The Latinas in Computing study, funded by the Kapor Center, aims to understand the computing experiences of Latina undergraduate students using data from the BRAID initiative. At a time of growing national interest in creating a talented, diverse computing workforce, this mixed-methods study uses both quantitative survey data as well as qualitative interviews to understand the lived experiences of Latinas in computing at the various BRAID institutions. The project represents a collaboration between the Momentum research team and Professor Sarah Rodriguez of the University of Texas-Commerce.
LATINAS IN COMPUTING
This study uses a convergent, mixed-methods design, drawing from both quantitative and qualitative data. The quantitative component of this study draws from the BRAID Research student survey data to understand the experiences of Latina students at the point of entry to a computing major—the introductory computing course—as well as their trajectories into a computing major or minor by examining their characteristics, backgrounds, and collegiate experiences. For the qualitative component, participants were recruited from the sample of Latina students who participated in the BRAID Research student survey. A total of ten participants that either majored or minored in computing were selected for this study and participated in two interviews. The first interview examined a range of topics related to experiences in computing, including interest in computing and major identification. The second interview provided a space for follow-up questions and allowed researchers to delve more deeply into students’ computing experiences.
This study’s focus on Latina undergraduate students, distinct from Latinx students as a group or from women of color students as a group, provides a more nuanced understanding of the computing experiences of Latina students in particular. These results can inform the policies and practices within institutions and challenge leaders to create environments which foster success for Latina women in computing fields.