Computing Professors Receive NCWIT Research Mentoring Award for Work with Students

August 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Every thing you Need to Know

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) has announced the inaugural recipients of its annual Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award. The recipients were selected for their outstanding mentorship, creation of high-quality research opportunities, recruitment of women and minority students, and efforts to encourage and advance undergraduate students in computing-related fields.

Following are the 2012 NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award-winners:

Dr. Diana Franklin: Tenure-Equivalent Teaching Faculty in the Department of Computer Science at UCSB, Santa Barbara, California. Dr. Franklin has developed a retention pipeline by recruiting students during their freshman year and she has mentored 18 students, half of whom are female or from other underrepresented groups.

Dr. Juan Gilbert: IDEaS Professor and Chair at the Human-Centered Computing Division, Clemson University School of Computing, Clemson, South Carolina. Dr. Gilbert’s research lab is home to nearly 8% of the nation’s African-American computer science PhD students, many of whom joined his group through a summer research experience. Of his undergraduate protégés, 88% have continued on to graduate school.

Dr. Scott McCrickard: Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. Dr. McCrickard conducted specific, targeted outreach to undergraduate women by partnering with local women’s colleges. He directed Virginia Tech’s REU Site Project for the National Science Foundation, which had 43% female participation.

Dr. Mingrui Zhang: Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota. Though his department’s student body is only 4% female, Dr. Zhang’s actively recruits women to his research programs and seeks funding to support them. He is a recipient of the 2010 Microsoft Graduate Women Scholars Award.

Students often cite the importance of an individual faculty mentor whose support influenced their educational and career path. Data show that research experiences for undergraduates (REUs) help faculty mentors make a difference in students’ lives and provide a pathway to graduate degrees and research careers. REUs can be particularly important for women, who earn only 18% of all bachelor’s degrees in computing.

“These outstanding individuals are measurably increasing the participation and retention of undergraduate women in computing, by using research opportunities to guide them to graduate school and professional careers,” said NCWIT CEO, Lucy Sanders. “NCWIT is proud to recognize their work and we hope they will inspire others.”


The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of organizations working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology from K-12 through college education and from academic to corporate and entrepreneurial careers. Members of the NCWIT Academic Alliance – more than 500 distinguished faculty from more than 200 colleges and universities across the country – work to increase the number of women graduating with computing and technology degrees, with access to leading-edge practices for recruiting and retaining women and a supportive peer community. find out more at

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