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September 8, 2003

AT&T Foundation Grants $50,000 to UMBC Center for Women & Information Technology

BALTIMORE - The AT&T Foundation will donate $50,000 to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County's (UMBC) Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT) on Sept. 9, as UMBC welcomes a new group of CWIT Scholars -- college students who receive scholarship support to pursue information technology careers -- to campus.

The grant will support CWIT's educational and community outreach programs that work to bridge the IT gender gap. Annual events like Computer Mania Day connect CWIT Scholars, business leaders and other role models to middle school girls to help spark their interest in computing and technology careers.

The CWIT Scholars Program identifies a limited number of high-achieving high school seniors annually and provides four years of financial and programmatic support to pursue a bachelor's degree at UMBC in an IT-related field. The program is open to both women and men who support women's full involvement in information technology.

"A solid educational foundation for today's workplace must include information technology and computers," said Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, President of UMBC. "UMBC and CWIT are delighted to have this crucial support from a national leader in technology like AT&T as we work together to close the IT gender gap."

"AT&T is proud to support CWIT and its students in pursuing their IT education and career aspirations," said Jennifer Jones, Sales Vice-President - AT&T Business Services. "We recognize the importance of investing in the future of technology directly and indirectly through programs such as these that encourage advancement in information sciences."

In spite of reports that the Internet gender gap is closing, women are still seriously under-represented as developers of IT, and they are often not well served as IT users. Women make up 51 percent of the population and earn more than half of all bachelor-level degrees awarded, but earn only about one-quarter of the bachelor-level computer and information sciences degrees awarded in the U.S. - down from the 1980s when those numbers were in the mid 30's. Business and educators alike are concerned about what this means for long-term growth in the IT industry.

AT&T will present the $50,000 grant to UMBC at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 9 in room 312 of the UMBC University Center.

About AT&T Foundation
AT&T is among the world's premier voice and data communications companies, serving consumers, businesses, and government. Public service and social responsibility are traditions deeply embedded at AT&T. The AT&T Foundation (www.att.com/foundation) invests in projects that serve the needs of people in communities throughout the nation, particularly for initiatives that use technology in innovative ways and for programs in which AT&T employees are actively involved as contributors or volunteers.

About CWIT
The Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT) established at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) in July, 1998, seeks to address and rectify the above-mentioned problems and to enhance our understanding of the relationship between gender and IT. The Center has a four-fold mission: to encourage more women and girls to study computer science and/or information systems and to pursue careers in IT; to enable all women and girls to use IT comfortably and knowledgeably; to assure that the richness and breadth of women's lives and concerns are fully represented and readily available on the Internet; and to foster research concerning the relationship between gender and IT. The Center plans to accomplish its mission through varied initiatives. Three projects already under way are the CWIT Scholars Program, the Speakers Series, and the CWIT web site, which ABCNews.com has called "the best resource on women and technology on the Web."

About AT&T
AT&T (www.att.com) is among the premier voice and data communications companies in the world, serving businesses, consumers, and government. The company runs one of the most sophisticated communications networks in the U.S., backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs. A leading supplier of data, Internet and managed services for the public and private sectors, AT&T offers outsourcing and consulting to large businesses and government. The company is a market leader in local, long distance and Internet services, as well as transaction-based services like prepaid cards, collect calling and directory assistance. With approximately $37 billion of revenue, AT&T has about 40 million residential customers and 4 million business customers, who depend on AT&T for high-quality communications. AT&T has garnered several awards for outstanding performance and customer service.

Posted by dwinds1 at September 8, 2003 12:00 AM