Celebrating CS

Jones Computer Science programs win College Board award again


Jones Computer Science (CS) programs started the year off by winning the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award from College Board for the third consecutive year in a row.

The award recognizes high schools that have a fifty percent or higher female participation rate in either or both AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) and AP Computer Science A courses. Jones was one of 150 schools to be nationally acknowledged for a third time since 2020.

“I was so excited to see all the hard work the clubs and CS teachers put into the CS program get recognized,” said Women in STEM (WiSTEM) Co-President Abigail Leyden ‘23.

  Girls Who Code (GWC) Co-President Kathryn Harper ‘23 believes that this award acknowledging female involvement is even more important in a field that is still prominently male.

“CS is very male dominated, so it’s good that [this] kind of women’s empowerment is happening at our school, [and we get] to be a part of it,” said Harper. 

The CS department has already put effort towards leveling the playing field for all students interested in the course.

“For AP CSP in specific, it’s equitable. We have at least the same amount of female students as male,” said Computer Science and Engineering Department Co-Chair Cynthia Lilagan. “Traditionally, computer science classes have been more male dominated so women don’t tend to think about computer science as a field for them.”

Clubs, such as GWC and WiSTEM, have also played a role in increasing female involvement in CS, helping Jones to secure the award yet again. 

“We encourage people to take more CS classes, [and encourage having] discussions with the department about joining those classes early on in high school,” said GWC Co-President Tiah Watt ‘23. “I think that has helped to increase diversity.”

Beyond clubs, CS educators have also made a conscious effort to create a welcoming environment. 

“We want to create an environment where everyone feels like they belong,” said CS teacher Bryant Jaramillo. “CS has been a male dominated field, so we are trying to change that by having a positive and open environment where anyone can grow and learn.”

Achieving the award also indicates that CS is more accessible to students, according to Harper. 

“Winning the award also signals that these coding opportunities do exist at our school, and it is a welcoming and open environment to take advantage of,” said Harper. 

WiSTEM Co-President Jiya Pai ‘23 also hopes that increased female diversity will help to encourage more female students to get involved in CS in the long term.

“More female participation makes those who identify as female more comfortable to pursue a career in CS or STEM and lets people know they are capable of it,” said Pai.

Beyond the Jones environment, Leyden speaks on the importance of getting more people involved in CS.

“Different algorithms and apps, particularly facial recognition software, aren’t accessible to everyone because those people weren’t involved in the design process and their voices weren’t heard,” said Leyden. “Seeing people acknowledge that there needs to be more diversity in CS is empowering.” 

CS teachers are still looking for ways to grow and expand for ambitious students. 

“We are always hoping we can add more classes and teachers. We feel like there’s definitely students who want to take more classes than we can offer,” said Lilagan.
Jamarillo acknowledges that there are still improvements to be made before inclusivity is achieved on a grand scale.

“We just want to keep that momentum going. It’s a good start but the numbers out in the field still don’t reflect the change that we want,” said Jamarillo. “Once we see the demographic changing in the workplace, we will know we have made an impact.” 

The CS department hopes to nurture aspiring STEM students as they consider future careers and ventures.

“There’s lots of opportunities out there and you shouldn’t limit yourself to the traditional view of what you can accomplish,” said Lilagan. 


CS-related Clubs and Google Classroom Codes

GWC: wfttwqy

Cyber Security Team: kvo53ji 

WiSTEM: 2bxl7v4

JCP CS Honor Society: aogwa6h