Students in Ithaca and New York City showed off their computer programming skills Saturday, March 4, solving problems with the theme of women’s achievements in computing, in the first of two high school computing contests organized by volunteers from the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.
The organizing team, led by Robbert van Renesse, professor of computer science, has hosted high school programming competitions in New York state for 10 years, welcoming students from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut. This year, they partnered with Women in Computing at Cornell (WICC) to recruit more girls and students belonging to underrepresented groups in tech and STEM-related fields, though all students are invited to compete.
“The contests are not just fun, they’re also educational,” said Van Renesse. “We want to open up the minds of people who mostly know computers from games. We make sure that they get a diverse perspective on computer science.”
The WICC High School Computing Contest, which offered a supportive environment for students who are new to programming, attracted 41 teams that competed at the Cornell Tech campus and seven teams at Gates Hall in Ithaca. Among this year’s contestants, 80% identified as female, 10% as Black, and 10% as Latinx.
Patricia Waldron is a writer for the Cornell Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science.