Focus on Women in Computer Science (FoWCS) is a UBC Computer Science departmental committee with the mission of increasing the participation of women and gender minorities in CS at all academic levels. Our projects within the department include social/networking events so that female students can meet each other to combat the isolation of being in the minority of a male-dominated field.

We have a mentoring program within the department that serves all genders, and over 40% of the participants are female. We're also active in bringing in successful women in CS as speakers, in the hope that providing female role models and illustrating many paths to and career paths within CS will encourage all students, but especially women and gender minorities, to choose and complete a CS degree. We are also engaged in outreach efforts to younger girls to ensure that they don't fall out of the pipeline before reaching university.

One outreach program is GIRLsmarts4tech, which aims to inspire girls to explore technology. During the day-long workshop, girls learn about various aspects of computer science, such as programming and web design, as well as how computer science applies in other fields and disciplines. The activities in the workshop are designed to be as fun and accessible as possible, in order to reduce barriers and maximize engagement. Several workshops are run each year in Vancouver, and the program has expanded internationally thanks to our partnership with SAP. While we have some departmental funding for these initiatives, we often rely on sponsorship from external sources, including prominent high-tech companies.

There is always a need for direct funding to pay for things such as monentary awards for competition winners, or mailing and printing expenses, or refreshments for participants. Another sponsorship possibility is to provide in-kind donations of company products or services, such as computer software or items such as T-shirts and caps, for prizes or giveaways at events. We are also always looking for the names of talented female computer scientists who can serve as speakers in panels.

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