Increasing Women in CS

Breakout discussion @ 2020 SCRIPT Symposium hosted by North Texas State University

WHY? WHAT? HOW? – Where do you want to start?
Knowledge is answers to questions – Quintilian


Lessons / Ideas:

More thoughts:

Happy Hour of Code

CS for Good is the 2019 theme.

Let’s celebrate the power of youth like Time’s Person of the year Greta Thunberg.  Let’s celebrate the power of computer science by giving all students the tools of digital communication, data science, and building their passion projects.  Lets provide time during the school day for students to discuss history and learn about the biology of our best and worst selves.

Start by watching this – understand the past and community spaces.


Learn about the impact of AI on You – amazing videos:

  • Machine Learning: Computers make decision by recognizing patterns – learn through experience with data. First get the knowledge then get the power.
  • Training data and bias: Where does training data come from? – what if only men provide the input?  Up to you to give your machine unbiased data from lots of sources.  The data is the code.
  • Impact on Society: How do you grow food? How do you stay healthy? How do you decide who to vote for?  Most important part of machine learning is human learning.  Learning how to use it for good.

Learn what CS for Good community volunteers are doing in Houston:

  • Fresh Hub Houston – We need to find solutions to our local problems by using technology like Aspirations winners Shirley and Annie Zhu with other Houston ISD Bellaire HS students.


There is an opportunity Gap – how to close it. 

The Joy of Cooking

Oh, what a Recipe for Success.  All on CBS Sunday Morning this November 10th, 2019

What are you going to do this week?

What is your teacher going to do to this week inspire Joy in Learning.


Schools could learn from COSTCO

Efficient, effective and only serves the very BEST!

I can’t go into Costco without trying and buying something new.  In the story about Costco they demonstrate research that goes into all products they sell.  One of the important selling points for me is their restroom. It has a long sink with the soap inside and is constantly maintained.  They apply the systems model with a focus on quality control and feedback to improve customer service.

I stopped at Costco on the way home from tutoring 2nd grades as part of my church’s HUGS program.  So this process was on my mind.  I can’t help myself as debugging is ingrained in my brain as a result of teaching computing science for decades.  The Bee-Bot represents quality control every step of the way.  I read my mentee “Miss Money Honey”.  I want to her excitement by reading this book to all the 2nd graders at this low-income school.  This book was written by a neighbor who became a friend through our three-year-old granddaughters.  That is the feedback loop that is talked about in the talk that TED picked out for me today (the power of AI).



“At least the words were said …” Elon Musk attends meetings that ask for opinions.  Oh my, if only that happened in schools.  My grandson posted on his blog site he is bored in school.  But on his first post he wanted to be a scientist.  What happened?  Schools do not build on dreams and aspirations of their clients, they test them to death.  They don’t give learners time to share their opinions. Elon askes “What do you love about the future?” in his TED talk that AI picked for me today. I sent this to our Houston Aspirations applicants as they are the future changers.

If you have a dream of building future cities, share that idea. Elon started “The Boring Company” – beginning as a hobby employed by mostly interns. You can be that intern. Since CS is now part of CTE high schools have funding to help you find internships. Our Houston Aspirations team wants to help you too. The first step is to share what problem you want to solve and how technology can help solve it.

In fact, that is the only way to solve problems today.  “Technology only improves if we have a lot of people working together. – So I ask Elon, you have amazing solutions. You are a fixer. What can you do about improving the input to the future? Our children …

What is the biggest problem facing this century? – The Mind Behind …

Hiking – Together is Better

That is our AAUW Hiking Hunnies team!!

Grayson and Emory, where are you?  Your 2016 monarch butterfly habitat is empty.  Thanks for my hiking friends who collected leaves for me, my 3 year old granddaughter added to her dot pictures.  If only creating collections of leaves was part of our report card for schools, we might have more nature adventures.

Problem Fixers

Problem Fixers are our NCWIT Aspirations Community.



Off the Beaten Path … Inspiration Struck.  Let’s use what we have. Reunite People.  Just a dream after 6 years dealing with politics actually build it.  Others thought it was a dumb idea. Volunteers labor built it.

In my neighborhood in West Houston the Woods Project was started at Spring Woods High School.  A dear AAUW WISE friend went with a group of these students on a wilderness trip and continues to support this and outdoor challenges.  Ryan Beeler an environmental teacher enhanced his passion projects with Shared Tables to help prevent wasting and food.  This teacher is a champion, along with Alice Fisher at Bellaire High School who students started FreshHubHouston. Thank you Kinder for supporting the work of these problem fixers.

Building strong communities block by block. Fixes: Building for Real With Digital Blocks. To improve community structures with citizens’ input, the United Nations uses a computer game inspired by Lego. Read to see how Minecraft is used by city planners.

Houston , yes “We have a problem” but we are working together to make it better.

WHY Apply 4 Aspirations Award


Challenges makes life interesting.

Computing Skills Are Essential

Computing and computational thinking are increasingly important 21st-century skills. These skills lead the way for innovative solutions to long-standing problems at national and local levels. Technology increasingly permeates every aspect of society.

  1. Why Apply – because Together is Better!!
  2. We need to build a diverse population of computers.
  3. We need to find our Hidden Figures and Rosies.
  4. We need to find solutions to our local problems by using technology like Aspirations winners Shirley and Annie Zhu . With other Bellaire HS students they created Fresh Hub Houston.


HOW – Learn and Plan Together

The WHO – You + These Communities

Thank you RUSMP for sharing this at your Networking Conference!

See Article about this event in our local newspaper.

These photos don’t tell the whole story, but hopefully will start you thinking about what you can do.  This is what I captured, but Rosie Anne Papakonstantinou will add more to the story on the RUSMP website.

My take-a ways:

  • Dr. Richard Tapia
    • “One step forward will get you to good places.” That is decompose, something computer science teaches.  Break down problems into smaller parts.  If the challenge is too big, break it down again until you can write a procedure to achieve your goal.
    • “Needed UCLA to be prepared for Rice.”  Went to a Sequin school and worked hard.  Persevered after a life of rejection.
    • Learned to love math because was good at it.
    • Can’t be confident without success. (This is game theory)
  • Edward Gonzalez, Exxon on the STEM professional panel – “Evaluate data to make pricing more efficient.” – That is data science.  Something CS teaches.  See Bootstrapworld for free curriculum for students to learn about this world. Something all teachers need to learn, especially social studies and environmental science teachers.
  • Sandra Coleman, BHP Lawyer and Finance expert – Get parents involved … had dyslexia yet survived and thrived thanks to her parents.”
  • STEM Student panel –
    • “Learn how to learn things, use resources to figure out how.
    • Teachers who care and encourage you to keep trying are essential. (Please send encouraging note to a HS girl.)
    • Giving students small wins.  Research projects that build positive results.
    • Less time on board better!!! Interacting and hands-on lessons are what creates learning.
  • Ellis Wyms – bonus presenter invited by Debbie Campbell, RUSMP project manager.  He shared about his passion that turned to action to inspire athletes to learn about computer science. I shared about my passion for CSforAll, but more than that, my goal to make this a priority in the allotment of time in the classroom.  Reporter Pete Hamill in the CBS October 2019 special brought back the need for classroom reporters, those students who tell the truth. Young Verse message from his Fish in a Tank video is an inspiration to both of us. I discovered with the teachers in this conference we need to do more to spread the word about NCWIT.  And that students can be reporters from the classroom. Please help find one high school student and encourage her to share her passion.

Located in our Herman Park Rose Garden across the street from Rice – a pathway worth taking.

Remembering 9/11

As I remember 9/11 I wanted to use this to communicate a small step you can do today to bring change.  Below is an email I am sending my friends and connectors.  If we all did the same thing, maybe we can move forward to peace in this world.  Please share! As the student you find might be the innovator we need for our future.

On this 18th anniversary of 9/11 will you help spread the word so together we can build our community of problem solvers ?  Please find one high school girl who has a vision and invite her to apply for the Aspirations award.  Fill out the simple form at  Make her feel good by giving her value.  And let me know if you invite her and I will let you know if she applies.  Will give you joy too.

How would you use technology to bring peace to this world? What problem do you want to solve is a question on the NCWIT awards. By applying for this award, students can share their solution and brainstorm with other young women who aspire to solve the same challenge.  And that challenge can be local to bring a spirit of giving and being nice to your community. It is using computer science to prevent problems through data science. It is preventing the need for cyber security.

Teachers, please make this a warmup journaling prompt, so when it comes time to submit the application, the hard part, the short essay is written.  Our students can be the leaders of learning.

Thank you,
Karen North, Houston Co-Coordinator