Successful Alaskan STEM Program, Tech Women Creating Peer Networks, Increasing the Number of Women in Tech, and Talking With the Founder of Black Girls Code

Alaskan STEM Program Proves To Be A Success

Did you know that the Alaska Native Science & Engineering Program (ANSEP), a program aimed at attracting more Alaska natives to study STEM fields at the University of Alaska at Anchorage, has produced 300 STEM graduates since its launch in 1995?

ANSEP is a comprehensive suite of Pre-College and University Success programs designed to create empowerment and excitement around careers in engineering and science, including organized study groups, peer and professional mentoring, and organized group social activities. What makes this program unique is how it engages students from fifth grade through college graduation, providing them with actual university experiences along the way. Students are immersed in a college atmosphere during a two- to eight-week course during which they stay on-campus and receive training from professional scientists and engineers.

Herb Schroeder, the founder and vice provost of ANSEP, states, “The data we have shows our program is many times better than the national average for all students, not just minority students.” Learn more about ANSEP and how their data compares to national data here.

What can educators do to engage and retain students? Read NCWIT’s Top 10 Ways Your Can Retain Students in Computing.

Tech Women Creating Peer Networks

Did you know that, according to this Washington Post (WP) article, part of the reason there are so few women in tech could be largely due to our obsession with the problem? According to the WP article, “While it’s true that women in technology find themselves outnumbered and often marginalized, they’ve responded by becoming highly organized.” Women, who may feel marginalized and undervalued in the tech industry, are starting to take it upon themselves to connect with one another and create networks with their peers.

“There are Tech LadyMafia and XX in Tech, two thriving lists (founded by women in the District and New York) where women trade job opportunities, offer support, and ask for advice.” These are just to name a few as these networks are becoming more and more common. Continue reading to learn more about how technological women are banding together for support and collaboration.

Research shows that even individuals committed to equality harbor unconscious biases that impact everyday decisions and interactions. Learn more with NCWIT’s How Can Reducing Unconscious Bias Increase Women's Success in IT? Avoiding Gender Bias in Recruitment/Selection Processes

How To Increase the Number of Women in Tech

Did you know that while many tech companies struggle to find technical talent, the problem may not be due to a lack of talent, but rather due to a lack of awareness on the part of employers? Vivek Wadhwa, technology entrepreneur and academic, cites NCWIT’s research in this Wall Street Journal blog post stating that to address this issue, companies should re-focus their attention. They should take a closer look at the way jobs are being defined, and the types of technical positions being filled by women.

Wadhwa cites important research indicating that a limited outlook on the part of employers contributes to the problem. Often times, when making hiring decisions, employers review diversity data at the company level rather than at the departmental level. “If data were analyzed at the departmental level, particularly in technology, [executives] would realize that the deck is stacked against women at every stage of the game.”

For the best available data about the current state of affairs for technical women, read NCWIT’s resource, Women in IT: The Facts.

Talking With the Founder of Black Girls Code

Did you know that OneDublin.org is raising awareness about diversity and discrimination in STEM, most recently through an interview with Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls Code? Bryant discussed the current state of Black Girls Code and the importance of this organization in confronting stereotypes in STEM fields.

Although she graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in electrical engineering and a minor in computer science, Kimberly admits she didn’t develop an interest in technology until her college years. Thus, it was clear to her that girls needed to be made aware of the opportunities in technology, and just how widely accessible it can be to them. This is exactly what Black Girls Code aims to do. As Kimberly states, “That’s a part of what we’re doing in our classes, showing girls how to step through that door, and use the creativity and problem-solving they possess as kids and as consumers of technology to understand what is happening inside a computer.”

NCWIT’s Top 10 Ways of Recruiting High School Women into Your Computing Classes provides great tips for recruiting diverse students into high school computing courses.