Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is partnering with Girls Who Code to offer a new scholarship program aimed at closing the gender gap in computer science and technology. WPI has pledged $100,000 per year for five Girls Who Code program graduates to attend WPI and continue their computer science–related studies. WPI president Laurie A. Leshin made the announcement during the 2016 commencement exercises, which featured Girls Who Code founder and CEO, Reshma Saujani, as the keynote speaker.
The creation of the WPI/GWC Alumni Scholarship comes amid a push for more highly skilled workers in the technology sector to ensure that our nation remains competitive in the global economy. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million open jobs in computing. Yet U.S. universities are expected produce enough qualified graduates to fill less than 30% of those jobs, and women are on track to fill just 3%.
This is the first time Girls Who Code has partnered with a higher education institution to provide college scholarships to alumnae of its programs. Through its free Summer Immersion Programs and after-school Clubs, Girls Who Code works to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. The WPI/GWC Alumni Scholarship is offering the next step in the educational path for young women who have excelled in the Girls Who Code program. WPI will offer five Girls Who Code graduates $20,000 each for each academic year of their four-year undergraduate studies at WPI.
"WPI is thrilled to join Girls Who Code on this groundbreaking initiative to support up-and-coming women who are passionate about using technology for good," said President Leshin. "WPI is dedicated to growing and diversifying our nation’s high-tech workforce. This program illustrates our commitment to help women reach their academic and life potential and join the next generation of global technology leaders."
"To close the gender gap in technology, we need clear pathways for girls from high school into college and the workforce," said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. "This scholarship program is an important step to support our graduates on their way to pursuing computer science–related studies. We hope that this partnership with WPI will serve as a model for many more schools across the country."
WPI will be working with Girls Who Code this coming year to identify prospective students who are GWC alumnae in hopes of enrolling five scholarship winners for the fall of 2017.
About Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Through its Summer Immersion Program and Clubs, Girls Who Code is leading the movement to inspire, educate, and equip young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. By the end of 2016, Girls Who Code will have reached 40,000 girls in every US state. Additional information is available at www.girlswhocode.com.