Break Through Tech
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.
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
“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.
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
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
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.