Did You Know?

Did you know how the state of the economy is impacting computer science education in Washington state? Two stories about technology education in the state caught our eye recently: one describes how Washington lawmakers in Olympia are debating whether to charge higher tuition for majors such as computer science that are more expensive to teach (and result in more lucrative careers for their students); and another details the struggle to spare the computer science programs at Western Washington University  and Eastern Washington University from being eliminated in budget cuts, despite the surge of tech jobs in the state. Have budget cuts affected your department? 
Did you know that nearly one in every seven people on the earth has a disability? According to a new survey administered by the WHO (World Health Organization),  there are more than one billion people currently living with a disability, or about 15 percent of the world’s population. Making technology accessible to people with disabilities is more important than ever before.  One important way to do this is to make sure that people with disabilities are represented in the design off technology education, products, and services. People with disabilities can bring vital perspectives to solving problems and designing technology that serves a broad range of users, and including these perspectives is one more way in which diversifying can strengthen the field. For more information about integrating the participation of people with disabilities into computing and IT fields, check out AccessComputing. 
Do you know the difference between mentorship and sponsorship?  Recent research has found that men are 46% more likely than women to have a sponsor, and formal programs that match protegees with an influential sponsor are cited as being more effective than mentoring programs at increasing the number of women and minorities on the fast-track to high-level positions. The Wall Street Journal recently looked at sponsorship programs within several Fortune 500 companies and profiled sponsors and protegees at IBM, Price Waterhouse Coopers, American Express, and Bank of America. Do you have a sponsorship program at your company? Have you benefited from a sponsorship relationship in your career?
Did you know that female college students are more interested in work-life balance, finding meaningful work, and job stability, while male students more often seek high pay, management jobs, and technical expertise? (Which group do you think is three times as likely to prefer engineering or information technology careers?) These were among the findings of research firm Universum, which surveyed more than 350,000 undergrads.
The Houston Chronicle obtained data for more than 3,000 Texas-based students and found that, of those, the top five employers male students would want to work for are Google, Apple, NASA, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Shell Oil Co.; and the top five employers cited by female students are Disney, Google, Apple, the FBI, and the United Nations. The survey points out that an employer who wants to attract more women would do well to p osition itself in a way that reflects women’s career interests, such as offering opportunities to “serve a greater good” and communicating that it “cares about its employees.”
Did you know that, in addition to supporting a growing community of tech start-ups, New York City also harbors some pretty impressive women founders? Check out the list published over at Beta Beat, which profiles 25 up-and-coming women whose companies are earning pageviews, customers, media attention, and funding.  As the piece points out, some of these women have succeeded as founders in spite of encountering gender-related obstacles, but many more of them simply chose not to see the obstacles at all. Some bring a perspective or set of experiences that seems uniquely female, while others have always pursued male-dominated fields. But as our research with Vivek Wadwha and the Kauffman Foundation has shown, entrepreneurs of both genders have many more commonalities than they do differences.
Did You Know? is a brief round-up of information and news that crossed NCWIT’s radar this week that we think might be of interest to you. Practices or content of the news presented are not vetted or endorsed by NCWIT.

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