UMD Receives Reboot Representation Funding to Reset Tech Culture
The Reboot Representation Tech Coalition (Reboot Representation) recently awarded the University of Maryland $500,000 for the RESET Project, a new program housed in the Iribe Initiative for Inclusion and Diversity in Computing (I4C) that aims to reset tech culture to Represent, Excel and Support Equity in Tech (RESET).
Black, Latina and Native American (BLNA) women represent approximately 16% of the total U.S. population, yet they make up only 4% of students obtaining bachelor's degrees in computing. The landscape at UMD is similar––BLNA women make up 13% of UMD undergraduates, but only 5% of bachelor’s degrees in computing. This gift from Reboot Representation plans to address this gap at UMD through targeted student support to increase the number of BLNA women earning bachelor’s degrees in computing by 2026.
“At Reboot Representation, we know that intentional, specific programs improve access for BLNA women to computing degrees and careers,” said Dwana Franklin-Davis, CEO of Reboot Representation. “The University of Maryland has been an extraordinary leader when it comes to creating on-ramps for BLNA women to pursue computing, and their workplays a large role in why Maryland produces 16% of all Black women computing graduates in the nation.”
The RESET Project will increase the number of BLNA women in computing at UMD through targeted outreach and customized student support from enrollment to completion. Student support will include opportunities for career development and community building through social events, mentoring, success coaching and financial assistance.
“We want BLNA women to be able to thrive in their computing degrees here on campus, and we are committed to providing the resources and building an environment that can make that possible,” I4C Associate Director Kate Atchison said. “I4C is all about creating a supportive, vibrant and inclusive computing community––the RESET Project will help us deliver on that mission and champion our BLNA women studying computing.”
One of the core elements of the RESET Project is RESET Scholars, a yearlong scholarship cohort program for BLNA students that focuses on leadership, academic excellence and empowerment.
“I am excited about the supportive community that I can build while in the RESET Scholars program,” said freshman computer science major Ayo Ajayi, a member of the inaugural cohort of RESET Scholars. “Being surrounded by BLNA women with similar goals as mine will keep me motivated throughout my experience.”
RESET Scholars’ mentoring program matches freshmen and sophomore students with mentors in their junior and senior years who share identities and majors. In addition to student mentors, RESET Scholars will also have access to mentors who are alumni in tech industries. Role models are critical to students, as college women who have a “good image” of tech workers are 27% more likely to look for a job in tech.
“Because RESET Scholars specifically focuses on supporting BLNA women in computing, I can connect with like-minded peers and mentors who can offer guidance, encouragement and shared experiences, building a strong community that I can turn to, rely on and learn from,” Ajayi said. “Thanks to UMD, I4C and the RESET Project, I now feel a lot more assured in pursuing STEM with a wonderful and supportive community.”
Congratulations to the inaugural cohort of RESET Scholars!
Ronke Afolabi, information science
Asa Agyemang, information science
Ayo Ajayi, computer science
Angelica Akuchie, information science
Shafiqat Alao, information science
Kenny Atlaw, electrical engineering
Zainab Bah, letters and sciences
Bemenet Berhanu, information science
Jaylen Carrillo Godoy, information science
Pernelle de Souza, information science
Stephanie Estrella, computer engineering
Ann Audrey Ezi, computer engineering
Nusi Fahm, information science
Rachael Ingobo, immersive media design
Sarai Lazo Salvador, letters and sciences
Rayna Livingston, computer science
Favour Madu, computer engineering
Michelle Medina, information science
Mosinmiloluwa Ojeyomi, computer science
Kevin Okoye, computer science
Astrid Tagne, information science
Priscila Terry, information science
Favor Umeobi, information science
Ameenat Afolabi, computer engineering (Program Mentor)
Bridget Tifase, information science (Program Mentor)
Blen Mulugeta, information science (Program Mentor)
-Story by the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Science
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