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Tech It Out: Moudy Recognized for Diversity Award in AP Computer Science
February 11th is International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a celebration of female pioneers like Dr. Marie Curie, astronaut Judith Resnik, anthropologist Margaret Mead, environmentalist Rachel Carson, and computer science pioneer Grace Murray Hopper. However, according to recent statistics from the American Association of University Women, an organization developed in 1881 by a small group of women to encourage enrollment in all fields of higher education, women still only comprise 28% of careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In our world today, those are also the very careers likely to be the most in-demand and highest-paying jobs of the future. Part of the way we close that gap is by attracting and retaining female students in the classrooms that will encourage growth in the STEM fields—something Anderson County High School AP Computer Science teacher, Todd Moudy, has successfully achieved.

In fact, just last week Moudy was recognized by College Board’s Advanced Placement Program with a Female Diversity Award for the enrollment in his AP Computer Science classes. Moudy has 37% female enrollment in his Computer Science class this year and had 50% female enrollment last year. Both are a significant step above the national average of 18% of females who earn a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science in the United States, a statistic provided by Moudy’s work means that Anderson County High School is one of only 14 Kentucky high schools to receive this recognition.

When asked about the recognition, twelve-year veteran teacher Moudy stated, “I think there are a number of underlying reasons why female students rarely enter the field of computer science. They lack female role models in tech, and when computers first became a household item, they were marketed toward boys. But we are trying to adapt and to be more inclusive.”

Moudy received training with on improving gender equity and hopes visibility of the young women in his class as well as having former students encourage enrollment will help that percentage of females in his classes increase. With a young daughter of his own at home who wants to enter another male-dominated field—aviation—Moudy wants young women to feel encouraged to break boundaries and common perceptions in their career choices. “There are no limits except those you impose upon yourself,” Moudy stated, “and I would like to give credit to our administrators as well as Mrs. Holly McCarty for starting the AP Computer Science program and helping it to grow into what it is today.”

Some of his students have noted that the class has allowed them to think outside of the box and to develop important problem-solving skills. Moudy’s students note the creative and collaborative nature of the class at its core—skills they stated were beneficial in all of their courses. More specifically, Anderson County High School senior, Paige Serafini, identified the importance of all genders taking AP Computer Science, reflecting, “In a field primarily dominated by men, women bring a different and fresh perspective to the table. This yields more innovative solutions that solve real-world problems. I encourage all women to step outside the norm by taking this class and challenging themselves to create their own perspective on what future innovation should really look like.”

As Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, accurately stated, “I don’t think that girls who dream of careers in tech should have to rely on luck.” She’s right; all of our students deserve, instead, preparation, innovative instruction, and intentional focus. Though, I guess Anderson County High School has a little bit of luck on our side as well. After all, we have Todd Moudy helping achieve that goal.

If your child is interested in computer science or programming and you would like to foster that early interest, there are several free programs available like ScratchJr. (a free coding app for children ages 5-7) or (where children of all ages can create their own apps, games, and more).

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The Anderson County School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age in its programs or activities and provides equal access to designated youth groups. Inquiries may be directed to the Anderson County Title IX Coordinator, Travis Harley. He may be contacted at the district office, located at 1160 Bypass N. Lawrenceburg, KY 40342; by phone at 502-839-3406 or by email at [email protected]
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