SCS Undergraduate Thesis Topics

Anthony Velazquez Carol Frieze Local and Global Perspective: An Investigation of How Cultural Factors Contribute to Gender Balanced Participation in Computer Science

This thesis is based on the premise that cultural factors play an important role in the representation of women in computer science. I will argue that gender differences, usually noted as a primary source of women's low representation, do not provide a satisfactory explanation for the low participation of women in computer science (CS) and that we need to look at factors other than gender differences. This thesis will begin by exploring research which shows that the underrepresentation of women in computer science (well documentated in the United States) is not a universal phenomenon. Some countries such as Bulgaria are graduating women in engineering degrees in numbers equal to those of men. I plan to investigate the cultural factors that make this possible. Additionally, I plan to investigate the local culture at Carnegie Mellon where we enroll women in computer science at twice the average to other research 1 universities to investigate the local cultural factors at play. From this I hope to be able to make recommendations to engage a more diversified population in computer science in the United States.

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