Computer Science Graduate Seeks To Close Gender Gap

By Jessica Skropanic
Redding Record Searchlight, Calif.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Breanna Devore-McDonald is on a mission. The recent Notre Dame grad who will enter a computer science doctoral program in the fall, wants to change perceptions about women in computer science.

Redding Record Searchlight, Calif.

At 21, Breanna Devore-McDonald has the next few years planned out.

The Anderson resident just graduated from Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, where she attended on a full scholarship. She’ll enter a doctoral program in the fall.

This summer, she’ll work as an instructor at Girls Who Code, a Bay Area coding camp for high school girls who want to enter computer science and related fields.

The camp’s purpose is to help underrepresented minorities close the gender gap in STEM fields like computer science.

When she’s teaching, Devore-McDonald will be able to relate from personal experience what it’s like to be the only woman in the room.

“I’ve had a lot of mixed experiences,” Devore-McDonald said. “It’s hard to tell that you’re the only woman at Notre Dame. People (there) aren’t as discriminating as other places. I didn’t realize how big of a difference it is between a man and a woman in my field.”

She found out just how big those differences were when she did summer internships while at university.

“I had two internships, both with IBM. My first internship in Dublin, Ireland, went swimmingly. People expected me to do as much and to know as much as my male peers.”

The second one, in San Jose, wasn’t as pleasant.

“It went terribly. I was one of maybe three female interns in 30. Not all of my male peers were bad at all, but there was a group of about five that really didn’t think women were meant to be in computer science — that they weren’t capable enough.”

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