In the Java computer programming class at East, there are 14 boys and 3 girls. Sophomore Laura Adams, junior Allison Stockwell and junior Sophie Storbeck all took the class for the same reasons: an interest in computers, and the fact that more and more jobs are opening up for women in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.
“Computers are already the next big thing and since it’s getting even bigger, that’s where all the jobs are going to be,” Stockwell said.
However, the girls all agree that not enough female students take computer related classes like Java in high school. According to the girls, this is rooted in stereotypes that the only people interested in computers are boys.
“There aren’t a lot of girls in the class so that kind of tells other girls not to take it, you know?” Storbeck said. “[But] it doesn’t bother me that there aren’t a lot of [them]. I think that’s because I sit next to Allison and across the aisle from Laura.”
“She sat us all right next to each other so we wouldn’t quit the class,” Stockwell added.
According to Adams and Stockwell, in class they have mostly been reading to learn more about Java, the programming language and computing platform around which the class is based. They have done one lab where they practiced programming different things to see if they worked.
All three believe it would be beneficial for more girls to take classes like Java, especially due to the increasing amount of STEM jobs offered to women.
“I think in general a lot of STEM fields are hiring more girls,” Storbeck said. “So if you are a girl and you’ve gotten background in classes in school you would have more of an advantage.”