Dr. Catherine Mooney and PhD student Anna Antoniadi, our UCD-based computer scientists are just "back" from the 25th Annual ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE). The conference was originally due to take place in Trondheim, Norway, but it was held virtually on the 17th and 18th of June. Catherine and Anna are heavily involved in outreach activities in UCD and are particularly interested in encouraging more women to be involved in computer science. Below they talk about the prize-winning poster they presented at the conference.
We presented a poster entitled "Exploring Sense of Belonging in Computer Science Students" which won the best poster award. This poster, which was also co-authored by Dr Brett Becker, UCD Computer Science PhD student Ioannis Karvelas and UCD Physics PhD student Lana Salmon, explored the relationship between sense of belonging and participation in networking, outreach and mentoring activities.
Student sense of belonging has been shown to be associated with many attributes such as motivation and persistence. However, sense of belonging can show variations according to factors such as race and gender. In this study, we examined the relationship between undergraduate Computer Science students' participation in networking, outreach, and mentoring activities and their sense of belonging. Results revealed lower levels of sense of belonging in women and self-identified minorities. However, we observed a higher sense of belonging in female students who participated in networking, outreach, and mentoring activities.
Overall these results will help us towards understanding what makes Computer Science students feel included and what can be done to help those that don't.