Several years ago, after devoting many years to the study of the gender gap in STEM fields using nationwide data on first-year college students, it became clear to me that the study of STEM in the “aggregate” was no longer a realistic or useful way to examine women’s progress in these fields. Not only does women’s representation in undergraduate STEM vary dramatically by field (constituting as many as 58% of bachelor’s degree earners in the biological sciences and only 18% of degree earners in computer science and engineering [NCES, 2015]), but STEM fields are distinct from each other in many other ways, including curriculum, career paths, and the types of students they attract.
Computing Research News
Articles relevant to the CRA Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W).
CERP recently extracted Web data to observe the career progression of women who had participated in the CRA-W’s 2008 or 2009 Career Mentoring Workshops (CMWs) compared to a sample of women who had never participated in CMWs. We obtained the comparison sample from a population of women who earned their Ph.D.s in computer science during the same time period as the participants. We collected current career information including job titles (e.g., associate professor) and job setting (e.g., academia vs. industry/labs) for both groups. We then categorized job titles as entry level (e.g., assistant professor, software engineer), mid level (e.g., associate professor, senior engineer), and senior level (e.g., professor, principal program manager), collapsed across job setting. To test for a systematic difference in job rankings between workshop participants and the comparison group, we ran a 2 (Group) x 3 (Job Title Rank) Chi-squared test and found a statistically significant difference in rankings across the two groups, χ2 (2, N = 181) = 8.46, p < 0.05. Specifically, CMW participants were less likely than non-participants to be in an entry level position, p < .05, and more likely to be in a senior level position than non-participants, p < .05.
CRA-W’s mission is to increase the success and participation of women in computing research and education at all levels. There are several ways you can get involved such as mentoring students, submitting proposals, and sharing these opportunities with your colleagues and students.
The 2016 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) was held October 19-21, 2016, at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas and broke last year’s attendance record with over 15,000 participants this year. For the 8th year in a row, CRA-W presented career mentoring content for GHC attendees interested in research. CRA-W Board Member Tracy Camp (Colorado School of Mines) designed this year’s program, organizing the mentoring program into three tracks for early-career academic researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates. Brand new for 2016 was the CRA-W GHC Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, spearheaded by CRA-W Co-Chair Nancy Amato (Texas A&M University) and CRA-W Board Member Andrea Danyluk (Williams College), which provided funding for undergraduates to attend the conference, and guidance for finding and navigating the research content at GHC.
The 10th annual ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing (hashtag #Tapia2016) was held in Austin, Texas, on September 14-17. This year’s conference had a record-breaking 965 attendees, achieving 20 percent growth over 2015. Eighty sponsors and 150 colleges and universities were represented. With the theme “Diversity Matters,” the Tapia conference brought together students, faculty, researchers, and professionals from all backgrounds and ethnicities in computing, and is the premier venue to promote and celebrate diversity in the field. The Tapia conference was sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT).
Graduate students in STEM fields can find their M.S. and doctoral experiences to be both isolating and academically challenging. Loneliness can be particularly poignant when the graduate student is a member of an underrepresented group; has had an undergraduate experience that was connected by school spirit, such as collectively rooting for the college’s sports teams; or has participated in group-based academic student success initiatives, such as the Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers, which primarily connect to undergraduate students.
To combat isolation, PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, hosts the annual Summer Success Institute (SSI), a pre-semester weekend conference in August for graduate students. The SSI features professional development activities that directly cater to the needs of graduate students in STEM, and peripherally to “postdoctoral fellows, professors, and career professionals (PP&P).”
Please share these opportunities with your students.
Applications Open for Grad Cohort 2017
The upcoming CRA-Women Graduate Student Cohort (Grad Cohort) will be held April 7-8, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Grad Cohort is a two-day workshop for female students in their first, second, or third year of graduate school in computing fields. The application is available here and closes November 30. The workshop aims to increase the ranks of senior women in computing-related studies and research by building and mentoring nationwide communities of women through their graduate studies.
CRA-Women Virtual Undergrad Town Hall: Enabling Science Breakthroughs Using Computer Science
During CRA-W’s Virtual Undergraduate Town Hall webinar, students from around the world will learn about cutting edge research in the field of computing, and ask questions to distinguished computer scientists. The next event will be held October 13 at 7PM EST. Click here to register.
CRA’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) will host early and mid career mentoring workshops on November 19-20 in Washington, D.C. The goal of these workshops is to provide an environment for mentoring, practical information, advice, and support among researchers and educators in computing. The application is free, there is a $250 registration fee for the workshop (for those accepted), and CRA-W will reimburse participants for expenses (hotel and airfare) after the workshop. In order to receive reimbursement applicants must be affiliated with a U.S. institution or be employed in the U.S. These workshops are open to individuals in their early career in education, research and labs, and mid career in education, research, and labs. Learn more about the CRA-W Career Mentoring Workshops here.
GEM is a network of leading corporations, government laboratories, universities, and research institutions that enables qualified students from underrepresented communities to pursue graduate education in applied science and engineering. Its mission is to enhance the value of the nation’s human capital by increasing the participation of underrepresented groups—namely, African Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans—at the master’s and doctoral levels in engineering and science. GEM recruits high-quality underrepresented students seeking to pursue advanced degrees in applied science and engineering, and matches their specific skills to the specific technical needs of GEM employer members.
The Latinas in Computing (LiC) community was established with the help of The Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology (ABI) at the 2006 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC). Recognizing the status of Latinas as a double minority in North America, this community defines and implements strategies to improve the participation of the current and next generations of Latinas in technology. These dual strategies complement the work done by the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC) that focused on the recruitment and retention of minority students in computing-based fields in North America, and the work done by the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) to grow the research pipeline of women in computing. National Science Foundation (NSF) data shows Hispanic or Latino enrollment increased from 7.2% in 2002 to 9.9% in 2012, but the hiring of underrepresented minorities seems to be “stuck in neutral.”