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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Engaging women in computer science and engineering: Insights from a national study of undergraduate research experiences

  • Author(s): Kim, Karen
  • Fann, Amy
  • Misa-Escalante, Kimberly
  • et al.

At UCLA, the Center for Embedded Network Sensing (CENS) in the School of Engineering received NSF funding for a unique project titled: Women @ CENS, created to explore issues of gender equity in engineering and computer science (ECS) undergraduate research internship programs. The Women @ CENS project includes two studies: 1) an evaluation of our own CENS REU program and 2) a national study of REUs in ECS. The goals of these studies were to learn about promising practices in addressing gender equity in the REU setting from our own summer internship program, and to learn about what other REUs were doing in regards to promoting gender equity such that more women will choose to pursue advanced degrees and faculty careers in ECS. Study One utilizes the evaluation of the CENS REU over four program years to understand what has and has not worked for our female students in particular. For Study Two, we surveyed program directors of NSF funded Computer Science and Engineering REUs nationwide about espoused program goals, practices, participant demographics, and in particular, specific efforts designed to address gender inequity in these fields.

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