Enabling more Girls in Computing: Office Mix CS Toolkit for middle school and CS Principles Gaming Course for HS


September 25, 2014


Veronica Catete


MS Intern/North Carolina State University


Approximately 16 million students are attending high school in the U.S., 1/5 of them will become graduating seniors. This means that 3.2 million new students have the opportunity to become computer science majors. Unfortunately, just 3%, a tiny fraction of a number will choose computer science. This 3% of students will have the composition of five males for every one female; unless we do something to change it. There is a strong push by organizations across the world to get more girls interested in computing, as part of our Dream Big campaign, we have developed two new projects to get girls excited about computing.

In this talk, I will present two projects we developed specifically for girls: a middle school computing toolkit, and a high school CS Principles & Games course. We built these toolkits in Office Mix, allowing us to add in screen recordings, quizzes, and other interactive content. The MS toolkit features projects like Kodu, Touch Develop, and Small Basic. Our HS course covers topics like privacy, big data, and social impacts all within a games focus. CS Principles is a new AP course being piloted across the country and by making it more accessible to students we can help increase diversity in computing.


Veronica Catete

Veronica Cateté is a doctoral student at NC State University researching Computer Science Education and Diversity. Her academic research explores ways to bridge the gap between middle school computing clubs and high school computing courses.

She is heavily involved with her university’s student government, women in computer science group and she leads her local chapter of the STARS Alliance, a research and service organization for students in technology. In 2012, Veronica traveled with STARS to northern Haiti, providing young women hands on training in leadership, communication, and programming.

Veronica is a Microsoft Research Graduate Women’s Scholar and a NSF Graduate Research Fellow. In her spare time, Veronica coordinates and leads computing outreach activities for k-12 area schools and is a proud supporter of childhood cancer research.