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NCWIT Pacesetters University of Texas at Austin - Tiffany Grady
Tiffany Grady: My name is Tiffany Grady and I'm with the Department of Computer
Science at the University of Texas at Austin. The Department of
Computer Science at the University of Texas at Austin has worked
diligently to increase the number of women entering the Computer
A few years ago we started meeting with the admissions department
and told them how serious we were about meeting this goal. This
past year there were some admissions policies that changed, and
they were able to admit more women into our program.
Each summer, we host a camp for high school women called "First
Bytes." That's B-Y-T-E-S. This is a free camp for 60 girls, and
this year, in the 2011 entering class, 12 graduates of our First
Bytes camp started our program. Through some generous funding
through the National Science Foundation, each girl received a
The department also has an elements program, this is a set of
classes geared towards non-CS majors. Throughout the course of the
classes many of these students really fall in love with the
computer science major and our faculty encourage them to switch
their major to computer science.
For entering freshman women we also have faculty mentoring and
student mentoring. We realize that this helps with retention,
because it gives them a personal connection to the department.
Through all these steps we’ve actually been able to double the
number of entering women in the program. In 2010, we had 23 women
enter the computer science major. In 2011, we had 47 women. We know
that part of this is retaining these women, so our goal is to put
some new programs into place to really focus on retention.
Transcription by CastingWords
In October 2011, I sat in the red chair to share that through carefully targeted steps, we were able to double the number of new female students in one year!
We've been meeting with admissions over the past few years to let them know our goals for increasing our numbers. Last year, we requested 40 slots for focused recruiting and this year, we doubled the number of female admits. We focused our efforts on recruiting students from our First Bytes camp and those undecided students already in the College. Many faculty pitched in to help encourage students taking our Elements program, which is a set of CS classes targeted toward non-majors, to consider a computer science major. We provided faculty and student mentoring for new freshmen women, which has helped tremendously with retention. We also are offering scholarships from the National Science Foundation to many of our incoming freshmen women. Each of these efforts has impacted our success.