Lewis & Clark’s Distinguished Alumna: Ruthe Farmer ’92


So a few years ago I casually surveyed a
group of girls and asked them about their interest in studying computer
science in high school and the results were pretty disheartening not because
they didn’t want to take it but because they couldn’t take it. They didn’t have
the option in their schools in fact here in Massachusetts a young woman named
Samantha said there is no CS in my high school I’m hoping my principal will let
me sit alone in a classroom for an hour each day and work on it by myself. And I
thought why are we making this so hard? I think it’s safe to say that Ruth is one
of the biggest names in recruiting girls and women into computer science. The work that she’s done with the Girl Scouts and NCWIT and CS For All has drawn thousands of new people into the field. I think the work that she’s doing is important
because first of all if women aren’t going into the sciences there is half of
humanity that is not being tapped for ideas and their contributions. Secondly, I think that without encouragement maybe some women are reluctant to go into those fields because they seem so male-dominated. I’m really grateful that she’s taken that desire, passion, rage maybe and put it to good use. Ruth’s legacy will affect not just the girls she’s working with now but it will multiply, it’s gonna
live on in the lives of other people and that and their children and on and on. One of the nice things about Ruth’s work is that she has built on other people’s
work I think it can be tempting for people to just say I’m gonna go found my
own nonprofit or what have you but she’s worked with existing organizations like
the Girl Scouts and the White House to use the structures that they’ve already
set up to accomplish the goals that she’s working toward. So CS For All is going
to be a success when it is normal for students to have access to computer
science when it’s a normal class when kids are like oh my gosh
I have my computer science homework but it should be part of school. That will be
her legacy that she’s been able to remind parents and kids and educators
and institutions that she’s been able to have this impact and change people’s
minds through data through research through the stories that she tells. I think that’s gonna be huge. Ruth I’m so proud of you I hope your time at Lewis & Clark propelled you to do these wonderful things congratulations. Ruth I would like to congratulate you on this award I think what you have done is
nothing short of astounding I when I think about all of your accomplishments
I am bowled over. Congratulations Ruth on this award you deserve it. I’m so proud of you you have brought so much information to folks. You’ve
inspired them you’ve given them opportunities, it has an impact on
girls, women and industry you inspire so many folks with the work you’ve done
you’ve given them these opportunities you’ve given people like me a chance to
help the next generation you made that difference thank you for that and also
thank you for being a girl who loves droids right? Right.

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