The Power of Female Athletes to Level the Computer Science Playing Field

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Between 2007 and 2017 the graph of percents of USA female bachelor's degrees in computer and information sciences plateaued below 20%. The seeming inability to crack the 20% ceiling, given the expenditure of billions of USA dollars for projects and research aimed at recruitment and retention of women, calls for new research that is uniquely different from that explored in the literature. The authors investigate the role of female athletes within the computer science environment. The literature currently contains no such exploration. Along with female athletes (FA), the study involves additional groups: female non-athletes (FNA), male athletes (MA), and male non-athletes (MNA). This paper addresses the research questions: Do cumulative GPAs for FA, FNA, MA, and MNA in the current study follow the literature's GPA ordering for the four groups? How do CS1 course grades and cumulative GPAs for the groups relate to each other? Do female and male athletes and non-athletes have different experiences in CS1? If FA thrive in computer science, can future researchers recast some of the elements from the sporting domain for use with FNA in the computing domain, so that many more females will persist in computing?