Break Through Tech

Break Through Tech logo

The University of Maryland announced on March 2nd, 2021 a grant from Break Through Tech to propel more women into computing degrees and careers in tech—through curriculum innovation, career access and community building. The grant's goal is to increase the number of women graduating with a tech degree at UMD by at least 12% by 2026.

Read Official University Press Release

Mission Statement

Break Through Tech works at the intersection of academia and industry to propel more women and underrepresented communities into computing degrees and careers. Our goal is to achieve gender equality in tech.

UMD Computing Students at the 2019 Diversity in Computing Celebration
UMD Computing Students at the 2019 Diversity in Computing Celebration
UMD Computing Students at the 2019 Diversity in Computing Celebration
UMD Computing Students at the 2019 Diversity in Computing Celebration 
UMD Computing Students at the 2019 Diversity in Computing Celebration
UMD Computing Students at the 2019 Diversity in Computing Celebration 


The University of Maryland is committed to make computing inclusive and accessible for all. With funding from Break Through Tech, we plan to raise the graduation rate for women in the following majors:

UMD student studies at the Brendan Iribe Center

Structure and Support

The Break Through Tech program at UMD is housed in the Iribe Initiative for Inclusion and Diversity in Computing (I4C).

Partners include the College of Information Studies (iSchool); College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS); Department of Computer Science; iSchool Consultancy; and University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS).

Core Leadership Team

  • Kate Atchison, Assistant Director, I4C & Maryland Center for Women in Computing (MCWIC) (Site Lead)
  • Jandelyn Plane, Director, I4C & MCWIC (Academic Lead)
  • Katherine Iszak, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, iSchool 
  • Vedat Diker, Principal Lecturer & Undergraduate Program Director, iSchool
  • Maria Johnson, Director of Corporate Partnership Development, CS & UMIACS
  • Ron Padrón, Interim Director of Undergraduate Operations, iSchool
  • Abby Robinson, Assistant Dean of Communications, CMNS
  • Veronica Sanchez, Coordinator for Current Students, I4C & MCWIC

Core Programs

“Break Through Tech's programs and the expansion of our existing programs will greatly increase impact toward improving computing education and successful degree completion by a greater diversity of participants,” said Jandelyn Plane, director of the Iribe Initiative for Inclusion and Diversity in Computing and director of the Maryland Center for Women in Computing. Plane is also a principal lecturer in the Department of Computer Science.


campers with VR headset

Curriculum and Academic Innovation

Making introductory computer science classes more accessible and emphasizing real-world applications of technology through team-based learning strategies.

  • Guild (August 2021 & January 2022): A free program for rising first-year students designed to ignite interest in tech by teaching them how to code real-world, mission-driven applications
  • New, innovative introductory computer science course sequences
two students at a career fair

Career Access

Providing connections from students’ studies to real-world applications and in-depth exposure and access to tech careers.

  • Sprinternships® (January 2022): a paid, three-week mini-internship (called a Sprinternship®) and a series of career development workshops, which gives first- and second-year students a resume credential and real-world experience
group of women students seated on the roof of the Iribe Center

Community Building

Encouraging students who may not feel that they belong in tech by building opportunities that promote peer relationships, student leadership, and connections to networks of professional women in tech.

  • I4C Programs: including the Peer and Alumni Mentoring Program
  • Admitted Student Events: Admitted UMD students can attend our Women in Tech Panel on March 6th, 3pm, RSVP here.

Take Intro to Computing Courses

Open to all UMD students, these introductory CS courses are designed with real-world applications and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

CMSC125: Introduction to Computing (3 credits)

  • Decide whether computer science or information science or immersive media design is the best fit for you!
  • ⅓ computing skills development, ⅓ societal impacts and career understanding, and ⅓ larger-concept computing content
  • GenEd credit for Scholarship in Practice (approval pending)
  • Eligibility: students not currently enrolled in CMSC 131, INST 126 or higher

CMSC100/INST101: Bits and Bytes of Computer and Information Sciences (1 credit)

  • Learn about the fields and disciplines of computer science and information science within a small classroom setting
  • Learn how to make a successful transition from high school to the university, while exploring study skills, student success plans and research opportunities

Connect With Us

Are you interested in learning more about Break Through Tech DC at the University of Maryland? Complete this form to connect with us and receive updates about ways to engage with the program.

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