Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Information Systems and Technology


Barbara Salice


America's higher education institutions have aligned computer science curricula with today's modern technology. Despite these efforts, data have shown that there is slow growth among young women majoring in computer science and even slower growth in this area at community colleges. Higher education institutions have also acknowledged a gap between men and women entering the computer science field and a need to explore options for computer science programs to engage women in the industry. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain an understanding of the perceptions and lived experiences of female students enrolled in computer classes at New Jersey Community College (pseudonym). Vygotsky's social constructivist theory formed the conceptual framework. The 4 research questions addressed female students' perceptions and lived experiences of their computer science classes, expectations for the courses, and whether these courses changed their views about computer science careers. Interviews with 7 female student participants were conducted to gather rich, detailed descriptions of their experiences; basic inductive analysis was used to examine collected data. This study's findings included (a) mentors and role models, (b) lack of gender diversity, (c) intimidation, and (d) the determination to succeed can be used to implement changes to computer science curricula and implement new programs. Implications for positive social change include the potential to increase women in the computer science industry. This research is significant for educators, administrators, and students in computer science programs.