I heard about a cool program that helps NYC tech companies build more diverse teams. It is called Winternships.

The program is run by a group called WiTNY (Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship in NY) which is a three year-old collaboration between Cornell Tech and CUNY to drive more female students into tech majors or minors, and into the NYC tech ecosystem.

It works like this:

A Winternship is a paid, three-week internship experience during the January academic recess for freshman and sophomore women in tech. Participating companies design an ‘immersion’ experience in their business – students sit in on meetings, meet executives, go on site visits — and they work together on a challenge project that they pitch on the last day. WiTNY identifies students based on a match between your needs and their skills. Their team will even help you craft the Wintern experience if you want.

Here are some stats on the program:

Last January, 46 companies raised their hand and welcomed 177 CUNY women into their companies. Amazingly, 54% of these young women were able to parlay that experience into a paid summer tech internship somewhere in the city.

And here is the demographic of the CUNY student body:

CUNY is among the largest and most diverse universities in the country, with 250,000 undergrads and approximately 85% students of color.

If your team is trying to figure out how to diversify your internship and entry level hires, or just want to open your doors to transform the lives of young New Yorkers, considering hiring a Wintern team this January. And if you’re a small startup or a non-profit, WiTNY will even pay the student stipends for you.

Sounds great, right? If you want to host a Winternship at your company this January, you can get started here.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    “…for freshman and sophomore women…””…CUNY women…”- not very progressive.

    1. Jordan Thaeler

      … waiting for someone to call you racist, homophone, sexist, et al…

      1. jason wright

        feel free to, but why so?

        1. Jordan Thaeler

          I wouldn’t but some SJW surely will. Tough world out there on the interwebs

      2. jason wright

        still waiting? me too.

      3. jason wright

        a random act of drive-by commenting. see ya.

    2. Richard

      Fred is behind the times on this. He should have said “cis-gender and transgender females”. That said, I believe the program should include trans-genders males.

      1. jason wright

        Fred’s just ripped a ‘copy and paste’ of the terms as they exist in the wild.How does a sophomore woman get to the sophomore stage if year one is a “(fresh)man” thing? I’m surprised that term continues to exist at US universities.The second one is most unfortunate.

  2. William Mougayar

    Creative. Now we’re missing Springships and Autumnships.

    1. PhilipSugar

      In U.S. schools at least many have what is called a J term. January term. You take one class intensively if you need an another credit towards graduation. Fall is our Thanksgiving where you almost certainly go home for a week, and Spring Break for a week, well even my foreign colleagues understand what that is about.

      1. William Mougayar

        ya, i was being a bit tongue in cheek 🙂

    2. jason wright

      ‘Autumn’? I like it. British North America heritage is alive and well.

  3. PhilipSugar

    That’s a good idea, I might consider that. UofD is off all of January. You know usually interships tend to skew very much towards Juniors (I mean why not they have the most experience and you could potentially hire them full time) But four weeks is a low commitment. I firmly believe you pay interns (I pay $20/hr, love to get other datapoints) and you also have to not just give them busy work or have them sitting around, so it is a commitment.

    1. LE

      I am curious do you see this as ‘good for you’ or ‘good for them’ primarily? What about the ramp up and overhead in taking people on and giving them experiences for such a short period? Remember you are not Citibank or a VC funded startup, right? Not saying it’s not nice or it’s not fun to do (I love to get people in my office so I can talk and teach them) but quite frankly it’s a distraction and does not help the bottom line tangibly in any way. Not saying there aren’t side benefits but for a typical small company the business advantage is not clear cut.$20 per hour is for sure enough (in Delaware). But honestly they should be there for free. As far as ‘well that disadvantages certain people’ that is something for the large credit card companies or corporate Delaware to take on and worry about. You don’t have to be them and you can’t afford to be them either.Why even call it an internship? Why not just say ‘we will have students here who want to hang out and see what we do with no expectations and they will learn by simply being here’? That is the way I would position it. Then you make the hours very loose and non obligatory. They get as much as they want to get. If they actually produce something at the end you give them money that they weren’t even expecting. That is what I would try to do and sell it as. This is the type of thing a small company can do that a large and rigid company can’t do. With them everything has to go through multiple and non practical levels of approvals.

      1. PhilipSugar

        Couple of things. They ask questions which sometimes you had never considered. They can work on “non-core” projects. They bring energy to the office.As to paying them. That is less than 50% of their fully loaded cost full time.I expect them to show up and do work.I expect that they sign a confidentiality agreement.I expect them to sign an agreement saying all of the work they do here we own.If we can’t make those numbers work? Don’t hire them. Been years I did that.Yes, it probably costs us another $20/hr for our people.No different than the trades. You get paid half, expected to do all of the tough jobs, no job security, and if you don’t willingly….. you don’t come back, but I do not think it is right or just to not pay people (Hate the word fair, in my brain losers use that word)Edit: And you don’t pay a headhunter fee, and you get to try before you buy.

        1. LE

          Agreeing with most of what you say (when clarified as you did).As far as this though:but I do not think it is right or just to not pay peopleCan’t tell you how much I have made in the past in different situations by doing things at no cost for free. To start. Generally there is value to someone in giving away what they do and not being paid. If they can afford to do so, it is a fabulous investment for a go getter and motivated person. I could only wish I had the ability to trail a Hollywood agent. I could have been one. No question about that in my mind. Who cares about pay?Let’s take two examples and forget we know each other. Do you think that if your son worked for me that the value of working for me would well exceed any ‘pay’ that he could make working in a typical situation? Ditto in reverse. If one of my step kids worked for you I think the value would way exceed what pay might be in what I will call ‘a typical situation of employment’. Sure this is not what happens but I am just responding to when you say ‘it is not fair’. For the right situation and the right person it is very fair.Look my Dad had his nephew working for him. He was paid obviously. But my Dad liked to teach. So he taught my cousin enough that he was able to kick him out of the business when he spotted an opportunity. True story. He taught him everything he knew. And not because it was his nephew either. Because that is just the way he was. He liked to teach what he knew. And my cousin was a ready listener. And he didn’t like to teach because he thought he was great and benevolent either is my guess. He just like to have someone listen to what he knew and to get positive feedback on things. That was the core of it the way I saw it.Look at us going back and forth on this blog for free? Most people don’t do that, right? We do. Hence both of us would be the type that would be a great person to work under even if for free.

          1. PhilipSugar

            I view this as a recreation. Better than going out and smoking (I don’t do that)You can always argue the points, yes, I might agree with you on sons on an interpersonal level.But in an office environment with many people there is some structure. I’ll add nobody wants to see somebody doing work for “free”.I’ll go a bit political and say it’s why people don’t like seeing illegal immigrants. Yes, look you aren’t going to haul cinder blocks like I saw guys doing in town today.But you know employees think ok, we pay this person, I am teaching them, they make less than half of what I do, but I can understand.And yes one regret I do have (I always say anybody that says I would not have done anything different is an idiot) Is I was asked in Monterrey, CA to audition in Hollywood for a mobster’s role, I was at a wedding talking to fraternity brothers late at night and smoking a cigar. Turned the producer down. Should have gone.

          2. LE

            Turned the producer down. Should have gone.I would never want to be an actor. An agent yes. A director maybe. A deal maker for sure. But an actor no way. I don’t like anything about it.Although when I make deals some of the things I do are probably similar to being an actor. I am playing a role. I think in advance how I want to come across and attempt to control all aspects of my behavior and appearance. (Not in life (corrected from ‘business’) I don’t do any of that because it’s not money related and I don’t care). But the reward for that is immediate and it’s clear when there is success. Plus i am deciding how to act and what to do. It’s complete creative freedom. Maybe I told already about the deal I worked on for a famous enough producer, writer and director (if you want to know you can write to me and I will tell you). He hired me and he wanted to get access to all of what I wrote on his behalf. I remember I was talking to him when I was exercising in my basement. I said to him ‘sorry I don’t share my creative product it messes with my thinking and makes me mentally stutter’ in reply to his ‘demand’. [1] That doesn’t mean I don’t share if I want to share selectively but I am not going to show you what I do and how I do it as it will make me ‘mentally stutter’. I think that this is my advantage actually. I can do what I want and I never ask for anyone’s opinions on whether I am right or not. I have 100% creative freedom. That works for me and has always worked for me. My mind is not restricted in any way.What do I think? I think you would be bored being an actor in particular a character actor.What did I turn down? Wharton associate or assistant prof who was a home builder. Wanted someone to join him after graduation and ‘assist him but also swing a hammer ‘. At that time I already had something lined up (my Dad was splitting his business and was whining for me to help him with that) so I turned him down. He wanted a right hand man who could also get his hands dirty on the job site. Everything was right about that opportunity even my Dad (ntim) would have thought that was great. This was before all the real estate run up as well.[1] Did you notice the manipulation going on here? I used this narrative with a person who was creative himself and has the same issue when he is doing his work. So the result was predictable. He immediately agreed and said ‘sure I understand’. Now isn’t that better than just saying ‘no I don’t do that!’. And it was the truth also. With another person I would have said a similar thing but phrased it differently.

          3. PhilipSugar

            I don’t think I would have taken it, or got it. Still should have gone.

          4. LE

            But it’s like dating which I was just discussing with my stepd the other night. Once you are in it’s often near impossible to pull out. [1] So you go and you end up getting cast. Then you can’t get out. So my criteria when dating was ‘would I marry this person’. If for whatever reason the answer was ‘no’ then I wouldn’t take it further than the 2nd date let’s say.[1] Rationality at play not emotion. You can’t pull away from emotion.

  4. Twain Twain

    This is GREAT branding. WINternships. Why should we encourage more women into STEM?When engineers and VCs talk about data and infrastructure, they may want to be aware that the biggest infrastructure opportunity in data, AI, NLU and economics modeling is to simulate and build how women reason as well. https://uploads.disquscdn.c

    1. PhilipSugar

      Yes I went to Penn. I think the interesting thing that you don’t even need brain studies to know it is good that people bring different perspectives.Certainly it is male/female but it goes so much farther:Young/Old, Brought up Rich/Poor, Had tech parents/did not, Grew up in US/did not, Inner City/Suburb, Speaks English at home/Does Not. Heck even Eats meat/does not. Has a family/Is single/Is gay.I have all of those. As I said the key is starting early and providing an environment that everybody can thrive.

      1. LE

        I think though that one error that people will make is if they have someone close to them that is ‘all about X’ they will then think they have the thinking of all of those types figured out. [1]For example let’s say I know nothing about guns. So I call my friend Phil who I think is ‘very into guns’. And he tells me something. And since I trust Phil I believe what Phil tells me. Then I maybe I think I don’t have to go further to see how correct Phil even is. I just trust him entirely. On the other hand if I don’t know Phil I will then for sure talk to more than one person to understand different perspectives on guns. Because I am more suspect of any info that I get from a stranger or non branded person (you are branded in my mind as ‘high capacity; has shit together’ and so on.Take also ‘I went to Penn’. So did I but I am thinking we had some similar experiences and some that weren’t similar. What we tell people about that will differ. And there are several hundred thousand of us as well.The corollary to this is the guy who knows a great deal himself. In that case he is also less likely to shop for other opinions or thoughts. My example might be Al Gore vs. Ronald Reagan. Gore thought of himself as ‘a smart guy’. Reagan? That was not what he was all about. Who do you think could come closer to gathering the amount of opinions needed to have a good solution? You could argue either side of that (you could say if Al is smart he is better vetting solutions) but for some reason I don’t think that would be the case. [2][1] Especially when you know nothing. Then that person drops thoughts into a virgin brain that is highly impressionable. For example I made a comment about a random boater leaving boat cushions outside on the boat (being idiotic) after pulling away at the dock the other day. I took that as being 100% correct early in boating myself because it was put in my head when I knew nothing about boating by my cousin who did. And it has stuck ever since.[2] Not a discussion about Gore vs. Reagan specifically but just the general concept using them as the examples.

      2. Twain Twain

        I look into neuroscience and other disciplines for inspiration in solving the Natural Language Understanding problems in AI. I find it much more useful than the socio-psychology-business studies on “Diversity improves bottom line results”, “Diverse teams are more productive” etc.

        1. PhilipSugar

          It is both and that is diversity 🙂

    2. LE

      This is GREAT brandingIt appears that they added ‘Entrepreneurship’ after the fact because there is no E in Witny. It should change to Witeny.And the home page says the following and leaves out ‘entrepreneurship’ as well:At WiTNY—launched in 2016 with Cornell Tech, the City University of New York (CUNY), and industry partners—we propel women into tech careersthrough education, work experiences, and community building.’Tech’ and ‘Entrepreneurship’ are two different things.Actually the logo at the top is the only place on the home page where the word ‘entrepreneurship’ is even mentioned. The balance of the page stresses technology and computer science exclusively.Building an app is not the only way to be ‘in business’. I wish young people (and their mentors) would stop thinking of that as ‘business’ to the exclusion of the 99% of the other opportunities out there.The idea is great of course and a typical ‘only in NYC’ type of thing.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      I don’t know a John Hopkins, but, since I started my career near DC and Baltimore, I know of Johns Hopkins University. IIRC, Mike Bloomberg has given Johns Hopkins $100+ million.Here you describe some gender differences. Your differences are biological and likely fundamental, likely in place at birth and even early in the womb.In contrast, here at AVC I’ve described some gender differences and been excoriated, eviscerated, chastised and accused of misogyny, political INcorrectness, etc.!!! I still have the scars on my back from the applications of the cat of nine tails!!!So there really ARE some gender differences: E.g., you get away with describing them, and I don’t!!!! QED.But you mentioned AI, artificial intelligence. Here of course the emphasis, after discard the 99 44/100% hype, has to be on artificial with less intelligence than in dogs, cats, birds, fish, octopi, etc.AI is heavy into regression analysis and the normal equations. So, let’s see — I promise, no calculus!!!For positive integers m and n we have real matrices m x n A, m x 1 y, and n x1 b. A’ is the n x m matrix the transpose of A. For the set of real numbers R, each of the n columns of A is a vector in the real Euclidean vector space R^m. These n vectors span a vector subspace S of R^m. Well, easily S is convex and closed in the topology of R^m.In regression, we seek b to minimize|y – Ab|^2 = (y – Ab)'(y – Ab)Of course, Ab is in S. So, we want the point Ab in S closest to y. There is a result, every closed convex subset of R^m has a unique element of minimum norm. So, it follows that we want b so thaty – Abis perpendicular to each vector in S and, in particular, each column of A. So it follows that for b it is necessary and sufficient thatA'(y – Ab) = 0where here the 0 is the n x 1 matrix of 0s. Then we haveA’Ab = A’ywhere we can find b via Gauss elimination.Note: “Look, Ma, I used no calculus. I didn’t assume that m > n. I never mentioned (A’A)^(-1), the inverse of (A’A), and never assumed that it exists. I needed nothing about the numerical condition number of A’A and had no struggles with the numerical problems of finding (A’A)^(-1). I ignored overfitting, somehow got around it. Here it is true that the b need not be unique, but from the projection result we know that, still, the Ab is unique.”Now, back to AI: AI is totally in love with the normal equationsA’Ab = A’ybut nowhere will we find in those brain scans anything like the normal equations!!!!!

      1. Twain Twain

        Regression analysis and normals is exactly why the AI is dumb as rocks.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Caught you in a really bad mood today with you being really unfair to rocks!!!!

  5. Richard

    I hope these programs teach young women about how to responed to sexaul assaults in the workplace and have firm policies in place for their employees with respect to alcohol and office parties. The tech industry has been an embarrassment protecting young women.