Six University of Central Arkansas students have been awarded the 2012 Computer Science Female Freshman Scholarship to help them pursue a career in the computer science and technology field, according to a recent UCA news release.

The first group of students earning the $500 scholarship are: Samantha Anima of Rogers, Amanda Falls of Conway, Yaying Li of China, Angela Lewis of Bryant, Jessica Stewart of Searcy and Kelsey Zahorec of Jacksonville.

The National Center for Women and Information Technology Academic Alliance Seed Fund was used for the program that is designed to help bridge the gender gap in computer science and technology.

NCWIT is a national coalition of over 300 prominent corporations, academic institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations working to increase the participation of women in technology and computing, according to its website.

Currently, women earn more than half of all U.S. undergraduate degrees, including 45 percent of math degrees and 38 percent of chemical engineering degrees, but they earn 11 percent of computing degrees.

In January, UCA received a $10,000 grant from the NCWIT and Microsoft Research to help support female students. UCA is among five universities that received the grant for 2012.

The grant is administered through the university’s Department of Computer Science.

"All of the six students ranked UCA Computer Science their top choice to pursue their undergraduate study. In their applications for the scholarship, most of them expressed extremely strong desire to become one of the female leaders in Computer Science and Information Technology," Chenyi Hu, chairwoman of Computer Science, said in the release. "The faculty will do their best to help these female students reach their career goal."

The Department of Computer Science is taking applications for spring 2013 scholarships. For more information, visit