AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award


In the past, AP courses were not offered to many students. Now, AP classes are becoming a place where everyone is welcome. “I think that it is good that Mrs. Spargo got recognition for the effort she puts into making her classes an inclusive place, and that all of the female students got recognition for their hard work, but I don’t think that it will change anything about female representation in the Computer Science Department. I think that the performance of various female computer science students speaks for itself,” said Jesse.

Sehar Gogia, Staff Writer

Towards the end of 2020, Hollis Brookline High School won the Advanced Placement Computer Science Female Diversity Award. This award not only recognizes the AP Computer Science classes but also recognizes the expanding resources for young women in the computer science field.


The AP Computer Science Female Diversity award was given to 1,192 schools throughout the US. Hollis Brookline was one of them as well as Nashua North High School. The schools that received this award had achieved 50% or higher in the number of females in AP Computer Science.


Computer science student, Smrithi Senthil ‘23, believes it is nice that the female population in AP Computer Science is rising and leveling out to where they should stand. “I think people should be able to do any level of work that they desire, no matter the gender,” said Senthil. This award brings out the importance of gender equality. “This award means that gender doesn’t separate those who want to learn about a subject. People should be free to learn the importance of computer science without being categorized.”


Times have definitely changed in terms of women in different stem fields. Computer Science teacher, Lorna Spargo, was the only student in her all women’s college with a degree in computer science and math. Spargo said that back in the 1980’s, computer science was a brand new field and women didn’t always get the chance to try it, and those who did often dropped out. “Women have been asked why they drop out. At the beginning of freshman year, numbers are often high, with female attendance making up about 45% of computer science classes,” said Spargo. But why is it that colleges, like MIT and other research based universities, cannot retain women in computer science? “The reason for that is that women feel that they’re not listened to when they’re in teams,” added Spargo.


Spargo, along with her students, were very excited when they heard they had gotten this award. “I was surprised when I heard about it. Last year, we had 10 girls and eight boys in our class which was unheard of,” said Spargo.


AP computer science student, Katherine Jesse ‘21, plans on studying computer science in college. “Mrs. Spargo has been incredibly supportive of me and is a big reason I am able to plan to attend a school with an awesome computer science program,” said Jesse. When Jesse heard about the award, “[she] felt really proud. I knew that I, along with the other women in my APCS class last year, really worked hard to succeed in that class, so I felt like we had contributed to that award. I also know that Mrs. Spargo really tries to set up an environment where women interested in CS aren’t discouraged, so I was really happy for her,” said Jesse.


Women, in general, are beginning to get more opportunities in different job fields including computer science. This award really brings out the meaningful message that everyone is equal no matter their gender.