More Girls in STEM Needs Community Involvement

Creating Computer Games with Terrance Jackson

Wednesday, October 15

6:00 pm – 7:15 pm

Grades 5 to 8.  Wednesday’s October 15, 22, 29 and November 5 at 6:00pm. Registration required and must commit to ALL FOUR SESSIONS.


Girls Heart STEM

This class was originally designed as The RoC HoPLo Lab (see below) to address implicit bias. In a Scientific American article “Time to Raise the Profile of Women and Minorities in Science” written by Brian Welle and Megan Smith of Google, we learn:

Google recently commissioned a project to identify what makes girls pursue education in computer science. The findings reinforced what we already knew. Encouragement from a parent or teacher is essential for them to appreciate their own abilities. They need to understand the work itself and see its impact and importance. They need exposure to the field by having a chance to give it a shot. And, most important, they need to understand that opportunities await them in the technical industry.

It took some time, but Google realized that it recognized zero women with their Google Doodles, the embellishments of their corporate logo on their home page. Little things like this can have big impacts and to change the situation we need to look beyond the individual. As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in Outliers which The New York Times printed the first chapter:

[Y]ou couldn’t understand why someone was healthy if all you did was think about their individual choices or actions in isolation. You had to look beyond the individual. You had to understand what culture they were a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town in Italy their family came from. You had to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are. The value of an outlier was that it forced you to look a little harder and dig little deeper than you normally would to make sense of the world. And if you did, you could learn something from the outlier than could use to help everyone else.

In Outliers, I want to do for our understanding of success what Stewart Wolf did for our understanding of health.


We also have the example of the Polgar sisters. László Polgar believes that geniuses are made not born. Before he had children, he wrote a book called Bring Up Genius! He and his wife Klara raised their three daughters, Susan, Sofia, and Judit, according to the precepts outlined in the book.
The oldest sister, Susan, at the age of 15, became the top-ranked woman chess player in the world, and remained ranked in the top three for the next 23 years. She was the first female to earn the Grandmaster title through the conventional way of tournament play.
The middle sister, Sofia, earned the chess titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster. For a time, she ranked as the sixth-strongest female player in the world.
The youngest sister, Judit, is the strongest female chess player in history. achieved the title of Grandmaster at the age of 15 years and 4 months, at the time the youngest to have done so, breaking the record previously held by former World Champion Bobby Fischer. She is the only woman to qualify for a World Championship tournament, having done so in 2005. She is the first, and to date, only woman to have surpassed the 2700 Elo rating barrier, reaching a career peak rating of 2735 and peak world ranking of #8, both achieved in 2005. She has been the #1 rated woman in the world since 1989 (when she was 12 years old).
Sofia, Judit, Klara, and Susan Polgar

Sofia, Judit, Klara, and Susan Polgar

Geniuses are made, not born! What was true with the Polgar sisters and chess is undoubtingly true for STEM and girls in general.
Our First Homework Assignment

Complete the Gender-Science Study at (takes about 5 minutes)

My (Terrance Jackson’s) results

You have completed the Gender-Science Study

Thank you for participating.

Your result on the Implicit Association Test (IAT) is reported below

Your data suggest a strong association of Male with Science and Female with Liberal Arts compared to Female with Science and Male with Liberal Arts.

If your performance is described as ‘(slight, moderate, or strong) association of Science with Male and Liberal Arts with Female’ compared to the alternative pairings, it means you responded faster when Science and Male words were classified with the same key than when Liberal Arts and Male items shared a key. If your association was stronger for ‘Liberal Arts with Male/Science with Female’ you were faster when using the same key for Liberal Arts and Male items.

Just below is a breakdown of the scores generated by others. Most respondents find it easier to associate Male with Science and Female with Liberal Arts compared to the reverse.

Researchers are just beginning to learn how implicit gender-science and gender-math associations develop and relate to behavior. We have found that women who identify themselves with math-science domains tend to have weaker stereotypical associations than women who are not math-science-identified, while men show the opposite pattern. A recent study of college women enrolled in calculus found that those with stronger implicit associations of math-as-male at the beginning of the semester, coupled with a relatively strong female gender identification, achieved lower final grades, even after taking into account their previous achievement.

  • There are currently only 15 women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies this is less than 4%.
  • Women make up only 3% of clout executives of media, telecom and e-companies.
  • Women hold 17% of the seats in the House of Representatives.
  • Only 34 women have ever served as governors compared to 2319 men.
  • In 2011, women comprised 18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.
  • Source:

The Roizen Cleopatra Hopper Parks Lovelace (RoC HoPLo) Lab looks to address gender inequity by teaching skills such as computer programming. In these four sessions, we will be building a game called Roll-a- Ball using gaming platform called Unity3D.

The Forgotten Female Programmers Who Created Modern Tech


Jean Jennings (left) and Frances Bilas set up the ENIAC in 1946. Bilas is arranging the program settings on the Master Programmer. (Courtesy of University of Pennsylvania)

If your image of a computer programmer is a young man, there’s a good reason: It’s true. Recently, many big tech companies revealed how few of their female employees worked in programming and technical jobs. Google had some of the highest rates: 17 percent of its technical staff is female.

It wasn’t always this way. Decades ago, it was women who pioneered computer programming — but too often, that’s a part of history that even the smartest people don’t know.

Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper

Grace Murray Hopper was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. A pioneer in the field, she invented the first compiler for a computer programming language. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages.

We have to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are.


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