The Maryland Center for Women in Computing

Mission and Goals


The Maryland Center for Women in Computing (MCWIC) works to increase diversity in all fields of computing by providing opportunities for individuals who identify as women to engage and contribute to the technical community through research, education, outreach, and partnerships. MCWIC envisions a vibrant community of scholars, researchers, students and others coming together to increase the involvement—and success—of all women interested in earning or currently pursuing a computing degree.

Why support Women in Computing?

  • While women have been at the forefront of many exciting moments in the history of computing only three women have ever won the prestigious Turing Award.
  • According to NCWIT, 57% of all 2017 bachelor's degree recipients were women. Only 19% of all computer and information science bachelor’s degree students went to women. (NCWIT- By the Numbers 2019)
  • At the University of Maryland in Fall 2019, 20% of our undergraduate students are women majoring in computer science. Currently, 48% of the undergraduate students at the university are women.

How Are We Bringing More Extraordinary Women Into Computing?

The Maryland Center of Women in Computing 

  • Supports, educates and mentors women majoring in computing fields at the University of Maryland
  • Collaborates with the K-12 community in order to to encourage all students especially those from underrepresented populations to participate in computing
  • Sustains a vibrant community of scholars, researchers, students and educators working together to increase the involvement—and success—of women interested in earning a computer science and other technical degrees
  • Fosters a supportive, collaborative community for current undergraduate and graduate women studying computing at the university through a dedicated learning and meeting space


The Center is supported by the University of Maryland’s Department of Computer Science, the University’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), and the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS). Additional support comes from our corporate sponsors.

Learn more about our specific programs below.


Our History

For over 20 years, efforts to support women in computing were apparent at the University of Maryland. Many of these programs centered around the formation of the Association for Women in Computing (AWC), Computer Science Women, and later our outreach programs. As each of these programs grew and expanded, it was clear a unified center was needed to capture the effort to bring more women into the field of computing and further grow the computing pipeline. As a way to formalize the important work being done by these organizations the College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CNMS), The Department of Computer Science, and the University’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), worked together to form the Maryland Center for Women in Computing (MCWIC) in 2014.

Our Approach

We offer a series of outreach programs for K–12 girls aimed to spark an interest in computer science at an early age, showing them that it is both fun and accessible. These programs include an immersive multi-year curriculum for middle school girls, designed to catalyze and sustain their interest in technology. University of Maryland undergraduates  serve as student ambassadors and aspirational peers. Participants learn the mechanics behind social media, the importance of cybersecurity, and why computer science is essential to almost any career that demands critical thinking and decision-­‐making skills.

Retention programs specific to the University of Maryland that support female computer science majors throughout their undergraduate and graduate experience. This includes scholarships, mentoring and peer networking opportunities, along with workshops that allow female computer science majors to see firsthand the breadth and options available to them in industry and academia. The center also works to build community. The MCWIC lounge is availible for female computing students to gather, share ideas, and interact with peers and mentors.

MCWIC Launch

Fall and Spring Semester Outreach Programs

The Maryland Center for Women in Computing host a wide variety of programs to encourage underrepestned populations to pursue computing, and recruit these students to the University of Maryland. You can view more detail about these programs under the outreach tab.
  • STEM/Robotics K-12 Outreach General Request Forms
  • Weekly Elementary & Middle School Outreach in PGCPS
  • Ladies Navigate Computer Science- High School Recruitment Event for Women interested in computing
    • Please view our flyer here.
  • JumpStart Computing Workshop at UMD
  • High School Computing Workshops at UMD
  • Girls Who Code - UMD Chapter
  • Rise-Up 4 CS - Maryland
    • Project Rise Up 4 CS helps underrepresented (Hispanic, African American, American Indian) women pass the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science A course and exam. You must be enrolled in an AP CS A (Java) during the 2019-2020 school year to apply. 
  • Cyber Girls Ambassadors


Girl Scout STEM Outreach

Current Students

Current Students

MCWIC supports women in computing through:
Learn more about our current student support through the current student tab.


Additional Resources

Below are resources and hot topics to encourage discussion and further support diversity and inclusion in computing. A full list of resources can be found under the resource tab.  


    • NCWIT- What makes electronic mentoring effective?- a review and case study of how and why to use electronic mentoring
    • MentorNet- the award-winning nonprofit e-mentoring network that addresses the retention and success of those in engineering, science and mathematics, particularly but not exclusively women and other underrepresented groups.
    • Systers- a technical forum by the Anita Borg Institute( ABI) used to build community across all women in computing. 
    • ABI Curriculum Series- explore modules in these series to grow professionally as a women in computing

    Imposter Syndrome

    Workplace Culture

    Building the Pipeline

    • Engage CSEdu- NCWIT's effective ways to teach computer science
    • CSMatters- initiative to develop computer science curriculum and train teachers
    • CS for All- initiative of the White House to encourage all students to explore computer science

    Facts and Figures on Women in Computing

    Women Faculty in Computing at UMD

    UMD is proud to support female faculty in computing. Faculty represented here come from a variety of disciplines including Computer Science, Computer Engineering and Information Studies. Female faculty and graduate students often meet and collaborate through the group CS Women. 

    Women faculty listed below represents faculty at the University of Maryland Computing from the Department of Computer Science, UMIACS, Computer Engineering, and the iSchool.


    Dr. Jan Plane (CMSC & UMIACS)
    Director, Center for Women in Computing
    Associate Director of ACES
    Principal Lecturer

    Dr. Ming Lin (CMSC & UMIACS)
    Elizabeth Stevinson Iribe Chair of Computer Science

    Dr. Marine Carpuat (CMSC & UMIACS)
    Assistant Professor, Artificial Intelligence & Data Science

    Dr. Michelle Hugue (CMSC)


    Dr. Michelle Mazurek (CMSC & UMIACS)
    Assistant Professor

    Dr. Leilani Battle (CMNS)
    Assistant Professor

    Furong Huang (CMNS)
    Assistant Professor

    Dr. Bonnie Dorr (CMSC & UMIACS)
    Professor Emerita

    Dr. Dianne O’Leary (CMSC & UMIACS)
    Professor Emerita
    Distinguished University Professor

    Dr. Marshini Chetty (iSchool & UMIACS)
    Assistant Professor

    Dr. Dana Dachman-Soled (UMIACS)
    Assistant Professor

    Dr. Rita Colwell (UMIACS)
    Distinguished University Professor

    Dr. Marie desJardins (UMIACS)
    Professor, Computer Science & Electrical Engineering

    Dr. Vibha Sazawal (CMNS)

    Dr. Allison Druin (iSchool & UMIACS)
    Professor Human-Computer Interaction Lab

    Dr. Naomi Feldman (UMIACS)
    Assistant Professor, Department of Linguistics

    Dr. Cornelia Fermüller (UMIACS)
    Associate Research Scientist, CfAR & CVL

    Dr. Leila De Floriani (UMIACS)

    Dr. Leah Findlater (iSchool, UMIACS, & CMSC)
    Assistant Professor, iSchool
    Affiliate Professor, CMSC

    Dr. Catherine Plaisant (UMIACS)
    Senior Research Assistant, UMIACS
    Associate Director, HCIL

    Dr. Louiqa Raschid (UMIACS)
    Professor, Smith School of Business

    Dr. Min Wu (UMIACS)
    Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering

    Dr. Vanessa Frias-Martinez (iSchool)
    Assistant Professor

    Dr. Jennifer Goldbeck (iSchool)
    Associate Professor

    Dr. Kari Kraus (iSchool)
    Associate Professor

    Dr. Katy Newton Lawley (iSchool)
    Doctoral Program Coordinator


    Dr. Jennifer J. Preece (iSchool)
    Dean Emerita

    Dr. Jessica Vitak (iSchool)
    Assistant Professor