Dr. Plane Works to Achieve Gender Diversity in STEM

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Dr. Jandelyn Plane, Director of the Maryland Center for Women in Computing and Associate Director of ACES at the University of Maryland, recently spoke with The Sentinel about the push to increase female computer science majors at the University of Maryland. 

This year, a mere 16 percent of undergraduate computer science majors at the University of Maryland are female. Over the course of the next three years, the computer science department hopes to change that.

The rationale behind the movement is that including underrepresented populations in computer science creates a more diverse, complete workforce, said Dr. Jandelyn Plane, the director of the Maryland Center for Women in Computing at the University of Maryland.

"For the individual, the highest paying jobs…are mostly in the tech industry. For corporate benefit, diversity produces a better product. For the country, with the number of people…getting bachelors' degrees [in computer science], we can't produce enough people to fill the jobs that are going to be open," Plane said.

The University of Maryland will receive $30,000 per year for the next three years to fund efforts to diversify the computer science department by recruiting women and students of color.

Historically, women have been underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields (STEM). A 2008 study by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology found that men in technology are 2.7 times more likely to hold high-level positions than women. In 2009, 24 percent of scientists and engineers were women, according to a White House press release. In 2010, women earned a mere 18.2 percent of all computer science degrees, according to the National Girls Collaborative Project.

You can read the rest of the article by Jessica Stein here(link is external)

Published November 21, 2014