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  • Writer's pictureSilicon Valley Education Foundation

Innovation — Cracking the code: Increasing female participation in CS

According to the U.S. Department of Education, women have made substantial strides in many areas, including medicine, law and business but the number of females receiving CS degrees remains the lowest in all STEM fields.

In response, SVEF’s CSI program is striving to increase the number of female participants in our introductory CS course. In summer 2020, 47% of CSI students identified as female. Each year our team is exploring ways to attract, enroll and support more female students. Our project based curriculum also offers smaller checkpoints to affirm successes and break down assignments into smaller parts to help students, especially girls, build confidence in their ideas, learning and work. We strive to not only instill a sense of confidence in computing skills, but a sense of belonging. Our hope is the launch of our HS program will be pivotal in encouraging and sustaining girls’ pursuit of computer science pathways and careers.

In addition to introductory CS classes. SVEF is working on a pilot to create a Computer Science pathway from middle school to high school and beyond, where participants can earn an industry-recognized certificate and/or college credit through dual enrollment classes. Thus, students could gain access to the labor market upon graduating from high school or continue their educational journey having earned college credits in Computer Science classes. The program will benefit underserved students, especially females.

We are always looking for ways to bolster our students' interest in CS and invite guest speakers to speak to our students about their journey and importance of CS in their work.

If you are interested, please sign up to volunteer here.

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