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Rebekah Overdorf '12 Presents Paper at Major Computer Science Conference

Rebekah Overdorf ’12, a dual computer science and mathematics major from Nazareth, Pa., presented “Reaching Out to Aid in Retention: Empowering Undergraduate Women” at the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) 2011 Symposium in Dallas, held March 9-12. Overdorf co-authored the paper with Matt Lang, assistant professor of computer science. The conference accepted only 34 percent of its submissions, and Overdorf was one of only two undergraduates whose work was accepted of the 107 total presentations.

Over the past year, Overdorf has being working on and off campus to dispel the stereotype that computer science is not for women. Mentored by Professor Lang, Overdorf has taken the message to local Girl Scout troops and the Moravian Academy middle school. After giving a brief talk, Overdorf and several other women math and computer science majors have led smaller groups in games, puzzles, and other activities, followed by a discussion. “The idea is to show that computer science is fun—to replace the negative connotation with a positive one,” Overdorf says.