Ed Lazowska, Bill & Melinda Gates Chair in Computer Science & Engineering

Ed Lazowska

Strategies: 

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.

In-reach means looking more closely at the women already on campus and those already working in your company to recruit from the inside. Women already connected to your organization can be motivated to study CS / IT majors or take on variety of technical corporate jobs when they receive direct motivation to do so.

Faculty, admissions staff, counselors, parents, mentors, managers, and peers are all powerful influencers of women's decisions to enter or stay in a technical career. Influencing the influencers provides an inflection point for causing them to consider their own biases or perceptions, and helping them encourage more women to pursue technical careers.

Organization Name: 
University of Washington

University of Washington Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) created a multi-pronged strategy with the goal of adding "net new" women in computing fields. We targeted female freshman honors students with a new course called "Brave New World: Scientific, Economic and Social Impact of CS". We created popular honors sections in our introductory programming courses with the purpose of engaging smart women and getting some of them to add Computer Science & Engineering to their "might be interested in" list of majors. We coordinated our instructors and support staff to ensure consistent, encouraging communication with students (specifically women) in the Intro the Programming class. Emails sent to high achievers suggested that they consider applying for the major; informational "teas" invited women to network with faculty, students, and staff from the department; and a special women's seminar introduced women to the breadth and depth of CSE by visiting local companies, listening to current student panels, seeing research presentations, and talking about their experiences in the courses.

We also are in the early stages of our traveling road show program, in which CSE graduates and undergraduates visit local middle and high schools to show them exciting applications of computer science. The number of women in the University of Washington CSE is about 4% higher now than when we started; since many of our outreach programs target students early in the pipeline, we hope to continue to see our numbers increase over the next few years.

Hear Ed tell the University of Washington Pacesetters story: http://sitwithme.org/your-story/?story=1302.