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Women In Computer Science

(credit:  Elaine Thompson/AP)

(credit: Elaine Thompson/AP)

mattleman_125 Education Reports
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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Maria Klawe is president of Harvey Mudd College, the smallest of the five so-called Claremont Colleges in California. She’s a mathematician and computer scientist – and unconventional in many ways; she wears jeans on campus frequently and taught herself to skateboard.

Dr. Klawe is concerned that in 1985, 37% of graduates in her field were women; by 2005, the number was down to 22% and falling. Now a turnaround is attributed somewhat to companies such as Facebook, Yelp and Zynga and the movie, “The Social Network” portraying computer science as hot and coders hip!

With staff, she developed a course to reduce the Intimidation factor, making the computer science language more accessible and appealing to females. Now more high school students who might have chosen MIT or Carnegie Mellon are applying and this year nearly 40% of Harvey Mudd’s computer science degrees will be earned by females.

Read” Giving Women the Access Code” by Katie Hafner in The New York Times.

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