With women making up just 12 percent of computer science majors at Colorado State University, Claire Goldstein knows what it’s like to feel underrepresented and to fight stereotypes.
That’s why the graduating senior has been motivated to engage with other women in the major and to send a message to younger counterparts:
“Every industry uses computer science, so we need to build a diverse network of hard-working women coders,” Goldstein says.
The native of Littleton and graduate of D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School has served as president of CSU’s Association for Computing Machinery-Women (ACM-W) Club, a subset of the national organization that represents computer science professionals. Goldstein’s tireless efforts have expanded the club’s membership and established mentoring and recruiting networks for women majors.
She also served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for an introductory computer science course, where she made it her mission to encourage younger female students to stick with the challenging coursework, even if they failed the first quiz.
Goldstein takes stock of early mentors, including her high school computer science teacher to whom she recently penned a thank-you note. It was in that class where she learned the basics of coding, which sparked her interest in connecting math logic to real-life problems. At CSU, she started connecting the dots, figuring she could blend her interests in psychology with coding and programming languages.
Goldstein found a perfect fit at CSU, where she also made it a priority to study abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa because she wanted to push outside her comfort zone. For her major, she chose a computer science degree with a concentration in human-centered computing, which meant most of her science credits came from the Department of Psychology.
The way she sees it, “since everyone who uses a computer has a brain, those two fields should be connected for issues like usability and the communication between computers and people.”
Goldstein loves the possibility and flexibility her field affords her, from web development to blockchain technology. Given her interest in the intersectionality between people and computers, she is intrigued by the massive amounts of data generated by people’s habits on the internet.
She’s giving herself some time to decide. After graduation, she’ll be a summer intern at a startup in Old Town called Mountain Data Group.
After spending the past four years learning computer programming languages, she has decided to challenge herself and try her hand at another language – Spanish. This fall, she will travel to South America to do exactly that.