The last week has been a blur -- full of what can only be called a mosaic of contrasting experiences, like the light REM sleep one goes through early in the morning hours. I must tell you about it. Perhaps you can help.
In 1991, the year I turned forty, I came out of the closet as an artist. I'd been painting as long as I could remember but I had hidden it from my professional colleagues except for a few close friends.
I was very pleased when NCWIT asked me to share some of my experiences in starting an IT business in a primarily male-oriented landscape. When my business partner, Char, and I started Solidware, our intent was to make a difference – a big difference.
Last week, 1,200 of my colleagues and I attended the 37th annual ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education -- sponsored by the ACM Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education, or SIGCSE -- in Houston, Texas. I have been attending SIGCSE for the past several years, both to disseminate my research in computer science education and to better understand the issues faced by computing educators.
Last week, the ACM Job Migration Task Force released a report on Globalization and the Offshoring of Software. The report did not explicitly discuss the impact of offshoring on women in developed countries who were already pursuing IT careers or were considering study for an IT career. Nevertheless, it is straightforward to see some of the implications of the report for these women.
Take a look at this! What you are looking at – currently under construction – is the ATLAS Center, soon to be home to most of the core staff of the National Center for Women & Information Technology. In fact, the NCWIT "cluster" is directly inside the center and right curved second story windows that you see in the bottom left portion of the image, just to the left of the small balcony.
I wanted to hear about "Saving the World with a CS Degree." I eagerly anticipated this talk because someone was going to tell undergraduates about the link between computing and helping people. A former student would describe his experiences with creating information technology to serve humanity. He had lived in several third world countries, worked to build a system that contributed to Tsunami reconstruction, and provided data entry skills and jobs to the formerly unemployed.
Recently Lucy came up to my neighborhood in Westchester County, New York. While we have met frequently this past year, much of our work and interaction occur over email, so I was excited about showing her around my neighborhood.
Several months ago I asked my friendly congressman whether he thought the middle of America's bell curve realizes that the U.S. ranks below average for 21 industrialized countries in math and science education.
He looked rather startled, so I went on: even when our advanced students are compared to those of 15 other countries, 11 countries outperform us and no country scores significantly below us.