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#GHC13. Getting Out of the Shallow End: Techniques for empowering and encouraging underrepresented women in computing October 4, 2013. 2013. Abstract.

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Getting Out of theShallow End:Techniques for empowering and encouraging underrepresented women in computingOctober 4, 2013



As the prominence of Computer and Information Science (CIS) education continues to grow, African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and People with Disabilities are significantly underrepresented in academic studies and careers in CIS. This panel analyzes the existing challenges and common issues faced by women from these traditionally underrepresented groups by sharing useful strategies for people from these groups to succeed in Academia and for those in Academia to retain them.

  • Panelists
    • Joanna Goode ( for Jane Margolis) University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
    • Patti Ordóñez

University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras, San Juan, PR

    • KavitaKrishnaswamyUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County, Balt., MD
    • Karen Alkoby

Gallaudet University, Washington, DC

tom armstrong ph d


Tom Armstrong, Ph.D.

Wheaton College

October 4, 2013


preparatory privilege in cs


Preparatory Privilege in CS

Joanna Goode, Ph.D.

October 4, 2013



Research Findings

• Disparities inopportunities that fall along race and socioeconomic lines

• Belief Systems and Preparatory Privilege

• Policy

cs super smart boy wonders
CS Super Smart Boy Wonders
  • False Attribution: women are lesser than….
preparatory privilege in cs1
Preparatory Privilege in CS
  • Structural Inequalities: Home Resources
  • False Attributions: “Natural” talent
  • Psychological Undertow:
  • “I don’t dream in code”
f or the mentors
For the Mentors
  • Don't define or label us
  • Don't underestimate us
  • Don't compare us to others
  • Don’t discourage us from participating in support networks
  • Don't emphasize our own challenges to us
do s for the mentors
Do’s for the Mentors
  • Encourage us
  • Give us flexibility
  • Understand that we are not on the same playing field
  • Remind us of assets we possess that help us to succeed
  • Remind us we can develop the remaining skills in time
  • Help us to identify and fill in the gaps in our learning
  • Help us find mentors who believe in us
  • Believe in us
  • Remind us that we can achieve anything

that we put our mind to

f or the students
For the students
  • Don’t feel sorry for yourself
  • Don’t compare yourself to others
  • Don’t take things personally
  • Don’t study every minute of every day
do s for the students
Do’s for the Students
  • Do some activity that you enjoy and relaxes you and that has nothing to do with your research every week
  • Exploit your resources (Take a Research Methods course if it exists. Present your work as often as possible)
  • Build a network of mentors
  • Be a mentor and leader
  • Strive for excellence
  • Read “Stuck in the Shallow End”
  • Write as often as you can
  • Surround yourself with those who encourage you and believe in you
kavita krishnaswamy ph d student


KavitaKrishnaswamy, Ph.D. student

University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)

October 4, 2013


kavita s academic work
Kavita’s Academic/Work

Ph.D. in Computer Science, UMBC

Assistive Robotics

B.S. in Computer Science and Math, UMBC


Ford Foundation Predoctoral

National Science Foundation Graduate Research


Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL)

Alliance for Access to Computing Careers

IBM Business Consulting Services

challenges of physical disability
Challenges of Physical Disability

Mobility Limitation

Respiratory difficulty

Limited range of movement

Depending on Mom and caregivers for help

Progressive condition

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Pain and Fatigue

Accommodations and Accessibility

Generalized recommendations

disability facts
Disability Facts

Among the science and engineering graduate students, only 7% have a disability and within that population only 37% were female science and engineering graduate students with disabilities

Data retrieved from

insight for faculty
Insight for Faculty

Foster acceptance of people with disabilities

Have high expectations about their abilities

Motivate and encourage positive outcome

Create strategies for increasing participation and involvement with their peers

Understand their challenges

Ask them for ideas and cooperate with them

Think of assistive technologies and other supports for effective accommodations

pearls of wisdom for students
Pearls of Wisdom for Students




Enjoy challenges

Ambition to succeed

Create backup plans

Perseverance and Focus

Overcome fears of criticism

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why am i getting an education
Why am I Getting an Education?
  • Outlet to escape from reality
  • Increase social interaction
  • Overcome physical limitations
  • Freedom and empowerment
  • Magnify small movement into an effective action

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assistive robotics
Assistive Robotics
  • Personal care
  • Repositioning limbs
  • Transferring from bed to chair independently
  • Accessible human-robot interaction

Images retrieved from,

future goals
Future Goals
  • Get Ph.D. degree
  • Be in a full-time job
  • Buy a home
  • Get married and start a family
  • Be Physically and Financially Independent
  • Develop breakthrough technology to increase independence for people with disabilities
  • Help individuals make their dreams come true

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favorite quote
Favorite Quote

What the mind canCONCEIVEandBELIEVE, it canACHIEVE

- Napoleon Hill

karen alkoby ph d


Karen Alkoby, Ph.D.

Gallaudet University

October 4, 2013


alkoby s academic work
Alkoby’s Academic/Work
  • B.A. in Psychology, Gallaudet Univ.
  • M.S. in Information System, DePaul Univ.
  • Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from DePaul University in 2008
  • 20+ year of Application Developer (all range of SDLC)
  • A Co-founder of DePaul’s Paula Project
  • Currently an IT Associate Professor at Gallaudet University
how did i get to the panel today
How did I get to the panel today?
  • I never had met other panelists until now.
  • We shared and laughed at some success and horrible experience with a mentor.

Result: We identified what we have in common.

Mentors that are well-matched and truly care about the progress of their mentees.

a sl facts
ASL Facts
  • A Visual Language
  • U.S. and a part of Canada
  • Approximately 1 million ASL users
  • 2 groups: Native and fluent
  • Not a Visual Code
ear th vs eye th
Earth vs. Eyeth

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one of my f avorite q uotes
One of My Favorite Quotes

“No Guts...No Glory”

Image retrieved from

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