AUSTIN, Texas—About 50 high school women from across Texas will attend the fifth annual First Bytes Residential Summer Program, created by the Department of Computer Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin to enhance gender equity in technology and computing fields.
Nationally, women represent around 60 percent of college graduates, but representation in computer science has fallen to about 15 percent.
First Bytes is aimed at identifying and overcoming attitudinal barriers so that computer science becomes a viable career option in the minds of young women. The program seeks to dispel such myths as: computer scientists are "geeks," a balance of work and life is impossible and computer science is too hard.
During the program, which takes place from June 24-30, high school women will live on campus with adult female advisers who guide, inspire and empower.
Activities include career mentoring, programming language labs, logic games, computer dissection, robotic competitions, tours of local technology companies and visits with computer sciences faculty.
"As a camper at First Bytes, I absolutely fell in love with The University of Texas at Austin and could not wait to begin my education here," said Jennifer McClelen, former camper and adviser at First Bytes. "Now as an adviser, I share my enthusiasm for computer sciences and UT Austin with other bright young girls."
Funding for developing the First Bytes program is provided by the Texas Engineering and Technical Consortium.
Corporations concerned about gender equity and diversity support the program with sponsor funding, gifts and participation in Corporate Chat, a luncheon where women in technology occupations inspire First Bytes participants with their personal life and career stories.
Corporate sponsors this year include Lockheed Martin, Cisco Systems, Amazon.com and Schlumberger.