This spring the University of Nebraska at Lincoln completed its 2nd Annual Girl Empowerment and Mentoring (GEM) contest. Based on our introduction and exit surveys, we observed some interesting and encouraging results. Overall, more than half of students who completed both surveys reported improved views towards computer science. Participants also reported specifically inreased confidence in their CS knowledge and abilities and interests in majoring in CS. They also reported that it does not make sense that there are more men than women in computer science.
We also did a word cloud analysis on the students’ survey response to the question, “What does a Computer Scientist Do?” Some interesting observations include that the word “HELP” was more significant in the introduction survey while the word “MAKE” was more significant in the exit survey. Overall, the terms used in the exit survey were more specific about CS fields, and less abstract or conceptual. This hints that the participants learned more about CS and its applications during the GEM contest.
Leen-Kiat Soh is Principal Investigator of the GEM project and Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering department at UNL.