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An Investigation of Pathways to Computing for Middle and High Schoolers in the U.S. South

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Pathways to Success in STEM through Computer Science and Making

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Stacy Kastner Mississippi State University

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Dr. Stacy Kastner is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Writing Center in the English department at Mississippi State University. Her BA and MA degrees in English are from St. Bonaventure University, and she earned her PhD in Rhetoric and Writing from Bowling Green State University in 2013. At Mississippi State, she teaches courses on composition and writing center theory, practice, and research as well as first-year composition. She’s passionate about the potential of non-traditional learning environments and pedagogies, the extra- and co-curricular, to address issues of inequity within educational institutions. Her research focuses on the political, ideological, and personal dimensions of literacy acquisition with special attention to techno- and cyber-literacy, disciplinary self-identity formation, and techno-feminist community outreach activities.

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Sarah B. Lee Mississippi State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Sarah B. Lee is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering at Mississippi State University and is a Gender Studies faculty affiliate. She received her BS from the Mississippi University for Women, a Master’s degree in Computer Science at Mississippi State University, and her PhD in Computer Science at the University of Memphis. She brings software development and project management experience to the classroom from her career in industry. Her research interests include interdisciplinary project and team-based learning to promote gender equality in digital literacy and human and social aspects of software engineering.

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Tori Holifield Mississippi State University

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Tori Holifield is an English graduate student at Mississippi State University pursuing an emphasis in Linguistics. She is a teaching assistant for the English department and a tutor for Academic Athletics.

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For two weeks in June 2015, the Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) and English departments at a large public research institution hosted nearly 80 high school and middle school students at residential computing camps. The first week, the departments worked with middle and high school boys, and the second week, with middle and high school girls. The camps were offered at no cost to all accepted participants. Primary support came from the NSF and NSA’s jointly funded GenCyber program, and secondary support included a private donor, a corporate foundation, and the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT).

Over the course of the 4-night (middle school) and 5-night (high school) programs, campers were invited to participate in voluntary survey and interview research. This paper analyzes a small portion of the data from 65 participants in order to better understand (1) participants’ motivations for applying to a residential computing camp, (2) participants’ access to technological tools and education prior to the camp, and (3) participants’ desired access to computing education at the end of the camp. Such knowledge is integral to the increasing amount of computer science education initiatives across the nation, such as President Obama’s recently announced Computer Science For All initiative.1

Kastner, S., & Lee, S. B., & Holifield, T. (2016, June), An Investigation of Pathways to Computing for Middle and High Schoolers in the U.S. South Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26227

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