International Relations and Conflict Management from University of Maryland, College Park. After graduating from UMD, Samantha worked at the Henry M. Jackson Foundation's U.S Military HIV Research Program as a Program Assistant and at Westat as a Research Assistant in the Evaluation Research Department. Samantha coordinates the Cyber Camps and supports event management, student programs, and data analysis for MCWIC.
Beth Davis - Graduate Assistant
Maryland Center for Women in Computing Teaching Ambassadors
Teaching Ambassadors are selected for the Summer and the academic year. View more about this program here.
Stacy George: Spring 2015- Present (Primary Student Worker)
Kate Mann: Spring 2017- Present
Elana Katzen: Fall 2016-Present
Krithika Ramanathan- Summer 2017-Present
Rachel Walter- Fall 2017- Presen
Trulee Riley- Fall 2017- Present
Summer Teaching Ambassadors - 2018
Sahana Rao- Spring 2017- Present
Project Rise-Up 4 CS High School Tutors
Hannah Rosen-Spring 2017- Present
Jacqueline Deprey- Fall 2017- Present
Saebin Jang- Fall 2017- Present
MCWIC directly supports two student organizations.
Association of Women in Computing officers can be found here
GradWomen chairs can be contacted by emailing the Center.