Bringing More Women Into Computer Science

Nationwide, women are about one of every ten students who graduate with a degree in computer science. But at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, women make up nearly one third of all students who major in computer science.

One reason is that 25 percent of the faculty in the computer science department are women, which is a higher ratio than at most colleges and universities. Sara Sprenkle, an assistant professor of computer science at Washington and Lee, says that another key is introductory courses in the subject. Many women take the course at the university to fulfill general requirements. (All students at Washington and Lee must take either a computer science or mathematics course in order to graduate.) She reports that none of the women currently majoring in the subject, planned to do so when they came to Washington and Lee. “They took an introductory class and realized they were good at it,” Sprenkle said.

Dr. Sprenkle joined the faculty at Washington and Lee in 2007. She is a graduate of Gettysburg College and holds a master’s degree from Duke University and a Ph.D in computer and information science from the University of Delaware.

Filed Under: FacultySTEM Fields


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