Bridge the Gender Gap in Computer Science and Engineering

Computer Science was prominent in a discussion on national news program PBS Newshour last evening (2012-04-26). Judy Woodruff interviewed Dr. Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College.   Dr. Klawe’s initial point is “..we get very few young women going into computer science and physics and areas of engineering. And we even know the reason why it’s the case. It’s because, number one, they think it’s not interesting, and, number two, they think they wouldn’t be good at it. And, number three, they have the image of the people in those fields that they don’t think is attractive.” 

She recommends a college intro computer science course “that is absolutely fascinating and fun and creative. And you have them have so much fun, that they just can’t believe that this is really computer science.” She has just such a course at Harvey Mudd.

A bright economic future for our country is dependent upon getting more students to major not only in computer science, but also in science and engineering and mathematics. Innovation in these fields has, is, and will be very important economically.

Dr. Klawe touts her college CS course and I think it is a very good idea. We also need to educate and inspire more students in CS and related fields before they get to college so there is a larger, more diverse, and talented group of students for these subjects in college. I dream of more computer science content in american high schools and even for younger students. Computer science is so important to our current and future lives that I also dream of a requirement of at least a semester course in high school. Yes, it is that important.

Many good points and ideas are expressed in the interview. See the transcript or listen to the mp3 or experience the video on the Newshour page. (Note: the video requires Flash.) 

Comments are closed.