1. Sarah Lee
  2. Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies
  3. Mississippi Alliance for Women in Computing
  4. https://msawc.org
  5. Mississippi State University
  1. Vemitra White
  2. Director
  3. Mississippi Alliance for Women in Computing
  4. https://msawc.org
  5. Mississippi State University
Public Discussion
  • Small default profile

    Nancy Shapiro

    Guest
    March 20, 2017 | 09:58 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing this info on the Mississippi Alliance.  I'm particularly intrigued by the partnership that you have developed with the industry and school partners across the state.  I'll be interested in learning about what you find out about the pre-college experiences that had an influence, and the programs that have a positive impact on retention (like living learning communities).  In Maryland we are trying to develop professional development programs for teachers in the high schools to help prime the pipeline in to college.   I'll check your website.  Thanks again!

     

  • Icon for: Sarah Lee

    Sarah Lee

    Presenter
    March 20, 2017 | 11:53 a.m.

    Nancy, we definitely should schedule a phone call. We are also working on professional development for teachers (I am collaborating with colleagues in the College of Education).  We have offered a pilot PD program for two summers.  Please email me at sblee@cse.misstate.edu and let's schedule a time to talk.

    I have disseminated information about MSAWC through a network of professionals in the InnovateMS (http://innovate.ms/) initiative.  Numerous industry reps have come forward to share information about existing programs in their communities and offer to help initiate new programs for girls across the state. Through the steering committee (our initial Alliance members) we have established K12 contacts. We are in the 5th month of the project, so many of the industry partnerships are in the process of being formalized.

  • Icon for: Rosann Tung

    Rosann Tung

    Facilitator
    March 20, 2017 | 10:43 a.m.

    Increasing the recruitment and retention of women of color in computing majors and careers is such an important focus; your point about potentially missing out on innovations and solutions that women can bring to technology is right on!

    Could you please describe the sorts of K-12 outreach activities the Alliance has engaged in since 2011? What were the results of outreach in terms of the numbers of women and women of color pursuing undergraduate computing majors?

    I'm also curious about your new programming. How does the Alliance plan to build staff capacity for its Summerbridge and Living and Learning Communities?

    Thanks!

  • Icon for: Sarah Lee

    Sarah Lee

    Presenter
    March 20, 2017 | 12:30 p.m.

    Rosann,  We began offering summer residential computing camps for women in 2011 at Mississippi State.  In 2013, we expanded that to middle school girls. Last summer we offered a computing day camp for elementary aged girls (our first) in a neighboring town. We plan to offer two elementary girls camps this summer in neighboring communities through NSA's GenCyber program.  Also, we are partnering with an Aspirations in Computing award winner to offer a day camp at MSU through NCWIT's AspireIT program.  In addition, as a part of the goals of MSAWC, we have three other Mississippi Aspirations in Computing winners who have applied for an AspireIT grant to offer outreach to elementary girls in their home communities.  One of our CS students hosted a one day workshop for middle school girls through ProjectCSGIRLS this year. I will follow up with numbers of girls that have participated.

     

    For the Summer Bridge and Living Learning Community, we are staffing with undergraduate women in one of our engineering-based computing majors (computer science, software engineering, or computer engineering).  For the summer outreach programs, we similarly hire undergraduate women, and students (male and female) with disabilities through AccessComputing.  We also hire near-peer mentors for the middle school and elementary programs (high school girls who are Aspirations in Computing winners or who have completed one of our high school camp offerings). 

     

    Rosann, we have had a few young women who have participated in summer outreach programs and the Aspirations in Computing award program who have entered MSU with a computing major (two AA women). Since we are engaging girls beginning at elementary age through high school, there has not been enough passage of time to capture whether they will enter college with a computing major. It is promising that many of these girls (including many of color) are participating in multiple activities on the pathway towards college.

     

  • Icon for: Rosann Tung

    Rosann Tung

    Facilitator
    March 21, 2017 | 02:28 p.m.

    Sarah, Thank you for your response. The summer camp and workshop approach to outreach allows for deep engagement in single gender settings. It would be interesting to study the technical and socio-emotional outcomes, not only of the girls attending the camps and workshops, but also of the undergraduate STEM majors who are serving as camp counselors and mentors.

  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    March 20, 2017 | 12:02 p.m.

    I too am intrigued by the factors that affect women’s interest and persistence in computer science (CS). My sister got a CS degree in the 80s when it was much more common than it is today. A recent study I was part of looked at the persistence of women to a college degree and found some evidence that the factors responsible for the growing gender gap in CS are already in place at earlier ages, perhaps due to a cultural divide in CS pursuits that increasingly favors boys and disfavors girls. So I would like to learn more about what K-12 programs you have in place (or are planning) and any light that has been cast on the barriers women, particularly those of color, face in the computer science field?

  • Icon for: Sarah Lee

    Sarah Lee

    Presenter
    March 21, 2017 | 10:16 a.m.

    Kevin, thank you for watching the video and for commenting.  We began offering high school girls computing camps (residential) in 2011 at MSU.  We expanded that to middle school in 2013, and last year offered a summer day camp for elementary aged girls (grades 3-5).  We are expanding the elementary day camps this summer through NSA Gencyber funding (2 camps planned) and through (pending) NCWIT AspireIT funding. Aspirations in Computing award winners (high school girls) are planning to offer 4 AspireIT elementary and middle school girl day camps across the state.  There has been a mother-daughter hackathon offered in the state, and we are working to expand those offerings throughout the state for multiple ages (mother/grandmother/female caregiver-daughter hackathons).

    The barriers that we see in Mississippi are centered around self-efficacy.  Girls in Mississippi largely do not have access to extracurricular activities that engage them with computing, and they typically do not have role models in the field.  It is important that they are shown the relevance of computing, and how it is an integral part of other fields that they may be interested in (such as healthcare).  In addition, there is a need to provide mentoring to girls who want to go to college and do not have guidance on how to apply, how to complete FAFSA, etc....many are first generation college students.  Engaging them, and then assisting them along the computing pathway is necessary.

  • Small default profile

    Josh Freeman

    Guest
    March 21, 2017 | 10:32 p.m.

    This is terrific, Sarah. At a time of nationwide focus on this issue, from the development pipeline to the issues faced in Silicon Valley, it is great to see what you are doing. What have been your biggest challenges so far?

  • Icon for: Sarah Lee

    Sarah Lee

    Presenter
    March 25, 2017 | 02:33 p.m.

    I have found that when offering a new program, getting girls and young women 'recruited' and engaged for an initial offering is challenging. However, word spreads quickly and the 2nd time we offer a camp or other outreach program, we have a lot more interest than the first time. That tells me that the need is great, we just have to get the word out!  Many girls, after engagin in an initial computing activity, are looking for the next step along the path to maintain involvement.

  • Icon for: Chrystalla Mouza

    Chrystalla Mouza

    Presenter
    March 26, 2017 | 10:20 a.m.

    Sarah, nice to see a more thorough presentation of your work. We have spoken during the PI meeting in DC. We are also doing work in CS both in formal settings (schools - through our Partner4CS funded work: http://sites.udel.edu/partner4cs/) and informal settings through our Includes pilot (Boys & Girls Clubs and Libraries). We would love to find ways to connect with you.

  • Icon for: Sarah Lee

    Sarah Lee

    Presenter
    March 27, 2017 | 11:47 a.m.

    Hi Chrystalla, Thank you for stopping by and commenting!  Please email me at sblee@cse.msstate.edu . would love to talk about how we may work together.  I am sure we can learn a lot from your prior experience.  Let's talk soon!

  • Icon for: Linda Christopher

    Linda Christopher

    Dean's Appointment - NSF PI
    March 27, 2017 | 02:15 p.m.

    Hello Sara and Vemitra,

    Your work is so exciting and timely! I appreciate that you are addressing this issue early on in the lives of young women. Do you work with current CS professionals to mentor the participants in your camps and other outreach programs?  I would love for we as INCLUDES colleagues to work together to send out a broad sweeping message for more female professional mentors and volunteer instructors...what do you think?

     

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.