Changing the culture of computer science to diversify participation
Many students are not exposed to what computer science is, but they are exposed to endless stereotypes about who we are and what we do. Through outreach, I try to present a more accurate (and exciting) image of our field. I have engaged with thousands of K-12 students and educators, with the aim of encouraging talented individuals from many different backgrounds to consider a career in computing. My approach to outreach is based on research that demonstrates a need to address culture rather than perceived gender differences.
At Drexel University, I led a team of staff, faculty, and students in launching a new effort to improve recruitment and retention of women in undergraduate computing majors, in partnership with NCWIT Extension Services for Undergraduate Programs. This work enabled a new major strategic initiative for the college, focused on Women in Computing. I was also recognized with an NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award for "outstanding mentorship, high-quality research opportunities, recruitment of women and minority students, and efforts to encourage and advance undergraduates in computing-related fields".
At Carnegie Mellon University, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Carol Frieze, SCS4ALL and Women@SCS. I also represented the university in the NCWIT Pacesetters Program, and as an invited panelist for the session "Exploring Success in Women's Recruitment Across Industries" at the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2012 Annual Conference, to discuss Carnegie Mellon’s approach to increasing enrollment and retention of women. As of 2016, almost half of incoming CS freshmen at CMU are women.