Each February, over President’s Day weekend, the Center for Women in Technology (CWIT) presents the Bits & Bytes Program for high school junior girls. Each year, about 20-30 academically talented young women are invited to an overnight visit at UMBC and are hosted by the CWIT Scholars and Affiliates in CWIT’s Living Learning Community. The program supports CWIT’s mission to encourage and support women to be leaders in Information Technology and Engineering fields.
The purpose of this FREE event is to engage local high school girls in the college atmosphere and expose them to the possibilities open to them in engineering or IT majors in college. Along with in-depth exposure to life as a college student and UMBC as an institution, the students participate in an engineering or IT design competition (for prizes) and interact with current UMBC students involved in the CWIT Scholars Program, including staying overnight in a residence hall on campus and attending a college class with one of the CWIT students.
The IT design competition uses the Alice 3D authoring environment, which allows students to create, animate, and interact with 3D, computer-generated scenes. Students work in teams to design an animated story with various interactions, scenes, animated characters, and other features. Past themes for the IT competition have been creating a fairytale, and creating your dream prom.
In the engineering design competition, students are required to work in teams to invent something to solve a problem. Engineering competition themes in the past have been: a Snap, Crackle, Pop Engineering design competition required the teams to use common household items to design a mechanism to sort different types of cereal of all shapes, sizes, and weights while minimizing cost and maximizing efficiency; a Egg CARton design competition required teams to create a vehicle out of common household items that will carry an egg down a ramp while protecting it from cracking. For each of the design competitions, the teams’ designs were judged by a group of judges, including a UMBC faculty member, industry professional, and a current CWIT student in the field. Teams were chosen for awards for their design, technical and creative achievement, and cost efficiency.
Students come from high schools across Maryland and Virginia and enjoy getting to know each other during the program through team-building activities and the team design competitions. They also have the chance to meet with representatives from the different IT and engineering departments at UMBC, attend a college class, receive a tour of the UMBC campus, and speak with a diverse group of UMBC students.
For the Bits and Bytes Program, we are looking for students with the following characteristics:
We no longer accepting applications for the 2013 Bits and Bytes Program
Application which were received by the deadline, January 15, 2013 at 5pm, will be reviewed for acceptance into the program**
**Each year, we receive more applications from qualified students than we can accommodate. Acceptance into the program is based on a holistic review, and we welcome all students interested in CWIT to reach out with questions and seek all opportunities to learn about our community.
Applicants can expect to receive a decision regarding participation in the program shortly after the deadline. Please contact Crystal Diaz at with any questions or to ask about how you can be a part of this outreach program.
Thank you to our sponsors!
Spring 2013- Northrop Grumman, SAIC, and BAE Systems
Spring 2012 – Northrop Grumman
Spring 2011 – Northrop Grumman
Spring 2010 – Mr. Paul Mauritz
Bits & Bytes 2012