This week we are highlighting the personal side of Computer Science and STEM/STEAM. Our next blog, from Assistant Principal Angela Newton, provides a very personalized perspective on her journey, starting in the second grade to her current role at Lake View High School. Angela’s story is especially important as shown by the statistics for young women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and Computer Science. A 2011 study by the US Department of Commerce indicates the huge gender gap in STEM and Innovation:
Our STEM workforce is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Yet women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce.
- Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs.
- Women with STEM jobs earned 33 percent more than comparable women in non-STEM jobs – considerably higher than the STEM premium for men. As a result, the gender wage gap is smaller in STEM jobs than in non-STEM jobs.
- Women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering.
There are many possible factors contributing to the discrepancy of women and men in STEM jobs, including: a lack of female role models, gender stereotyping, and less family-friendly flexibility in the STEM fields. Regardless of the causes, the findings of this report provide evidence of a need to encourage and support women in STEM. Let’s help more young ladies discover the fun of Computer Science like Angela did, and let’s all participate in encouraging the fun of exploring careers in STEM/STEAM.
—Shelley Stern Grach
I was introduced to my first computer in second grade; it was a Mac. My teacher let us play cool math and spelling games during down time, and it was so much fun. It was like playing a Nintendo game in class. Who knew that school could be so much fun? My excitement about computers continued when my brother, an Engineering major, purchased a Gateway computer and taught me all about DOS. This was all before high school. While in High School, I took Basic, which is a programming language and I was hooked. I wanted to learn any and everything about computers. As you can see, my experience with computers was positive because they were introduced as something fun and useful. That’s why computer science week is so important. It gives the computer science community the ability to introduce computational thinking in a non-threatening, interesting way.
Computer Science does not mean you are going to sit in front of a computer taking chips apart all day. It does mean that you will have an amazing awareness of how computers can help you accomplish your dreams! At Lake View High School, we are planning our Hour of Code for December 12, 2014. Our goal is to help you develop higher order thinking skills, by exploring the field of computers, from a scientific, creative, expressive and real world approach. Lake View is an Early College Science, Technology, Engineering and Math School (ECSS), which enables students to earn both a high school diploma and college credits. Microsoft is Lake View’s ECSS partner. Lake View High School is looking forward to Computer Science week and its participation in the Hour of Code!
Angela Newton is the Assistant Principal at Lake View High School in Chicago, IL.