The University of Rochester has seen a dramatic increase of female students in its computer science department over the last five years. In 2010, only one out of the 20 computer science graduates was female. This year, the expected graduating class of 119 students will be 34% female—double the national average. One of the keys to Rochester’s success has been its participation in BRAID (Building, Recruiting, And Inclusion for Diversity), an initiative led by the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and Harvey Mudd College. BRAID encourages universities to have a set of approaches to increase diversity within their computer science departments.
“The BRAID initiative has really been a game changer,” says Michael Scott, a professor of computer science at Rochester. After joining BRAID, the university created more accessible courses and gave more support to its female and underrepresented students. In 2016, BRAID also paid for 26 of Michael’s female students to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) where they were able to network, learn, and be inspired to continue in their field.