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Communications of the ACM


The Lives of Hidden Figures Matter in Computer Science Education

Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson

Credit: NASA

The grand challenge of broadening participation in computing is to engage the world's tech talent in solving diversity, equity, and inclusion problems at scale. Broader participation in computing will lead to wider representations of computing professionals; fairer algorithmic decisions related to loan eligibility, work schedules, and unemployment insurance;4 and curricula that incorporate radical inclusion, educational freedom, and self-determination for all.2

As educators, we have a responsibility not to perpetuate the inequities of the past. This includes being aware of the culture of our classrooms and being explicit in how we cultivate diversity, inclusion, and belonging for all. Every computing student deserves a chance to see themselves in computing irrespective of demographics, interests, or socioeconomic status. Students must see human computing stories that they can connect to, identify with, or look up to.


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