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Analyzing the Impact of Attending a Women in Computing Conference on Undergraduate Computing Students

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division (WIED) Technical Session 8

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering Division (WIED)

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Paper Authors


Mary V. Villani State University of New York, College of Technology at Farmingdale

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Mary V. Villani is an Associate Professor at Farmingdale State College (FSC). She holds a doctoral degree from Pace University, the Ivan G. Seidenberg School of Computer Science, and Information Systems. Her dissertation topic was Keystroke Biometric Identification Studies on Long-Text input. Publications in this area include peer-reviewed journal articles, external conference papers and a co-authored book chapter in Behavioral Biometrics for Human Identification: Intelligent Applications. Dr. Villani has been actively seeking funding and has been awarded funding both internally and externally to address the gender disparity in the Computing Programs at FSC and is Co-Faculty Advisor to the Supporting Women in Computing Club. Dr. Villani has presented and published in peer reviewed journals regarding initiatives and outcomes addressing the gender disparity in computing disciplines including co-moderated a Birds of a Feather Session at the virtual NY Celebration of Women in Computing at the Spring 2021 Conference entitled: Learning and Sharing from the Decade long Journey of Success and Failures on Women in Computing Initiatives. Professor Villani presented a paper entitled, Solving the Gender Disparity Puzzle in Computing Disciplines at a Commuter State College at ISECON virtual conference in October 2021 and co-moderated a Birds of a Feather session at SIGSCE 2022 virtually entitled: Mentoring a Women in Computing Club: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Dr. Villani presented a paper at ASEE 2022 in Minneapolis, MN entitled: Designed A (Re)Orientation Program for Women Computing Students at a Commuter College and Measuring its Effectiveness. Fall 2023 a paper entitled: An Early Measure of Women-Focused Initiatives in Gender-Imbalanced Computing programs were presented at CCSC Eastern Conference. Dr. Villani has been a Grace Hopper Scholarship reviewer, Dr. Villani was awarded the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013. Prior to joining FSC, Dr. Villani had a fifteen-year Computer Consulting Career in the Risk Management and Insurance industry. Throughout her career, she wrote articles and papers on the topic of Risk Management Information Systems and delivered several invited presentations at Risk Management Conferences as she was a recognized expert in the discipline.

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Ilknur Aydin State University of New York, College of Technology at Farmingdale

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Ilknur Aydin is an Associate Professor of Computer Systems at Farmingdale State College in New York. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Delaware in DE, USA and received her BS degree in Computer Engineering from Marmara University in Istanbul, Turkey. She also worked as a software engineer in Turkey on projects about implementation of a GPS (Global Positioning System) based vehicle tracking system.

Dr. Aydin's research is in the general area of wireless and mobile networks with a focus on transport layer issues including multihoming, SCTP, congestion control, and network coding. Dr. Aydin has mentored undergraduates and high school students on research projects that involve the use of Arduino boxes and Raspberry Pi's in the context of Internet of Things.

Dr. Aydin has been a vivid supporter of women in computing and increasing diversity in computing. She has been the co-faculty advisor for Women in Computing club at Farmingdale, contributed in Grace Hopper Celebration as a technical committee member and reviewer. Dr. Aydin has published and presented in peer reviewed venues about women in computing and broadening the participation over a decade.

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Lisa Cullington National University

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Lisa Cullington, Ph.D. is an educational researcher with expertise in curriculum development, learning outcomes and educational assessment best practices. She focuses on building and evaluating academic programs that promote inclusive excellence for all learners. Currently, Dr. Cullington serves as the Director of Learning Outcomes for National University. Previously, she was the Founding Co-Director of the Honors Program at SUNY Farmingdale and Associate Director of the Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) Program where she designed, implemented, and evaluated academic programs to engage students from historically minoritized communities in undergraduate research opportunities. She has served as a principal investigator and educational researcher on number grant initiatives, including grants from the National Science Foundation and the United States Department of Education.

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Undergraduate computing degrees have long experienced a gender disparity in enrollment. Research shows that a lack of sense of belonging can negatively impact underrepresented students in higher education, and in the STEM fields. Furthermore, academic self-concept has been demonstrated to support students in persisting and graduating college. However, it is unclear how colleges can utilize interventions to cultivate a sense of belonging and academic self-concept specifically for women in the computing field. Furthermore, research is needed to understand the impacts of career focused academic conference participation for women enrolled in undergraduate computing degrees at commuter institutions. This study examines the impact of participating in a regional Women in Computing conference on their sense of belonging and academic self-concept. This study utilized a quantitative, descriptive approach to examine the experience of 29 undergraduate women interested in the computing field at a teaching college, public institution in the northeast. Participants participated in a pre- and post-conference survey to determine the perceived impacts. Participants were also surveyed one month and eight months after conference attendance to determine longer-term impact. The study findings demonstrate that women computing majors felt an improved sense of belonging and academic self-concept after attending the conference. Students felt more optimistic about their ability to connect with peers, faculty, and industry partners and their ability to persist through the computing degree. Implications for institutions and research are also discussed.

Villani, M. V., & Aydin, I., & Cullington, L. (2023, June), Analyzing the Impact of Attending a Women in Computing Conference on Undergraduate Computing Students Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland.

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: © 2023 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