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ACCEYSS Herstories Conference

The Counter-Life Herstories is one component of a larger National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER grant. The purpose of this five-year, longitudinal, mixed-methods investigation is to examine the effects of community cultural wealth (CCW) on the persistence of Black and Hispanic women in the computing workforce pipeline (grades 8-17) as they matriculate from middle school into high school, into a bachelor’s degree program, and into graduate school (i.e., master’s or Ph.D. degree) or the Computing workforce illuminating Black and Hispanic women’s successful computing pathways, and amplifying their counter-life herstories.


Counterstories give voice to marginalized people groups to counter the majoritarian perspective about their experiences (Closson, 2010), life histories are individuals’ retrospective accounts about their life stories (Watson & Watson-Franke, 1985), and herstories represent “the rewriting or respeaking of history” from a woman’s perspective (Mills, 1992). Counter-Life Herstories offer a powerful approach to reveal hidden truths about Black and Hispanic women’s computing educational trajectories and to provide a holistic view of their educational experiences in the broader socio-political context of U.S. computing education (Ashford-Hanserd, 2020a; Ashford, 2016; Cole & Knowles, 2001).


This project will:

  • Contribute to fundamental research in STEM education

  • Build a knowledge base on the influence of community cultural wealth on persistence in computing education and the workforce in the United States

  • Create a robust compilation of quantitative and qualitative data that can be used to study educational and career trajectories for women in computing.

  • Build capacity for K-16 educators, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders through the creation of products, professional development workshops, and an annual conference.

Get Involved

The annual Counter-Life Herstories Conference shares women of color’s narratives in a live, TEDx-style format with girls of color in grades 5-12 in Central Texas.

The purpose of this conference is to build an interdisciplinary team of education researchers, policymakers, and high-tech leaders in Central Texas to explore opportunities to investigate women’s diverse experiences in the STEM+Computing workforce in Central Texas.