By any measure, Dr. Joanne Cohoon has contributed enormously to the field of advancing women in technology. She has produced a stunning list of research papers that explore a wide breadth of the complex issues that underscore the issues facing women in computing roles. Joanne is also the driving force behind the Tapestry Workshops, an initiative she helped develop with a National Science Foundation grant at the University of Virginia.
Tapestry Workshops are aimed at high school educators looking to attract more and diverse students to their high school computer science classes. The workshop brings teachers and experts together to “share strategies, research-based practices and field-tested good ideas for teaching computer science in a way that reaches all students regardless of sex or ethnicity,” according to the Tapestry Workshop. To date, 500 teachers have enrolled in 17 workshops in universities across the country.
But the true impact of the workshops is better expressed through the words of former attendees. “I know that the Tapestry workshops have had significant impact,” says Dr. Mark Guzdial, a professor in the School of Interactive Computing in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. “I expect that many female computer science undergraduate students would not be in computer science if it were not for the Tapestry Workshops that Joanne put together.”
Dr. Guzdial is also one of Joanne’s colleagues who nominated her for the A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award.
“I have spoken to high school teachers who drew enormous insight from these workshops, who never before realized that their practices were one of the reasons that their classes were almost entirely male,” Dr. Guzdial continues.
Joanne is also a founding member of the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s (NCWIT) social science staff, where she conducts, translates and communicates her social science findings to other members of the organization’s leadership team and stakeholders.
“Joanne has done more to advance our understanding of what influences engagement and retention of female CS students in higher education (both undergrad and graduate) than anyone else I know,” Dr. Guzdial concludes.
Update: Joanne passed away on February 14, 2016, and we will miss her dearly. She was a true pioneer in the gender and technology space, and her intellect and sense of humor served not only NCWIT well, but the world. As we mourn the loss of our esteemed colleague and friend Joanne M. Cohoon, all donations received through the 2016 NCWIT Summit will be in her honor, as requested by her family.