Can a 2-hour Visit to a Hi-Tech Company Increase Interest in and Change Perceptions about Computer Science?

Larisa Eidelman
Orit Hazzan
Tami Lapidot
Daniela Raijman
ACM Inroads, 2, Issue 3(2011)
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This paper presents the "Mind the Gap" initiative that aims to encourage female high school pupils to study computer science (CS) in high school. This is achieved by increasing their awareness to what CS is, and exposing them to the essence of a hi-tech environment and to same gender role models. The initiative was undertaken by female software engineers at Google's Israel R&D Center in collaboration with the Israeli National Center for Computer Science Teachers. We describe the initiative and its impact on the female pupils' interest in CS. One of our conclusions is that even a short visit to a hi-tech company, in this case – Google, has the potential to change pupils' perception of what CS is and to increase their interest in CS and their desire to study it. Our initiative can be easily adapted by other companies and can be scaled to impact a rather large population.

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