If the world was a perfect place, every girl would have a mentor like Yoky Matsuoka. On April 15th, I was lucky enough to shadow Yoky at the University of Washington in Seattle through the Barbie I Can Be mentor program. The program matched ten girls across the country to ten mentors in varying fields in the hopes of inspiring young girls to pursue their dreams. I was nominated through NCWIT and was ecstatic when I found out that I would be able to participate.
The University of Arizona published an article this week about its new report, “Addressing Core Equity Issues in K-12 Computer Science Education: Identifying Barriers and Sharing Strategies” which it produced in cooperation with CSTA and the Anita Borg Institute. The report is a concise and valuable read. It addresses a long-standing problem evident to all of us, but suggests a novel approach:
There was a terrific profile this week on Texas State University’s implementation of ACTiVATE, the UMBC program (and EA member) that encourages women to start tech businesses by providing them with entrepreneurship training, mentoring, and skills. What a great example of how an entrepreneurship program brings together local technologies and local talent to nurture innovation and business.
If you've been wondering what computer science enrollments are like across the pond, here's one answer: Cambridge University in the UK apparently has launched a campaign to recruit more students to computer science, and to dispel the myth that it’s “only for geeks”.
I've heard Maria Klawe say (something along the lines of): "To become a better teacher, you should learn how to do new things that are hard for you - this will help you remember what it is like for many of your students."
At this year's SXSW, 10 "women-in-tech" organizations teamed up to sponsor a single booth. "Women Techies United" turned out to be quite an attraction! Nearly every woman who walked by (and a lot of men too) stopped to see what we were all about.
Despite outreach programs, targeted recruitment efforts and scholarships, women continue to account for a disproportionally small fraction of the bachelor’s degrees awarded in computing. That suggests to me that if we’re ever going to change our demographics, we need to look carefully at the product we’re offering.
This is the second in a series of blogs contributed by winners of the NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund, a Microsoft-funded initiative that awards up to $15,000 to innovative programs that recruit and retain women students in post-secondary computing departments. Read more about the Seed Fund here.