When Lasya Sreenivasan applied to high school in 2016 in Phoenix, Ariz., she was reticent to go into computer science.

Both parents worked in the field, and, said Sreenivasan, “I had this idea from what I saw in movies that computer scientists worked on their laptops all day, typing random things.”

Sreenivasan, 17, didn’t see how that job incorporated her interests in psychology, linguistics, and history.

But, after a two-week summer course, Sreenivasan was intrigued and decided to give computer science a try. She enrolled in the Center for Research Engineering Science and Technology (CREST) program at Paradise Valley High School.

Few girls enrolled in computer science, so when Sreenivasan saw another girl in her freshman class, they immediately became friends.

The lack of girls in her computer science classes can be isolating. It’s also motivating.

“There’s a mindset that was ingrained in me from everything I’ve heard of the lack of women in computer science,” Sreenivasan, now a Paradise Valley senior, told Digital Privacy News. “I have to work 10 times as hard as the guys to be considered serious.”

But Sreenivasan is not alone in her experience.

Kaitlyn Carroll, junior in computer science at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tenn., about 80 miles east of Nashville, also finds herself one of a few women studying computer science.

Typically, said Carroll, a class of 30 students will as few as five women.

“It was a little jarring at first,” she told Digital Privacy News, “to see men everywhere — and across the room you see one other woman — but I think I’ve gotten used to it now.”

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Samantha Cleaver (2020, November 30). No More Hackers in Hoodies. Digital Privacy News. https://digitalprivacy.news/2020/11/30/no-more-hackers-in-hoodies/