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Sundials in the Shade: A Study of Women's Persistence in the First Year of a Computer Science Program in a Selective University

Sundials in the Shade: A Study of Women's Persistence in the First Year of a Computer Science Program in a Selective University

This dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania examines fourteen women in their first year of the computer science major. The study looks at the pre-college influences that led these women to the major and the nature of their experiences with faculty, peers, and academic support services. The research method used was a series of personal interviews over the course of one year. The major finding from the study was that the women had a "thorough grounding in mathematics, but many either had an inadequate background in computer science, or at least perceived inadequacies in their background, which prevented them from beginning the major on an equal footing with their mostly male peers and caused some to lose confidence and consequently interest in the major."

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