By Jennifer Eisenbart

Editor

When Sydney Steinbauer joined a coding club in middle school, she wasn’t thinking of where the future might lead.

And for Grace Ivey, she wasn’t even necessarily interested in Elkhorn’s AP Computer Science track. She took the class because it would help her with her business and medical field pursuits.

Now both are part of the Elkhorn AP Computer Science program that recently got recognition for drawing females into the field.

Elkhorn Area High School has earned the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP computer science courses.

More than 1,000 institutions achieved either 50% or higher female representation in one of the two AP computer science courses or a percentage of the female computer science exam takers meeting or exceeding that of the school’s female population during the 2020-21 school year.

In 2021, Elkhorn Area High School was one of 199 recognized in the category of AP Computer Science A, and one of only two schools in the State of Wisconsin.

In Elkhorn’s case, the AP Computer Science Applications group had nine students in the 2020-21 school year. Of those nine, five were female.

“We’re thrilled to congratulate our female AP computer science students and their teachers on this step toward gender parity in computer science education,” District Administrator Jason Tadlock said. “We’re honored that our school earned this distinction and look forward to seeing these young women and others pursue and achieve success in computer science education and careers.”

According to a Google study, 54% of female computer science majors took AP CSA in high school. College Board research about AP CSP also finds AP CSP students are nearly twice as likely to enroll in AP CSA, and that for most students, AP CSP serves as a stepping stone to other advanced AP STEM coursework.

Steinbauer’s initial interest in coding brought her into the field of computer science.

“Not only are the courses fun, but the information being taught is very relevant to society with all of the technology advancements being made,” she said. “I think it’s a good course for anyone to take, especially if it’s helping female representation. I definitely want to have a career somewhere in the computer-science field.”

Ivey, meanwhile, found she enjoyed classes related to IT, networking and programing.

“Once I went through the course, I realized how much I liked learning about computers,” she said.

 

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