3 years ago



CCSC: Rocky Mountain

CCSC: Rocky Mountain ConferenceBernadene:Experience:I found it very difficult to try and start conversations. I would sit up at the front andtry to be unobtrusive. I didn’t have the knowledge the guys already did and I was afraidto ask questions or look stupid. So, I kept to myself. I also have kids which meant Icouldn’t participate in some of the study groups or stay at school or try to socialize withother school mates. I was also older than a number of the students and felt I had nothingmuch in common with them to really talk about.Coping Strategy:I have always been a bit shy around people. I tend to sit and listen to otherconversation going on around me. Jacque is friendly and talks easily with others so shehas helped me meet more people in class and in our field. It has helped me open up andspeak more in class.Jacque:Experience:I never really had the chance to feel isolated in my computer science classes becausethroughout the first year, there were other female students in my classes that I befriended.These other women were not computer science majors though, and would not be takinganymore classes with me.Coping Strategy:At the end of my first year, I met a female student who was also pursuinga computer science degree. At the beginning of my second year, she and I ended uphaving signed up for all the same sections of all the same courses. We began talking andfound that we shared similar interests particularly where computer science is concerned.Neither she nor I had any other female friends with which we could talk about computers.WOMEN HAVE FEW IF ANY FEMALE MENTORS IN COMPUTER SCIENCE.Literature Review:Female students often find themselves in classes that are predominantly male withfew, if any, female professors. [6] In the computer science field, fewer than 10% of thefull professors are female. [5] MentorNet, based at San Jose State University inCalifornia, is a nonprofit network that links female students to online mentors in theindustry. It seeks to counter the alienation and escalating dropout rates that women facein pursuing a degree in computer science [5].Rhonda:Experience:In my experience, I find this fact to be very true. I have never had a femalecomputer science professor, nor is there any female computer science faculty at our83

JCSC 21, 3 (February 2006)university. I don’t think I’ve suffered, however, by the lack of female mentors. It’s beenmy experience that my male professors at our university are well aware of the challengesthat women in the field face, and that they are very understanding.Coping Strategy:I think one reason I have not suffered from the lack of a female mentor is that I havealways worked hard in all of my classes, and to my professors, it showed. I wasencouraged by one of my professors to switch my major from Information Systems toComputer Science a few terms into school; because he felt I was doing so well. Hisencouragement really helped lift my self-esteem and give me confidence that I was indeedin the right place.Bernadene:Experience:The second computer class I took was C++. It was taught by a woman. She was notan easy woman to talk to but she kept saying that women were made to program and thereshould be more of them. I enjoyed the way she taught the class. I also knew Olga whowas a senior when I was a junior and went to her for help with my programs. I found Itended to migrate towards the few women there were in class or those who could offerhelp.Coping Strategy:I would say that the WOU computer science department is very understandingtowards woman and gives them an opportunity to succeed and feel more comfortable.The male teachers are very understanding about kids being in class or in the hall way.Jacque:Experience:I have never had a female mentor in any of my computer science classes nor haveI ever taken a computer-related course from a woman. I don’t think this has had aparticularly negative effect on me, though, as I spent several years pursuing a career ina predominantly male field.Coping Strategy:I dealt with the lack of female role models by looking to the male professors tofulfill this role. One of the professors offered to be my advisor in my first year in theprogram. He listened to me talk about my areas of interest within the field and hasprovided much guidance throughout my college career.TEACHING METHODS ARE GEARED TOWARD A MALE LEARNING STYLE.Literature Review:High-Tech companies are providing funds to revolutionize the way college-levelengineering and computer science courses are being taught. Rather than plunging students84

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