Irina Rabkina : Mentoring


Overview

There is no question that computer science has a gender problem: women account for less than 20% of CS BA/BS recipients, and hold an even smaller proportion of graduate degrees (source). I believe that the solution to this problem is two-fold: mentorship and visibility. Seeing female computer scientists, and especially being taught and mentored by them, was incredibly important to my educational path. I hope to play a similar role to girls and young women in my community. Since I have begun my studies at Northwestern, I have been active with two organizations whose goals align with my own in this regard: She Is Code, an organization in Evanston, IL, and Northwestern University's Women in Computing.

She Is Code

She Is Code offers girls (ages 9-17) in the Evanston, IL community a chance to learn about technology. As a volunteer instructor, I work with the executive director to develop and present curriculum for one-off events and longer, ongoing sessions. During the summer of 2016, we are hosting Code the Hood, a long-term project in which our students learn website design, html basics, and brand management, and put their new skills to action by creating websites for local businesses.

Women In Computing

Women in Computing is a peer-run organization and community for Northwestern undergraduate students. Under this umbrella, I founded a mentorship program between women in the computer science department. Undergraduate and first year graduate students are matched with a student mentor who is further along in her CS career. After a successful pilot program in the spring of 2016, the program will be expanding starting in the fall.