As part of my graduate work, I was able to take a course at Purdue University with a friend and colleague, Dr. Brenda Capobianco. The course she was offering was entitled “Gender and Culture in Science Education”, and it fit in with my personal interests in equity and broadening participation in computer science. The course was excellent and we read a lot of thought provoking pieces from authors like Sue Rosser, Nancy Brickhouse, and Sandra Harding. One of the culminating projects in the course was for me to propose and conduct an independent study. I chose to focus on exploring the perspectives of the young women in my semester-long service learning course on mentoring.
From the work that Dr. Capobianco and I did, we produced two papers. The first one to find a home was the paper that we wrote about applying cascaded mentoring programs for women and underrepresented minorities in university education. Prior work by Yasmin Kafai on the idea of cascaded mentoring had made it interesting to me, particularly given the limited role model opportunities that I was seeing across the university for our undergraduate students. Engaging in mentoring is a challenge, as most research on mentoring suggests that it cannot be forced and needs to grow and fade naturally over time. Our hope was that we could build in layers of mentoring at the university level that would provide near-peer role models to help support students where they were currently positioned.
You can read the paper online for free as part of the Susan E Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence ADVANCE Working Paper series.
Sands, P., & Capobianco, B. (2019). Cascaded mentoring for gender inclusion in computer science. Susan Bulkeley Butler Center for Leadership Excellence and ADVANCE Working Paper Series. 1(2), 16-25. Retrieved from https://www.purdue.edu/butler/working-paper-series/docs/Working-Paper-Series_Fall-2018-Issue.pdf