June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.1379.1 - 15.1379.11
Women-Centric Senior Projects for Females in the Computational Sciences Fields
This paper presents a novel and creative approach to teaching a Senior Project course in Computer Science in a way that allows women to educate themselves about health, politics, and other social and well-being issues while at the same time fulfilling the computational, mathematical, and scientific requirements of the course. The Senior Project is a capstone project where students integrate their scientific as well as their software design and implementation knowledge to a real-world problem. As our institution is a minority serving one, we have strived to attract female students to the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields through different means including active recruitment, mentorship programs, scholarships, and internships, just to name few. Our latest effort, reported in this paper, is to allow female students to select an area of great impact on their health and/or social well-being, and to investigate it in depth through their senior projects. The approach is called Collaborative Computer Science Women-Centric Senior Projects (CCS-WC-SP). Our goal is to eventually incorporate input from all major departments and schools of the university (University of Texas and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC)), thus allowing women in particular to design and implement early in their careers projects that could involve not only computational aspects but also health, medicine, psychology, sports, and politics, among many other subjects.
It is hardly disputed that the face of America’s workforce in the fields of Engineering and Computer Science (and in fact many others) rarely resembles that of America itself. And despite gender equity and many federal and state anti-discrimination acts, men still dominate these fields, and women lag behind. UTB/TSC, unfortunately, is no different. As the fall-2009 UTB demographics table below shows, 60% of the university’s 17,000 students are females; however, less that 27% of the graduates in Engineering and Computer Science are females.
Quweider, M., & Iglesias, J., & De La Vega, K. (2010, June), Women Centric Senior Projects For Females In The Computational Sciences Fields Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16601
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