January is National Mentoring Month, a great time to learn how mentoring can help support students and professionals in computing research, and in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) more generally. Mentoring is especially important for individuals in STEM from underrepresented groups in promoting persistence and success in education and professional settings. Effective mentoring programs help mentors and mentees consider various attributes of their identities and experience, like race, ethnicity, socio-economic status, and educational background, which may influence their persistence and success. Although effective programs aim to support the whole person, gender identity and expression and sexuality orientation are often overlooked.
Computing Research News
LGBTQ = Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, or Queer.
CERP surveyed 101 undergraduate students majoring in a computing field who indicated that they had seriously considered changing to a non-computing major. Of those students, 7% identified as LGBTQ women, 7% identified as LGBTQ men, 27% identified as heterosexual women, and 59% identified as heterosexual men. When asked to indicate the reason they thought about changing their major. LGBTQ women were significantly more likely than their male LGBTQ and heterosexual peers to have considered leaving their major due to a low sense of belonging in computing, p < .05. These findings suggest the field of computing should take significant efforts to enhance LGBTQ women’s sense of belonging in computing.