COLORADO SPRINGS — When it comes to the STEM field, it's safe to say girls have been left behind for far too long. One local high school has figured out a way to break gender norms and even won an award in the process.
The AP College board awarded 639 schools for inspiring young girls to get active in math and science. Coronado High School was one of those institutions. According to the Pew Center for Research, women are 56% more likely to work in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields, even though it's an industry that is still dominated by men.
Computer Science Teacher Kyle Yeh said the award came by surprise. The school wanted more students to take an interest in STEM courses so they did two things: First, they made it so all students can enroll, even if they don't have any programming experience. Then the administration decided to appeal to the social side of their students and sent personal invites to them.
Yeh said he also made sure his computer science classes were more engaging and interactive.
"It's not the stereotypical just writing lines and lines of code in a dark room," Yeh said. "There's a lot of design process, collaborating, and working together, and a lot of students like that."
Ariana Bower is a junior at Coronado and one of Yeh's students. Bower says strides have been made, but some sectors of society still have a long way to go.
"There's been times when it seems like some people knew better than me but that's not always true," Bower explained.
Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have achieved either a 50% or higher female representation in one or both AP computer science courses. The schools can also have a percentage of female computer science examinees that meets or exceeds that of the school's female population.
Bower says whether you're a guy or girl, your ideas matter.
"Everyone has different ideas, and it should be even grounds for everyone participating."