Tiffany Grady

Tiffany Grady

Tiffany Grady
Austin, Texas


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NCWIT Pacesetters University of Texas at Austin - Tiffany Grady [background music] 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 Science program. 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 $1,000 scholarship. 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

My Story...

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.