Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    March 20, 2017 | 09:50 a.m.

    Very encouraging to see a program that takes a whole-person approach to a much underserved group! The "boot camp" intervention seems quite substantial and well thought out, but I know that computer science (CS) has considerable cultural barriers for entry and is the one STEM field where the gender gap is actually growing. Have you experienced (or do you have plans in place to redress) any implicit biases in CS that come from the (now) male-dominated culture or a fixed mindset that only certain people can be good in CS? I am also impressed by the RCT design and am curious to know what you are using for a comparison group in the experimental evaluation?

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  • Icon for: Linda Christopher

    Linda Christopher

    Presenter
    March 20, 2017 | 12:14 p.m.

    Hello Kevin,

    Thank you for your comments!  Yes! We are very concerned about the implicit bias issue - definitely! We are going to intertwine workshops and interactive lessons on Social Cognitive Career Theory throughout the "boot camp" in an effort to boost the women's self efficacy around the world of work and Computer Science. We are hoping this new found confidence will help them to address bias and challenges in the field.  Our plan is to recruit 300 women into the pool of interested participants - and from there we will randomize a treatment and control group of n = 150 each.  This is a small scale RCT to pilot the "boot camp" idea for a larger-scale study in the future. I know our team appreciates your insight into this serious issue - thank you again for watching our video.  Linda Christopher - PI

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  • Small default profile

    Mark Leddy

    Guest
    March 21, 2017 | 12:09 p.m.

    Congratulations on the submission of the video!

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  • Icon for: Rosann Tung

    Rosann Tung

    Facilitator
    March 21, 2017 | 01:58 p.m.

    The focus of WATT is to provide access to STEM careers to young women from historically underrepresented groups. I applaud the attention to the social and cultural aspects of their career development in addition to the technical. My question is about addressing the systems and structures that exclude women in the first place. How, if at all, does WATT tackle those challenges? What would success look like in changing companies' systems and structures, for example around recruitment and retention?

    In watching your video, I also wondered whether and how WATT partners with local industry to provide internship, job shadowing, mentoring, or networking opportunities for participants.

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  • Icon for: Ann Gates

    Ann Gates

    Professor and Chair
    March 21, 2017 | 05:32 p.m.

    This sounds like a great program, especially providing resources for financially disadvantaged women. How are you able to provide free transportation and child care?

  • Icon for: Shannon Alfaro

    Shannon Alfaro

    Co-Presenter
    March 23, 2017 | 04:06 p.m.

    Hi Ann!

    Thanks for your question. We are actively raising funds to cover additional costs that the NSF INCLUDES Pilot does not fully cover. To that end, one of our alliance/community partners is applying for funds to cover the childcare costs of their participants.

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  • Icon for: Karen Schloss

    Karen Schloss

    Assistant Professor
    March 22, 2017 | 12:17 p.m.

    This is an inspiring program!

    I would be interested to know more about the steps after training and education that might help members of the program get networked into the workforce and find jobs.- 

    -Karen

    Females of Vision et al. (FoVea)

    http://includes2017.videohall.com/presentations...

  • Icon for: Shannon Alfaro

    Shannon Alfaro

    Co-Presenter
    March 23, 2017 | 04:12 p.m.

    Thanks Karen!

    We have a team of alliance/community partners to assist us with this. College Counselors from UC Irvine, and from local community colleges will provide information/guidance on how to matriculate into those systems. With regards to industry, another alliance partner(OC WIB & OCTANE) will seek/pair interested participants with job shadowing opportunities, and potential apprenticeships/internships. We also will encourage/support participants to apply for scholarships to programs such as FullStack Academy for additional web development skills.

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  • Icon for: Jeff Forbes

    Jeff Forbes

    Facilitator
    March 23, 2017 | 10:51 a.m.

    This project has a clear goal to reach an important target group. How do you determine what computer science concepts and tools you will introduce? Will the curriculum evolve based on consultation with student, employers, or computer science educators? 

  • Icon for: Shannon Alfaro

    Shannon Alfaro

    Co-Presenter
    March 23, 2017 | 04:28 p.m.

    Great question Kevin!

    We're mindful of the limited time that we have with our students(roughly a semester's course), and need to set realistic expectations taking into consideration the varied academic backgrounds and natural abilities of the women in our cohort.

    Our pilot curriculum is being designed by taking input from full stack developers in industry, and web development instructors, including conversations with the Grace Hopper Academy(an immersive on-site women-only school affiliated with FullStack Academy) in New York City, to get create a balance of core CS-programming skills(variables, selection/loops, objects/lists/structures, algorithms) and using Web Development Toolkits and fundamentals of various languages. 

    We are very much interested in input from others, so if you know of any affinity groups in this area, we'd love to know of them.

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  1. Linda Christopher
  2. Dean's Appointment - NSF PI
  3. Women Advancing Through Technology
  4. UC Irvine, OC STEM, Jamboree Housing
  1. Shannon Alfaro
  2. Computer Science Expert Consultant
  3. Women Advancing Through Technology
  4. UC Irvine, OC STEM, Jamboree Housing
  1. Natalie Reider
  2. Director of Community Impact
  3. Women Advancing Through Technology
  4. Jamboree Housing

Women Advancing Through Technology
1649377

The Women Advancing Through Technology (WATT) program is under the direction of Principal Investigator, Dr. Linda Christopher and Co Principal Investigator, Dr. Christine Olmstead, and Computer Science Expert Shannon Alfaro. The program is geared for women ages 16 to 34, who are members of underrepresented racial minorities and ethnic groups, with low socioeconomic status.  The WATT “boot camp” will teach the fundamentals of Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS, SQL, JavaScript, and AngularJS, and educate women from the targeted populations who desire to engage in upward occupational mobility and a career in web development. The program is designed in such a way that they will be able to keep their current jobs and have outside support through free child care and transportation funds. WATT is designed to meet the current and future demand for mid-level computer science technicians, particularly in web design and mobile applications. The end goals are jobs in the computer tech sector with a future pathway to higher education.