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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Female Computer Science and Engineering Undergraduates: Reflections on Participation in the Academic Landscape
by Ruiz, Patricia Adriana, Ed.D., Pepperdine University, 2017, 162; 10681233
Abstract (Summary)

Women continue to be underrepresented in computer science and technology related fields despite their significant contributions. The lack of diversity in technology related fields is problematic as it can result in the perpetuation of negative stereotypes and closed-minded, unchecked biases. As technology tools become integral to our daily lives it is essential that a diverse group of people contribute to the sociocultural environments where we participate and live. This dissertation is a phenomenological, interview-based, study designed to investigate the lived experience of women in undergraduate computer science and engineering programs. The purpose of this study was to better understand the factors that might encourage or discourage the participation women in the major and in the field. In order to grow the number of women in technical fields it is important to first understand what attracts them to the field and what supports they find helpful or not helpful.

This study illuminated some recommendations that might guide the work of practitioners in secondary schools as well as higher education. Among other things, participants appreciated being challenged by the content and assignments, feeling support from faculty and peers, feeling a connection to the culture, effective encouragement to persist, and engaging interactions. All of the participants described having gone into their field to make a positive impact on society and they also all described the importance having at least one supportive female mentor. Participants described the importance of having spaces where they felt included and appreciated their professors and peers who pushed back against the historical CS-world stereotypes. While the experience of each participant was unique, and there were some very negative experiences, all six participants reported having mostly positive experience in their undergraduate programs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Fusco Kledzik, Judith E.
Commitee: Polin, Linda, Schank, Patricia
School: Pepperdine University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Educational technology
Keywords: Computer science, Diversity, Engineering, Inclusion, Technology
Publication Number: 10681233
ISBN: 978-0-355-49653-6
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