Women of Color Initiative

Women of Color in Computing (Contact: jamika.burge@gmail.com)

The objective of this project is to develop a comprehensive compilation of Women of Color who have earned their PhDs in the computing sciences.  This compilation, we hope, will serve multiple purposes. Not only will it recognize the contributions of Women of Color in the field, but it serves as an opportunity to connect a community of technical women for networking, professional collaborations, and mentorship. The collection will be a useful resource for all  individuals, at various stages in their careers.  The first edition, below, celebrates Black Women in Computing.  In our next edition, we will celebrate Latinas in Computing.  For more information, or to contribute to the compilation, please contact Dr. Jamika Burge at jamika.burge@gmail.com.

A Celebration of Women in Computing
Special thanks to Ms. Dwanna Robertson, who was instrumental in developing our initial draft.

Upcoming Event: October 13-16 – Women from Underrepresented Groups Track at Grace Hopper Conference

Please join fellow women in computing at the Grace Hopper Conference, and attend the Underrepresented Women in Computing (UWIC) Track.  There will be two panels with prominent speakers, such as Ms. Deborah Plunkett, Director of the Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) at the National Security Agency, and Dr. Sandra Begay Campbell, Principal Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories and is a former Regent (Trustee) for the University of New Mexico.  CDC will also have a Women of Color Luncheon that we invite you attend, on Thursday.  Please join us!

Team:
Jamika D. Burge, PhD, Information Systems Worldwide (i_SW)
Enobong Hannah (Anna) Branch, PhD, Sociology University of Massachusetts

This project’s objective is to address the main issues of attraction and retention of African American women in the computing sciences. Specifically, they will (1) interview current African American women in the pipeline and (2) produce a resource for African American women who are completing degrees in the computing sciences. This handbook will include success stories and experiences from the interviewees for the benefit of other African American women in graduate school, college professors and industry professionals.

Historically, relatively small numbers of women have pursued degrees in computing science and engineering disciplines. Lack of role models (Clayton and Lynch, 2002; Cohoon, 2002), male domination (Cuny and Aspray, 2002; Malcom, et al., 1976), and the general perception that technologists and engineers are “nerdy” or boring (Malcom, et. al., 1976; Taylor, 2002) are but a few reasons that many women do not pursue studies in the field (Burge and Suarez, 2005). The number of African American women pursuing degrees in these disciplines is even smaller (NSF). Traditionally, STEM disciplines have the stereotype of only benefiting other scientists. As technology becomes increasingly pervasive, the opportunity to diversify the demography of computer scientists also becomes more critical. To address this, we seek to understand, in an empirical way, the factors that help African American women survive (and succeed in) the pipeline.

Our objective is to address the main issues of attraction and retention of African American women in the computing sciences. Specifically, we intend to (1) interview current African American women in the pipeline and (2) produce a resource for African American women who are completing degrees in the computing sciences. This handbook will include success stories and experiences from the interviewees for the benefit of other African American women in graduate school, college professors and industry professionals. Thus, our research question is, What do African American women in the computing sciences cite as patterns of success for persisting in the field? To answer this question, we will be investing factors that affect the attraction and retention of African American women in the field. Another important feature of this work involves actively constructing a history of African American women computer scientists. By chronicling the experiences and research contributions of African American women can be an asset to the discipline as well as an influence to future generations of computer scientists.

Team:
Enobong Hannah Branch, PhD, Sociology University of Massachusetts
Tiki L. Suarez-Brown, PhD, Information Systems Florida A&M University
Jamika D. Burge, PhD, Information Systems Worldwide (i_SW)
Brandeis Marshall, PhD, Computer & Information Technology Purdue University
Dale-Marie Wilson, PhD, Computing & Informatics University of North Carolina-Charlotte

References

  1. Burge, J. D., and Suarez, T. L. (2005) Preliminary Analysis of Factors Affecting Women and African Americans in the Computing Sciences. In Proceedings of Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, TAPIA ’05, Albuquerque, NM.
  2. Malcom, S. M., Hall, P. Q., and Brown, J. W. The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Computer Science. AAAS Report No. 76-R-3, April 1976,
  3. Clayton, D., and Lynch, T. Ten Years of Strategies to Increase Participation of Women in Computing Programs. The Central Queensland University Experience. Inroads SIGCCE Bulletin 34, 2 (2002), 168-174.
  4. Cohoon, J. M. Recruiting and Retaining Women in Undergraduate Computing Majors. Inroads SIGCCE Bulletin 34, 2 (2002), 168-174.
  5. Cuny, J. and Aspray, W. Recruitment and Retention of Women Graduate Students in Computer Science and Engineering: Results of a Workshop Organized by the Computing Research Association. Inroads SIGCCE Bulletin 34, 2 (2002), 168-174.
  6. National Science Foundation. Women, Minorities, and Persons With Disabilities in Science and Engineering. Internet. Available WWW: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/.
  7. Taylor, V. E. Women of Color in Computing. Inroads SIGCCE Bulletin 34, 2 (2002), 22-23.