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Iowa Schools Encourage Girls in STEM

Schools in Iowa are encouraging girls to take science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses, particularly computer science classes, the Associated Press reports.

"Computer science has been and is still a male-dominated field," Jason Plourde, director of secondary education at Council Bluffs, Iowa, schools tells the AP, adding that they are trying to change the balance.

The schools are offering middle-school level courses called "exploratories" to introduce students earlier on to computer science and pique their interest. Because of this earlier introduction, the teachers say that more girls are signing up for the classes. Computer science teacher Denise Hoag also offers a summer technology course for girls and has taken female high school students to a STEM conference held at Iowa State University each year.

"Having a female role model as a teacher has been a positive step in the right direction," Plourde says