Thursday, October 4, 2012
Recruiting and Retaining Women of Underrepresented Groups
So Thursday morning began my adventure. I really wanted some answers to why the numbers are so small for minorities in computing. I mean the statistics of women in computing are minute compared to men already. but women of color have discouraging numbers. I decided to attend a session about how to recruit and retain women of these underrepresented groups to further my understanding.
The panel for this session included:
Jamika D. Burge- Senior Scientist, Information Systems Worldwide
Maria Alvarez- Microsoft
Janet Rutledge- University of Maryland Baltimore County
Stephanie Ludi- Rochester Institute of Technology
Linda Werner Campbell- University of California Santa Cruz
Not enough women are finding Computer Science cool was the thought of the panel. For a woman in Computer Science , you find you are the only women in Computer Science classes or in a particular department at work. In order to change this girls and women need encouragement to find Computer Science a great program in which to continue to study. Another underrepresented group brought to light was women with disabilities. It was said that women with disabilities are hard to recruit, whether it be because they do not stick with Computer Science or recruiting methods not being fully accessible to them. One of the panelist mentioned that the expectations are also lower for women with disabilities.
Dr. Rutledge spoke of her research at UMBC, stating that women that succeed in Computer Science at the University level do so because they take advantage of any resources available to them. She also mentioned that a grouped academic environment work very well for women in Computer Science.
Linda Werner Campbell spoke of her research at University of California Santa Cruz. She stated that African American and Latina women are underrepresented groups in Computer Science. She said her research states that there are more women with Associate degrees in Computer Science from community colleges, but less from 4 year Universities. This interested me because I do have an Associates Degree in Computer Science from Thomas Nelson Community College. This research makes me strive even harder to complete my Bachelor's here at ODU in May of 2013. She also stated that the pathway to 4 year universities for many Latina women are through community colleges. She stated that many do not have the funds to attend a 4 year university initially. She said many of them participate in programs where graduation from community college guarantees admission to a 4 year university. One of her last points was that compared to white women in Computer Science, Latina and African American women's parents do not possess Bachelor degrees. This may be a direct correlation to the low numbers of Latina and African Americans in Computer Science. Some underrepresented groups may be more discouraged that their parents were not able to go to college and receive a degree, where there are some that enter the program and encounter a difficult class and decide to drop Computer Science or engineering as a major.
All in all support systems are key in situations such as this. If it were not for Mrs. Brunelle, certain professors, and a network of students willing to help (not disable and enable) me I would not have gotten to my senior year, with only 2 courses left after the Fall semester. Oh yeah! Best part of attending this session was the Erinn and I received a ticket to attend the Women of Color/Women of Underrepresented Groups Lunch.