New club invites female students to explore computer science



The Women in Computer Science club, meeting every X-block, welcomes all to join regardless of their experience with computer science.

Twenty percent of undergraduates who received a computer science degree in the country between 2008 and 2018 were women. Two juniors are fighting to make the high school more inclusive for women to explore and find joy in the field.

Driven by their passion for computer science, juniors Ava Fu and Grace Yang started the Women in Computer Science club this fall. They hope to create a safe space for coders of all experiences to grow.

Fu said she has not felt welcomed during many of her experiences in the male-dominated field of computer science.

“When I’ve done computer science programs before, I’ve been pretty intimidated because it’s always been so full of guys,” Fu said. “A lot of the time, they already have a lot of knowledge, so it’s really intimidating going into it.”

Club member and freshman Maren Irizarry-Nonez said she often faces barriers, such as condescension, as a woman in computer science.

“A lot of times I feel like I’m not supposed to be confident,” Irizarry-Nonez said. “This might be something that I’ve internalized on myself.”

As a Latina woman in the field, Irizarry-Nonez said she feels she has heightened expectations as a role model.

“A lot of times, I feel like I don’t want to let down women or Latinos. I feel I almost have to be a representation, because [we’re] so underrepresented,” Irizzary-Nonez said.

Given the lack of diversity in computer science, Fu said her and Yang want to create a space where everyone feels comfortable learning, regardless of their experience level.

Irizzary-Nonez said she was drawn to joining the club because she hopes to pursue her interests alongside peers of similar backgrounds.

Structured to include major projects, Fu said the club will be centered around web development this year, with members learning fundamentals so they are empowered to create their own websites. They plan to collaborate on making websites for other student-led organizations at the high school.

With a large range of club activities, Yang said they plan to bring in speakers, organize events with other clubs at the high school and hold hackathons. She said club meetings will include team bonding to build a supportive community.

“We want it to be a really fun and welcoming community where we can learn together and make projects,” Yang said.

Yang and Fu said they want to build a community where the more experienced members teach the less experienced. Fu said she hopes the team atmosphere will allow members to develop as much as possible.

“I’m really excited to see what gets created in the club and seeing people evolve throughout the year,” Fu said.