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Women in Computing Group Helping to Close Gender Gap

Women in Computing Group Helping to Close Gender Gap

Growing up, Sarah Fomchenko had no clue what she wanted to do. She just knew that she liked playing with computers.

“My parents would joke that if I wasn’t on the computer all the time, I could be a straight-A student,” said Fomchenko, a second-year computer science major from Franklin Lakes, N.J. “I love the feeling of being able to create something, without needing to be artistic.”

It wasn’t until high school that Fomchenko realized a career in computer science was a possibility for her. After participating in a two-week learn-to-code program in Boston, she enrolled in her school’s first AP Computer Science course and eventually made her way to a program for women accepted into RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. There, she got to meet other women who were interested in coding and see what RIT is all about.

“I would have never considered computer science as a major unless I had been a part of those special programs,” said Fomchenko. “We need to create more opportunities for young women to learn about computing way before high school—it’s wasted potential if they have already committed to another major.”

For all the progress women have made in STEM careers, the gender gap in computing is only growing larger. Since 1990, the percentage of female computing professionals has dropped from 35 percent to about 24 percent today. If that trend continues, the share of women in the nation’s computing workforce will decline to 22 percent by 2025, according to Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.

Please visit University News to read more about what WIC @ RIT is doing to help close the gender gap for women in computing.