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«Gloria Childress Townsend Professor of Computer Science Stephanie Ball Laura Kuh Computer Science Majors DePauw University SIGCSE Original 2005 ...»

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Benefits: Alternative paths from undergraduate computer science majors are important choices for young women and can broaden their fields of opportunity.

–  –  –

36. Gaining Confidence Academic Description: Ask advanced students to provide hints for being more actively engaged in class.

Instruct the women to also describe a specific event that portrays how the hint was applied to an actual situation. Ask the younger women to describe situations in which they feel hesitant to participate in classes. Brainstorm ways to overcome the hesitancy.

Ask the younger women to report outcomes/progress at the next women-in-computing event.

Benefits: This activity helps women become more successful and more confident in class.

–  –  –

37. Combined Event Academic & Social Description: Join forces with another campus group, such as an ACM chapter, a Women in Science group, or the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) for a combined event.

Benefits: More people can be more fun! A combined event can also broaden an organization’s support system.

–  –  –

38. Research Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU) This program is an initiative to increase the number of women and minorities continuing on to graduate school in computer science by providing them with positive research experiences during their undergraduate career. Co-sponsored by CRA-W (Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research) and CDC (Coalition to Diversify Computing), CREU employs students during the academic year for research work with faculty members on various projects that would not usually receive monetary support. For more information, visit the CREU website at http://www.cra.org/Activities/craw/creu/index.php.

Academic Description: Encourage professors to apply for grants from the National Science Foundation, ACM, etc. to fund research programs for students of all levels, not just upper-class students.

Benefits: Participating in research gives students real world applications for classroom material, increases retention and promotes interest in graduate school.

–  –  –

39. Laboratory Assistants Academic Description: Invite junior or senior women to volunteer their time and help out during busy lab hours. Alternately, recruit women to serve as paid laboratory assistants. Profile current tutors, during a chapter meeting, encouraging the students to discuss the benefits/advantages of their work.

Benefits: Female assistants combat the traditional image of the male computer scientist. Also, women in positions of authority act as role-models to recruit more females. Female laboratory assistants fill extremely valuable roles, if the computer science faculty roster is all or primarily male.

–  –  –

40. Book Club Academic & Social Description: Invite students to participate in a monthly book club meeting, where they are free to discuss any interesting novels, but are encouraged to read computer science related books, such as Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing.

Benefits: A monthly book discussion can open up conversation among students.

Group Size: Large

41. Oral Histories Academic Description: Women have valuable stories to share with succeeding "generations" of students.

Have women tape each other and edit the footage into stories. Ask each pair to describe how each member chose computing as a major, what struggles she has had and how she overcame adversity, and her future plans.

Benefits: The women, who work together in pairs, are able to mentor and role model each other, as well as give advice to students in the years to come.

Group Size: Pairs of two

42. Science Fair Academic & Service Description: Ask for student volunteers to judge high school or grade school level science fair projects.

Benefits: Grade school and high school are crucial times, when young girls are deciding if science is right for them. Seeing women role models at their schools could positively influence their decisions to become female scientists.

Group Size: Large

43. Brain Games Academic Description: Send out campus flyers from the women-in-computing organization. The flyers should be filled with brain games and puzzles that exercise one’s problem solving skills.

Be sure to include a line that says "If you like these brain games, you’ll love CS1!" Benefits: Students who are good at problem solving often excel in computer science. People pursue paths that please them: If a student believes she might be good at computer science, she will be more likely to enroll in the class. The brain game flyers make the connection.

Group Size: Large

44. Graduate School Information Sessions Academic Description: Ask computer science professors to hold a graduate school information session for students who are considering continuing education. Topics of discussion may include cost, what to expect, possible degrees one may obtain, and what to look for in a graduate school.

Benefits: This session provides the student with information about graduate school that they may not be able to find elsewhere.

Group Size: Large





45. Visit High Schools Academic & Service Description: Ask for student volunteers to visit local high schools to educate younger students about the field of computer science and its benefits. Call high schools to find out times and dates for college/career fairs or other counseling events. Offer to attend the event and represent computer science.

Benefits: High school visits expose the younger students to the concepts of computer science at a crucial time in their academic careers, when they are beginning to view themselves as college-bound. These visits spark interest in the students and persuade them to follow a science path.

Groups Size: Small

46. Programming Contests Academic Description: Hold a programming contest for introductory students only, with questions supplied by local professors.

–  –  –

Antonio Lopez's students mentor girls in a fifth-grade, urban, inner-city school, hosting a programming contest for teams once a year. (tlopez@xula.edu) Benefits: Programming contests give participants a chance to put skills acquired in the classroom to use in social situations. The preparation process allows social interaction; travel experiences help motivate students to learn more.

–  –  –

The Association for Computing Machinery holds local, regional, and international contests each year for male and female students. During the contests, teams of three students must solve eight problems in a period of five hours. The winners of the local and regional contests move on to the international competition, where finalists receive awards, scholarships, and prizes. For more information, please visit the ACM programming contest homepage: http://icpc.baylor.edu/icpc/default.htm.

Refuting Stereotypes

–  –  –

Description: Instruct women to bring a picture of the most stereotyped, nerdy computer scientist image they can find. Vote for a winner. Use the image as a basis for a bulletin board display or Web pages, if there are no copyright issues. In the display, label the nerd with “Many people think that this man is a computer scientist, and he could be, because computer scientists come as many different packages as any other kinds of people.”

Adjoin the captioned area with electronic or hardcopy pages of young alumnae, labeled:

“Here are some of our alumnae.” Benefits: Constructing the display, seeing the alumnae photographs and hearing the alumnae stories refute the stereotype of the "lonely programmer."

–  –  –

48. "Debunking the Geek" Workshop Academic & Social Description: Encourage women to brainstorm a list of geeky terms that befuddled them in their foray into computer science culture. Either as a group, or through a moderator who feels particularly familiar with the terms (upperclass women are good choices), discuss the terms, tell stories about their use, demystify them, and poke fun at them. In Stanford (Lilly Irani) ACM-W/WICS' experience, this also tends to be a place where computer science staples, such as Linux are made less intimidating Benefits: The workshop tends to be full of funny stories, as students and faculty members demystify geek terms and cultural practices that men employ more often than women.

49. "What Is COMPUTER SCIENCE, by the Way?" Showcase Academic Description: Organize a short-series of workshops that happen every week or two, where faculty members (and perhaps PhD students) provide short, engaging presentations on their research, aimed at undeclared, exploring undergraduates. Provide lunch.

Benefits: Many students, and especially women, come to school with the idea that computer science is programming. At schools where women do not have to choose a major right away, women may not be willing to commit to a "breadth-first" introduction course or a mentoring relationship. The program allows for as little or as much participation in the workshops, while providing a small group community over the course of the workshops.

(Lilly Irani)

50. LuncheonAcademic

Description: Ask several advanced students to research careers (e.g. project manager, consultant, Web page developer) and attend a luncheon "in character". Use several round tables, if the group is large. Have women rotate among tables describing their work and "what a typical day is like."

Benefits: Many women believe that careers in computing involve programming only. We must constantly reinforce the variety of available career options in computing.

Group Size: Large

51. New Majors Academic Description: Celebrate in style, when a woman declares a major in computing. Use light-hearted spoofing of sororities – for example, members wear "sorority pins" (made with small computer parts) and pin the new major. (See 86. Computer Jewelry) Decorate or buy a special cake with the name of the new major and add words of welcome.

Benefits: The humorous atmosphere allows women who are new to the group to relax and join in the fun. The elaborate attention, at the same time, demonstrates that the new woman is now part of a highly-organized and energetic group that truly is pleased to welcome her into its membership.

Group Size: Small or Large

52. Self-Defense Class Academic Description: Gather a group of female students to participate in self-defense classes. Selfdefense not only includes protecting oneself physically, but also mentally.

Benefits: Women are more likely to apologize while speaking and to be more timid in public situations. These classes will help boost self-confidence, as well as teach preparation for risky situations, especially working late at night in isolated computer labs, which are not heavily populated.

Group Size: Large

53. Open House Academic & Social Description: Hold an information session close to registration time for prospective students.

Invite current computer science majors as well as professors in the department to mingle with possible future computer science majors. Offer the prospective students tours of the department and its spaces.

Benefits: Open houses draw students to the department and introduce students, who may not have had any previous experience, to the field of computer science.

Group Size: Large

54. Hat Discussion Academic & Social Description: Hold a meeting with no formal topic. Prior to the meeting, ask women to submit discussion ideas ("a problem I'm having", "information I need", "please give me advice about the following", etc.) by email. Copy, fold and place the ideas in a “hat”. At the meeting, draw a discussion topic from the hat.

Benefits: This type of discussion effectively addresses the issues, which are of concern to the students, and gives shy students a chance to participate.

Group Size: Large

55. First-year Orientation Academic & Social Description: During the spring, request inclusion in the school's first-year orientation program for students interested in the computer science major. Provide snacks and a good place for the students to circulate and get acquainted with female students and faculty in the department and learn about computing classes.

Benefits: Using the orientation period to introduce first-year students to other older students (and one or more faculty members) from the department provides the young students with a chance to make new friends. Doing this at such an early juncture in the academic year initiates the recruitment process properly.

Group Size: Large

56. Conferences Academic, Professional, & Social Description: Invite students to attend a women-in-computing conference, either locally or nationally, or persuade your university to host one.

Benefits: Conferences are a great opportunity for women to meet other women in the computer science field and to make good networking connections for future use.

Group Size: Large

–  –  –

The Grace Hopper conference, presented by the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology and the Association for Computing Machinery, brings together many women from all over the country with one common interest – computer science. Participants attend to listen to women who are leaders in their respective fields, as well as look at the latest research developments. Each year, the conference has a theme. The two most recent themes: "Ubiquity of Computers" and "Making History." For more information, visit the official Grace Hopper website: http://www.gracehopper.org.

The Indiana Celebration of Women in Computing



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