David Klappholz asked me to post this and let any interested LA-area high school computer science teachers know about it. This looks like a very interesting event and if you are in the LA-area please check out. And if you do go please take notes and if you don’t blog yourself and want to do a guest post on it let me know.

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The Society of Women in Engineering and the University of Southern California Center for Systems and Software Engineering are sponsoring a dinner presentation/discussion on the USC campus, from 6 PM to 9 PM on August 20, 2008.  Members of the LA-area technical community, the academic community, and teachers of high school programming / computer science courses are invited to attend.

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP, no later than August 14, to Julie Sanchez (jasanche@usc.edu). Please include your name, that of your company, university/college, or high school, email address, and special dietary needs (e.g. vegetarian). Please also cc to Prof. David Klappholz (davidk6@gmail.com). Please feel free to contact Prof. Klappholz with any questions, either by email or by phone (cell: 908-447-2346).

Title: Attracting Young Women to Software-Related and Other Engineering Fields: We've Been on The Wrong Track All Along

Abstract: Gender-equity in engineering has long been a national goal, both for fairness-related reasons and because the female point of view is necessary in the design and development of everything from consumer products to defense-related systems. In the field of computer science / software engineering / software development the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a large increase in the need for B.S. and M.S. graduates in the next decade. The largest untapped pool of potential majors, i.e., math- and science-talented students, is female, but only about 10% of entering students in software-related majors are female. The National Science Foundation and large companies like AT&T, Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Intel have spent tens of millions of dollars on initiatives aimed at attracting young women, but the number of female majors keeps dropping. In this talk we will discuss results of extensive psychological research studies that explain why these costly initiatives have failed. We will also discuss a new high school and university level initiative that is supported by these psychological studies and will invite interested attendees to personally participate in, and encourage their organizations to support this initiative. We will also discuss, to the extent of attendees' backgrounds and interests, the potential extension of the initiative to other engineering fields

Short Bio: Dr. David Klappholz is an associate professor of computer science at Stevens Institute of Technology, and a Visiting Associate of Prof. Barry Boehm's USC Center for Systems and Software Engineering. Prof. Boehm, with whom Prof. Klappholz did a sabbatical in 2002, and with whom he has worked every summer since then, is a major partner in the recruitment initiative. In addition to his interest in empirical software engineering research, Prof. Klappholz performs NSF-sponsored research, with an educational psychologist, on issues relating to science and engineering education pedagogy. He is also a member of a Stevens-based, DoD-supported, team that is crafting a reference standard M.S. curriculum in software engineering, a curriculum with a heavy systems engineering slant. In a previous incarnation Prof. Klappholz did research, supported by NSF, IBM Research, DoE, and others, on parallel machine architecture, automatic code parallelization, compiler optimizations, and, in his professional infancy, on natural language understanding and translation.