AWARD EVENT IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS

AWARD EVENT IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS - If you are looking for inspiration and suggestions, we thought we would share some of wonderful ideas and additions we've seen both this year and at past events.
 

2019 AWARD EVENT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Kentucky gave each recipient a business card sheet with their contact information, school and
    award designation which they used to network and connect with each other and the IT professionals
    in attendance. They also had programs with links and QR codes to become a sponsor as well as
    twitter hashtags & account information.
    Raleigh, NC held a networking session/Bingo scavenger hunt where the AiC honorees
    sought out our guest speaker, engineering women faculty, guest speaker and other honorees
    to network and complete the Bingo card. The girls really enjoyed this and those with the
    most autographs on their card won chocolate.
  • Charlotte, NC had each award recipient introduce themselves and share their
    accomplishments and future plans.
  • Philadelphia had a guest keynote speaker went beyond "being a women in tech" and
    she shared technical content & information with awardees!
  • Nebraska & SW Iowa brought in former AiC winners as ambassadors to read
    off the new awardees bios.
  • Connecticut held their event inside a ballpark with mingling space, seats for
    the program and access to the ballpark including having their photos on
    the big screen
  • New Hampshire emailed girls ahead of time with 3 questions (How they got interested in CS/tech; what they want to do with it or future plans; fun fact) &  they were called up, got their award, but then used those 3 questions to tell the audience a bit about themselves.
  • Inland Empire had a panel with current computer science college students who each spoke briefly about their greatest accomplishments.

  • New Jersey had the girls turn in surveys in exchange for some bonus swag.

  • Oklahoma had last year’s Educator award give this year’s educator the award.

  • Mississippi arranged for a professional photographer to take head shots of all winners for college applications, etc.

  • Tennessee: Western had their National winner speak to the group about her experience and she encouraged them to keep going and progressing on their journey

  • Louisiana led the winners and their family on college student & LSU administration led tour of the newly renovated Engineering building.

  • Tennessee: Central & Eastern offered additional swag - books and notable women playing cards and offered door prizes for an icebreaker scavenger hunt.  

  • New Mexico: Southern - Always has a Dance Party at their event!

  • Nevada: Las Vegas hand Delivers School Trophies to Schools

  • Florida: Miami charters’ Buses to bring in folks from far distances

  • North & South Dakota printed their Scholarships on Cookies this year

  • Illinois: Central had a sweatshirt made for award recipients with the
    Computer Science school logo AND the NCWIT logo & created full-size
    posters of the student's bios and pictures that they display all over the room
    at the event

  • Hawaii awardees were given index cards and as an ice breaker was tasked
    to find another awardee and collect informationto present her during the ceremony

  • Utah: Northern had a structured networking activity where two circles were formed 
    - the inner was industry reps, professors, and college students and the outer were
    the invited guests who had 90 seconds to ask questions before rotating to a new person.

  • Texas: Houston displayed the full bios for girls on slides for the audience to read as
    they came forward to get their award.

  • Central Illinois had a sweatshirt made for every award recipient with the
    Computer Science school logo and the NCWIT logo. They also have blown
    up full-size posters of the student's bios and pictures that they display
    all over the room at the event on easels, and the posters also display
    digitally on their video wall in the lobby of their building for a few
    days around the event - SO cool! 

 
AWARD EVENT IDEAS & SUGGESTIONS FROM PAST EVENTS
 
The power of ice breakers -  Awardees were often nervous and uncertain at the start and ice breakers really helped "break the ice" and initiate networking with one another.  One event had a a candy match where girls picked a candy and had to find another person with the same candy. Another had a Meet and Greet Scavenger Hunt Bingo, where you were supposed to find other AiC award recipients who were part of a coding camp, aspireIT program, had been abroad, etc. Some other suggestions to encourage networking is having standing high tops as opposed to seats around the table to encourage milling around.
 
Networking at end vs. beginning - Many observed that when the Award ceremony is complete the girls are more relaxed and elated and more ready to network. With this in mind, allowing some time for networking at the end of the program might be ideal.
 
Beyond the schwag - One event offered time with a photographer to give each awardee a professional portrait to take with them.
 
Maximizing time on stage - With the increase of awardees, it is getting harder to find time to personalize the ceremony for each awardee....But that silent time when each awardee goes to the stage to pick up their trophies might be a great time to say a sentence or two about her.
 
Ideas for speakers - Some events brought back in past winners to speak or provide CS demos and others had local collegiate award finalists speak about their projects and life in college.
 
The power of music - One event featured a teacher who's second job is a DJ which made the event very festive indeed!  Having music in the background at the start can also create welcoming environment.
 
Photos - Just a reminder to avoid having girls kneel for group photos... if possible, find chairs.
 
Surveys! Don’t forget pencils or pens for the surveys - worse case scenario the swag bags have fancy pens in them.  At one event attendees had to turn in their surveys in order to get their swag bags!