Charlie McDowell, Associate Dean, Professor


Partner with existing groups (company affinity groups, supervisory groups, local community organizations) to offer opportunities that women weren't aware of and to recruit and advance women into computing fields. This may involve efforts to change the image of computing or improving how the organization celebrates women's technical contributions and accomplishments.

Improving the first course can appeal to a broader demographic (not just women) by teaching computing in context and showing how computing skills can be is applied to disciplines such as healthcare, disabilities, or the arts. Such introductory courses introduce computational thinking skills (as opposed to just the mechanics of coding), keep students engaged, and increase retention in the major.

Outreach and programs that target middle and high school girls are important because they engage girls before they lose interest or decide to pursue other fields. Programs such as the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing and Dot Diva provide encouragement, inspiration, and community to young women that can influence career decisions.

Organization Name: 
University of California - Santa Cruz
Organization URL:

To reach our Pacesetters goal, the University of California-Santa Cruz will conduct a summer camp for middle school girls, support the Bay Area Affiliate of the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award, make regular visits to local area middle and high schools with a “Road Show,” work to improve the “Introduction to Computer Science” course and bring it into alignment with the national “Computer Science: Principles” course, and further develop our overall effort to recruit and retain more 1st year females in CS which we have named, “Project Awesome.” We recognize the importance of working towards goals that will generate long term results and these projects will do so by educating women about how a career in computing can be compatible with their personal goals and interests, introducing alternative programming courses, launching an information brochure, inviting female students to information sessions that also is informative about the nature of a CS major, and hosting social events that will change the image of the CS community.