CSE 190a Autumn 2016 - Women in Computing Seminar

Welcome to CSE 190a! Here, you will find resources for weekly topics, assignment information, and upcoming events. You can find the course discussion board here.


This 1-credit seminar offers a variety of opportunities for pre-major women to explore technology-related majors and careers. We'll learn about women leaders in the field, discover 'real world' applications of CSE, and connect with other students interested in computing and currently taking 142.

Every week, we will be exploring a different topic related to women in technology, ranging in discussions exploring how gender currently plays a role in this field, discussions of the different technology-related majors and courses offered at UW, student and alumni panels, research demos, and field trips at both established technology companies (e.g., Microsoft, Google, Facebook) and some of the newer companies here in Seattle's growing start-up community.

Assignments include weekly readings, participation in weekly class discussions, and informal presentations. This class is not designed to be a heavy workload (it's only one credit) but it requires consistent participation. You can find more information about grading and participation in the course syllabus.

Why do we offer a seminar on women in CSE?

You may notice that your Intro Programming courses have more men than women. The same gender gap exists in the computer science industry.

This gender gap has nothing to do with skills. There's no difference in technical abilities between men and women. Women earn the same grades men do, and perform just as well in programming and other technology-related jobs. But fewer women go into the CS and engineering fields because fewer women are exposed them, fewer may find enough interest in them, and those who are interested may anticipate challenges in getting hired in a male-dominated field.

This gender gap limits progress in the industry and it limits progress in equality for women. Companies today have significant need for skilled, hard-working computer scientists to solve big problems, and they need a diverse workforce with individuals offering various perspectives (of course, gender is just one type of diversity - while other types are also important, they aren't the foucs of this seminar). Additionally, all people should have the opportunity to learn about this exciting and lucrative field regardless of gender. When we leave women out of technology, we limit their opportunities.

So, about 15 years ago, a CSE student and some advisers created this seminar to show more women that CS and other areas of technology are not only possible pursuits, but exciting and rewarding ones. If you're interested in these issues, or if you just want to see inside a tech company or talk to some software developers, 190a is a great opportunity!

Resources for exploring computing within and outside of your coursework. Let Maggie or Melissa know if you would like additional resources featured here!

STEM Majors Info Sessions

Undergraduate Research Info Sessions

Designed for undergraduates who have yet to begin research, these sessions provide research resources, information on funding, and suggestions for approaching faculty in departments across campus. Additionally, the sessions are highly student-driven, with an emphasis on student questions and concerns, so come prepared!

View schedule and register here.

Computer Science and Engineering Info Sessions

A general information session (no registration required) that covers topics such as admissions, curriculum, research opportunities, etc. There are currently three scheduled general information sessions during Autumn quarter:

  • Thursday, October 13, 2016 3:30-4:30pm in Sieg 134

  • Thursday, November 11, 2016, 3:30-4:30pm in Sieg 134

  • Thursday, December 8, 2016, 3:30-4:30pm in Sieg 134

Electrical Engineering Info Sesssions

If you would like to learn more about Electrical Engineering, visit one of the monthly information sessions where advisors provide information on electrical engineering as a major, a profession, the admissions process, etc.

You can find the dates for these info sessions on the EE event calendar here.

Human-Centered Design & Engineering Info Sessions

Interested in learning more about the Human Centered Design & Engineering undergraduate program? Led by HCDE advisors, these sessions provide an overview of the HCDE Bachelor of Science degree, including curriculum, admissions requirements, and application deadlines.

You can find the dates for these info sessions on the HCDE event calendar here. Also, feel free to ask Melissa about her experience in the HCDE major if you're interested in HCDE!

Informatics Info Sessions

Is the Informatics program a good fit for you? With a curriculum driven by innovation and the intersection of technology and human values, Informatics offers students opportunities for analyzing and solving problems while developing skills and experience in the design and creation of information systems, user interfaces, mobile technologies and social media.

Find out more about the program and curriculum during one of the info sessions in this schedule.


Facebook Internship for College Underclassmen

Paid, 8 week program designed to provide mobile development experience to students who are historically under-represented in computer science. Find out more here!

Google Internship for College Underclassmen

The Engineering Practicum program is a 12-week developmental opportunity for first and second-year undergraduate students with a passion for technology -- especially students from historically underrepresented groups in the field. Find out more here!

Intel Internship for College Underclassmen

Find out more about Intel's Early Internship for Software Engineering (IRISE) here!

Microsoft Internship for College Underclassmen

Paid, 12 week summer internship program specifically designed for college underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores) and offers a rotational experience that enables you to gain experience in our different software engineering roles. Find out more here!

Upcoming Events

Scholarships 101 (Freshmen and Sophomores)

Introduction to searching and applying for scholarships

When: Wednesday, Oct. 12 @ 4-5PM
Where: MGH Suite 171E

CV Writing Workshop for Scholarships and Applications (workshop)

Develop your undergraduate CV/Resume for use in scholarship, fellowship, and research opportunities. A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a biographical statement emphasizing your professional qualifications and activities. Its similar to a resume, but an advantage to the CV format is the significant freedom to choose the headings and categories for your information and the strength reflected in their arrangement. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to work with Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, & Awards staff to develop and strengthen a draft of your CV for upcoming scholarship applications.

When: Thursday, Oct. 20 @ 12-1PM
Where: MGH Suite 173R

How to Build a Competitive Edge for Scholarships (workshop)

This session will focus on "how to connect to scholarships" among the pool of hundreds of thousands of scholarships and applicants out there, with discussions on how work and engagement at UW can help connect you to scholarships.

When: Monday, Oct. 24 @ 3:30-5PM
Where: MGH Suite 171

Getting Started: Funding your study abroad (workshop)

When: Wednesday, Oct. 26 @ 4-5PM
Where: MGH Suite 171

Approaching the Personal Statement (workshop)

This workshop will offer ideas on how to approach your personal statement writing and practical exercises to get you started.

When: Wednesday, Oct. 26 @ 4:30-6PM
Where: MGH Suite 173R

Why Apply? Scholarship Meetup

This social event gives students the opportunity to talk with other scholarship applicants and recipients, as well as scholarship advisors and representatives.

When: Thursday, Oct. 27 @ 4-6PM
Where: MGH Suite 171

Articles, blogs, and other online resources to explore various topics related to technology and women in computing.


Amazon Pledges $10M for new building that would double enrollment in computer science

Amazon is donating $10 million toward the cost of a new computer science and engineering building on the UW’s Seattle campus. CSE's Ed Lazowska is quoted.

Why Do Some STEM Fields Have Fewer Women Than Others? UW Study May Have the Answer

A new University of Washington study is among the first to address that question by comparing gender disparities across STEM fields.

Women break barriers in engineering and computer science at some top colleges

The University of Washington is featured in this article discussing the recent growth in women enrollment in STEM among other top colleges.

Who's a CEO? Google image results can shift gender biases

UWToday discusses a new University of Washington study assessing how accurate gender representations are in online image search results for 45 different occupations.

Washington Post on Gender Diversity in Computer Science

The University of Washington is featured in the Washington Post for its role in having the largest share of women in computer science among the nation's public universities.

UW work lets implanted medical devices efficiently send data to smartphones

A UW team of electrical engineers and computer scientists has created a way for implanted medical devices to easily send vital health data to a smartphone while using very little power. EE doctoral student Vikram Iyer and CSE/EE associate professor Joshua Smith are quoted in this featured Seattle Times article.

Student projects leapfrog governments and industry in 'Data Science for Social Good' program

Big data is hardly new at this point - nor has it wrought anywhere near its potential effects on many companies and institutions insulated by inertia and red tape. A summer program at the UW called Data Science for Good shows that fresh eyes and good code can make more in 10 weeks than some have done in as many years.

Why are women joining CSE circles?

October 2015: A story of Tessa Hurr faced challenges in the male-dominated CS program and how Lean In organization had helped her to find the support and feel more important in her work.

Inspiring the next generation of female engineers: Debbie Sterling at TEDxPSU

Debbie Sterling is an engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math. Watch her interesting story.

A Seattle startup supports Women studying Computer Science

September 2015: A startup company Tune operates an 8 bedrooms house for 8 UW women studying in Computer Science. Find out what motivates them to start this project.

Profile of CSE Student and Her Role in HIV-Fighting Research

April 2015: How Saloni Parikh took her passion for global health and her knack for computer science halfway across the world, playing a key role in HIV-fighting research.

UW eScience Institute's Sarah Stone and Micaela Parker featured in Oceanography magazine

In the quarterly magazine of the Oceanography Society, Micaela Parker and Sarah Stone of UW's eScience Institute talk about what inspired them to jointly apply to the program manager position, in which they share responsibility for day-to-day operations of the institute and serve as the primary point of contact for campus and external partners and the public.

UW and Microsoft researchers set new record in DNA data storage

Interesting Technology Websites and Blogs

UW CSE's Most Significant Bits (MSB)

Most Significant Bits (MSB) is the newsletter of UW Computer Science and Engineering. Published semiannually, MSB reports news and information about the department, including the undergraduates, graduate students, faculty and the alumni.


A pretty neat blog authored by one of our alumni panelists.

If you have any questions for us, you can reach Maggie at maggiem@cs.washington.edu and Melissa at medskm@cs.washington.edu (unless it's specific to one of us, please cc both of us in the message).