Nicki Washington
Nicky Washington is a professor of the practice of Computer Science and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies. (University Marketing and Communications)

Nicki Washington Receives NCWIT Award

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) named Nicki Washington, Director of the Identity in Computing Lab and the Cue Family Professor of the Practice of Computer Science and Professor of the Practice in the Department of Gender, Sexuality & Feminist Studies, the recipient of the 2024 Joanne McGrath Cohoon Service Award.

“Dr. Washington has been a fervent advocate for graduate students and early career scholars to have a platform and access to positions of power to raise our concerns and enact change. She has advocated (and fought!) for our inclusion in decision-making committees, has provided us with a platform through her organization, Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AiiCE), and continuously engages the broader CS education community in dialogue around issues of equity and justice,” a recommender wrote.

Washington’s work to make computing more inclusive for people marginalized by race and gender is exemplary of how scholars can foster systemic change. She is well-known in the fields of computer science (CS), CS education research, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). Some of her contributions to the field are as:

Washington’s national and international impact are impressive, and her work considers all aspects of the systemic change model and intersectionality in meaningful and profound ways by disrupting deficit attitudes and approaches. Her research and practice engage learners and challenges them to critically consider their roles and interwoven systems in creating inclusive cultures for women and other minoritized groups, and calls us to action to enact lasting individual and systemic change. She also reaches broad audiences embedded in all levels of power throughout the tech ecosystem, from K-12 students and educators to professors, administrators, and staff, and into the workforce. 

In addition, Washington conducts influential, original research as director AiiCE and helped set ABET accreditation standards for DEI and accessibility criteria. Fellows who completed her 3C Program speak highly of their personal transformation and growth, and of their empowerment to make sustainable systemic change in their home institutions and beyond. She will be honored at the 2024 NCWIT Summit in Kansas City, Mo., and will also be awarded $10,000 to her institution to continue her important work.

The Joanne McGrath Cohoon Service Award, sponsored by AT&T, honors distinguished educators and staff who have effectively challenged and changed the systems that shape the experiences of women undergraduates in postsecondary computing programs. Award recipients demonstrate exceptional commitment to, and success in, creating long-lasting systemic change that improves the environment for all students who identify as women. The award is given in memory of Dr. Joanne McGrath Cohoon’s outstanding research and advocacy work to broaden and enrich women’s participation in computing.

Content adapted from NCWIT’s award announcement.