IRON MOUNTAIN — According to 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics data, women make up just 24% of the five million people in IT occupations.
But looking into Renee Yake’s Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles class at Iron Mountain High School, you might be surprised to see that the majority of the class is female.
Iron Mountain High School was one of 760 recognized institutions to achieve 50% or greater female representation in the AP CSP class during the 2020-2021 school year, earning the College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award. Last year, Yake’s registrations were 50% female. This year, the enrollment rate for female students has increased to 72%.
“It has always been a top priority for me to encourage young women in the field of mathematics. Showing high school girls the many career opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is so important. I love helping all students gain confidence in math and coding,” said Yake.
Yake has taught high school math for 28 years and the AP Computer Science Principles course for five years at IMHS.
In 2021, Norway High School was also one of 760 schools recognized in the AP Computer Science Principles category.
“We are thrilled to congratulate our female AP Computer Science students and their teachers for this step towards gender parity in computer science education,” said Joe Tinti, director of the NHS. “We are honored that our school has achieved this distinction and we look forward to seeing these young women and others pursue and succeed in teaching and careers in computer science.”
Natalie Dykhuis, a 2019 Iron Mountain graduate, was a Yake student and speaks highly of the course. She now attends St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis., and will graduate in Computer Science Education in 2023.
“CSP introduced me to the basics of computing while making me feel like everyone else. With the knowledge I gained in this course and Mrs. Yake’s encouragement, I realized that IT was my passion. said Dykhuis.
Yake loves “teaching AP CSP through code.org’s outstanding curriculum, which provides fair teaching practices and enables students to learn new things.”
College Board research indicates that female students who take the AP CSP in high school are more than five times more likely to major in computer science in college, compared to female students of similar educational background and preparation who did not take the CSP.
The first year of AP Computer Science Principles in 2016-17 attracted more students than any other AP course start, and attendance is growing. In 2021, more than 116,000 students took the AP CSP exam, more than double the number of exam takers in the first year of the course.
In 2021, 39,218 women took the AP CSP exam, nearly three times the number tested in 2017.
Providing female students with access to computer science courses is key to ensuring gender parity in high-paying industry jobs and to driving innovation, creativity and representation.
The median annual salary for computer and information technology occupations was $91,250 in May 2020. However, a code.org analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data from 2017 reveals that women do not represent than 24% of the five million people in IT professions.
Computer science jobs are the number one source of new salaries in the United States, although 67% of all new STEM jobs are in computer science, only 11% of bachelor’s degrees in STEM are in computer science.