When Isabelle Schmit walked into the Department of Computer Science five years ago for freshman orientation, she looked around the room and counted only five women among 60 students.
The number of female students who enroll in the department and graduate with degrees has increased dramatically in the last five years.
“The increased visibility of students in the department has made a huge difference,” says Schmit ’16, who is pursuing a master’s degree at the University’s Goergen Institute for Data Science.
In 2010 the department’s graduating class of 20 students included only one woman. This year, the expected graduating class of 119 students will be 34 percent female—double the national average.
This, despite a recent University of Washington study showing that computer science nationwide continues to be a male-dominated culture where many women feel they do not belong.
Two factors have helped change that at Rochester.