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In fall 2016, Valparaiso University’s new student chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery-Women (ACM-W) was awarded a $3,000 start-up seed fund by the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to help launch its chapter. Valpo is one of nine schools that received a NCWIT Student Seed Start-up Funding Award.

Founded with the assistance of Karl Schmitt, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and Nicholas Rosasco, assistant professor of computing and information sciences, the ACM-W executive board has five members: Dylan Snyder ’18, president; Kimberly Orr ’19, vice president; Christi Florence Calina, graduate vice president; Charles Morris ’17, secretary; and Chinedu Emeka ’17, treasurer.

The NCWIT Student Seed Fund is sponsored by Google.org and is aimed at increasing recruitment and retention of women and other underrepresented groups in computing. Since 2011, the NCWIT Student Seed Fund has invested $316,250 in more than 157 student-run programs for women in computing at nonprofit, U.S. Academic Alliance member institutions nationwide.

The Valpo ACM-W chapter’s mission is to promote women and underrepresented minorities’ involvement in the Valparaiso computing community, and through outreach and service, generate interest in new technology, emerging trends, and increase understanding of the profession and the discipline.

With the start-up funding, Valpo’s ACM-W chapter will focus on outreach and inclusion events, such as code teaching and professional panels. The chapter intends to use the funding to foster a healthy community of computing and programming enthusiasts and to increase engagement in the community as a whole.

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