Asee peer logo

Addressing Gender Disparities in Computing Majors and Careers: Development and Effects of a Community Support Structure

Download Paper |

Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34094

Permanent URL

https://www.jee.org/34094

Download Count

49

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Shaundra Bryant Daily Duke University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6612-2049

visit author page

Shaundra B. Daily is an Associate Professor of Practice in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science at Duke University. Previously she was an associate professor at the University of Florida in the Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering as well as an Associate Professor and Interim Co-Chair in the School of Computing at Clemson University. She received her masters and doctorate from MIT. Her work involves designing and implementing technology-infused learning environments that provide youth an opportunity to learn about themselves, others, and to gain insight into interpersonal dynamics.

visit author page

biography

Jessica Sperling Duke University

visit author page

Dr. Sperling leads the Applied Research, Evaluation, & Engagement area of Duke University's Social Science Research Institute.

visit author page

biography

Megan Gray Duke University

visit author page

Megan Gray is a Research Analyst in Evaluation and Engagement at Duke University's Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). She serves as a project manager and researcher for both qualitative and quantitative evaluation and research efforts, in partnership with community-based programs as well as campus-based initiatives. Megan came to Duke from the nonprofit field, where she evaluated and monitored implementation of county-wide early childhood programs. Her prior experience includes school-based social work, teen pregnancy prevention/positive youth development programming, and public health evaluation.

visit author page

biography

Medha Gupta Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

visit author page

Medha is a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA. As an advocate of gender diversity in STEM, she founded SheTEM, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit in 2017 to inspire young girls to take up STEM careers. She is passionate about exploring applications of Computing and Technology to address real-world problems. Her work in this area has been highlighted by local and national media such as the Washington Post, and WDVM TV. She is also involved in several activities such as Congressional Debate, hackathons, Indian dance, #BuiltByGirls, NCWIT, Technovation Challenge, National Honor Society, and Latin Honor Society.

visit author page

biography

Amy Arnold Duke University

visit author page

Amy Arnold has been with the Duke Technology Scholars Program since 2017, and currently serves as Executive Director. Before coming to Duke, Amy did management consulting with McKinsey & Company, led a technical product marketing team at Hewlett Packard, and worked in public affairs at Stanford University. She also serves on the board of the Ravenswood Education Foundation. Amy earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

visit author page

biography

Kelly Perri Duke University

visit author page

Kelly Perri is a program manager for DTech, the Duke Technology Scholars Program. With 20 years of experience in talent acquisition, technical recruiting, campus relations and project management in the tech sector, she helps students majoring in STEM fields at Duke identify and develop their unique abilities and skills. She earned a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

This paper presents the results of a comprehensive effort to inspire women to choose computing careers. In 2016, 57% of bachelor’s degree recipients were female; however, only 19% of computer and information science bachelor’s degrees were earned by females. This gender gap in computer science education also translates into the professional world where women hold 57% of professional occupations, yet less than half are in computing professions. Stereotypes of the field, a lack of role models, and a desire to help others have been cited as contributing to these statistics. It is clear that attracting and retaining women in the field is challenging; yet, it is crucial to push the discipline forward.

The program outlined in this paper aims to address these disparities through a focus on recruiting women in their undergraduate years by prioritizing relationships, mentorship, and hands-on experience. At the core of the program are an intensive summer internship with partner corporations, cohousing of subsets of students living together in housing provided by the program, and targeted matching with a mentor from a technology field. In addition, the program coordinates a variety of networking, professional development, cultural, and social events throughout the summer and academic year, designed to facilitate exposure to professional opportunities.

In this paper, we discuss the program as well as evaluation processes and findings from a mixed-methods evaluation focused on activities from the 2018-2019 cohort. This evaluation includes program administrative data, baseline and post-program survey data from three program sites and focus group data. We focus on the effect of program activities on educational and career trajectories of women in computing, as well as methodological strategies used. As our data depict, this program had clear and positive effects on participants’ self-efficacy, interpersonal and professional skills, mentor relationships, and exposure to career opportunities.

Daily, S. B., & Sperling, J., & Gray, M., & Gupta, M., & Arnold, A., & Perri, K. (2020, June), Addressing Gender Disparities in Computing Majors and Careers: Development and Effects of a Community Support Structure Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34094

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015