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  • Corey Schimpf - Women and Minorities in the Computing Fields: Precollege and College Years

  • Tuesday, November 11, 2014 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM EST
    Purdue University

    The most recent graduation data from the National Science Foundation (NSF) reports that in 2012 Computer Science fields had women earning 22% of the bachelor\u2019s degrees awarded, Blacks at 10%, Latinos/Hispanic at 9% and Native Americans at less than .5%. Like many other Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) field\u2019s women and minority groups are underrepresented in Computer Science and closely related fields. While many studies have examined aspects of women and minority student's underrepresentation in Computer Science and related fields, few have attempted a comprehensive review of research on underrepresentation across the pathway to and through these fields. This presentation is part of an ongoing project that is systematically reviewing and synthesizing research findings about factors and conditions that influence minority and women students\u2019 discovery of computer fields, academic pursuit and persistence and later career pursuits. In this presentation the precollege and college portion of students' pathways will be emphasized. At the precollege level some recurring findings that influence pursuit of computing related fields include access to and support of learning about computers outside of school as well as the availability of college preparatory classes. Turning the collegiate level trends in enrollment and graduation are first reviewed. Then some recurring findings at the college level include the effect of the view of the stereotypical student studying computers and disciplinary climate on students' self-evaluation of fit and perceived ability as well as the role of departmental policies on access and retention. These repeated findings suggest there are many factors at play when it comes to attracting and retaining women and minorities, beyond interest and ability. Understanding and starting to work to address these factors has the potential to increase the diversity of computer related fields. Increasing diversity does not only help women and minority students but may also expand the field with an infusion of new ideas and interests.

    Corey Schimpf is PhD Candidate in Engineering Education. He is a mixed methods researcher with interests including the use of technology in the classroom, design research and gender and race studies. His dissertation explores the use of a gaming platform in First Year Engineering to scaffold early parts of the design process.