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Hopper Conference Survey

Life as a Female Grad Student

Grace Hopper 2002 Conference Birds of a Feather Panel Survey

This survey will be used to provide more student viewpoints in the presentation "Life as a Female Graduate Student" for the Birds of a Feather panel at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2002.

The panel giving the presentation is composed of female graduate students in EE and CS at U.C. Berkeley. Your responses to this survey will help us broaden the base of opinions presented by the panel.

All replies will be anonymized before we even look at them. All information regarding your IP, user ID, etc, will not be passed from the cgi-script to us, though you may elect to tell use your name if you like.

Note that the questions with pull-down lists only allow you to select one answer, but the checkbox lists let you pick multiple answers.

For more information, contact Megan at mct@no.spam.cs.berkeley.edu.

Thank you!


  1. Your Age Range:

  2. Your Gender:

  3. Your Degree Goal:
  4. Your Educational Institution Location:

  5. Your Long-Term Goals: Where do you want to be in 20 years?
    Research University Professor
    Professor, Teaching-Focussed
    Industry Researcher
    Industry Product Development
    Government Researcher
    At a start-up
    In business management
    Home with family
    Getting another degree

  6. How many years have you been a graduate student?

  7. Roughly what is the focus of your department?

  8. Your Educational Institution:

  9. Your Educational Institution:

  10. Your Department Size, in Professors:

  11. Your Department Size, in Graduate Students:

  12. Is your primary research advisor male or female?

  13. Do you know your department's policy on maternity leave?

  14. Do you know your department's policy on paternity leave?

  15. Do you know your department's policy on handling childcare?

  16. Do you know your department's policy on sexual harassment?


  17. Could you describe some expectations you had before arriving at your graduate school? (For example, expectations regarding class workload, clear research direction, the advisor search, collaboration possibilities, research group/peer group support, time committment, housing, general lifestyle, etc.)

  18. Could you describe how these expectations changed after spending some time in grad school?

    The Undergraduate to Graduate Student Transition

  19. On a scale from 1-10, 1 being the easiest, how difficult was the transition to grad school?

  20. What was the hardest part?
    If "other", specify please:

  21. Why did you choose your current university?
    A particular professor
    Department Environment
    Other students
    Financial Aid
    Other, please specify

  22. Has it met your expectations?

  23. How long did it take you to get settled (oriented)?

  24. Please comment briefly on the difficulties you encountered entering grad school, how they were resolved, and what accommodations, if any, were made to help you adjust.

    For Returning Students

    If you have proceeded directly through school to your graduate program, please skip this question.

  25. Why did you return to school?:
    wanted an advanced degree
    more educational schooling for your job
    didn't want to work anymore
    trying to reenter the workforce
    Anything more to add?

    Finding a Research Advisor

  26. If you have a permanent research advisor, how many research advisors did you try before settling on your current advisor? (number includes your current advisor)

  27. Is your research advisor also a mentor for topics outside of research?

  28. Do you have a mentor for non-research topics who is not your research advisor?


  29. Are you happy in grad school?

  30. Have you ever thought about leaving grad school?

  31. If frequently, why did you decide to stay?
    Family encouragement
    Advisor encouragement
    Peer encouragement
    Friend encouragement
    No other option
    Resolved the problem
    Too stubborn to quit

  32. Anything more to add?

    Comfort Levels in School

  33. Have you felt uncomfortable because of the male to female ratio in graduate CS classes?

  34. Do you feel supported in your choice of major?

  35. Have you ever felt uncomfortable having a solo meeting with a research advisor for personal, non-academic reasons? (We are interested in cases involving any personal issues, not just those that are gender-related. We are not interested in situations of the type where you were uncomfortable because you hated having to confess you didn't finish a task you promised to complete, etc.)
    If yes, how did this affect your search for an advisor or relationship with your advisor?

  36. Do research group dynamics make you hesitate to voice your opinion at group meetings?

  37. What is the gender make-up of your research group?
  38. If it is not already, how do you think your group would interact differently if it were half female/half male?

    Student Social Groups

  39. Is there a general graduate student CS group/club at your institution?

  40. Is there a 'graduate women in CS' group at your institution?

  41. Are there other 'minority group in CS' groups at your institution? (i.e, African-American, Hispanic)

  42. Are there institutional means by which student groups can present requests for changes in policy, facilities, etc, to the department?

    Class Support

  43. How do you develop or join a study group within your interests? (especially if there is an age gap with your classmates)

  44. Do you use a tutor?
  45. If yes, how do you find a tutor for evenings or weekends? (especially if you work during the day)

    Relationship with Research Advisor

  46. Do you have a research advisor?

    If "No", skip to the next section.

  47. How often do you have unscheduled one-on-one's with your advisor?

  48. How often do you meet with your advisor in a scheduled one-on-one?

  49. If your advisor is male, would you feel more comfortable having a female advisor?
  50. If your advisor is female, would you feel more comfortable having a male advisor?

  51. When you voice your opinions or ideas in group meetings, how often are they received positively?

  52. How often does your research group have "fun events" that the group participates in? (i.e. bowling, paintball, hiking)

  53. What kind of role do you play in your research group?
    leader of a project or problem: have a junior grad student working with you or have an undergrad to help
    work with a post-doc/senior graduate student who manages and guides you
    work as an equal partner with the other students in your project
    you are the only one in the group working on the specific research problem

  54. How often does your research advisor come to you for advice or help on research you are working on?

  55. How often have you observed your research advisor go to anyone for advice on research?

    Sources of Mentorship

    The dictionary defines a mentor as a trusted counselor or guide. A mentor is generally an influential, experienced individual with whom you establish a personal relationship and who actively helps you reach your goals. But a mentor can also be anyone who you turn to for advice.

  56. In what order of frequency (most frequent [1] to least frequent [6]) do you turn to members of these groups for mentorship?
    Female professor
    Male professor
    Female staff (staff includes post docs, department secretary, etc.)
    Male staff
    Female grad student
    Male grad student

  57. In what order are people from these groups available to you for mentorship (most available [1] to least available [6])?
    Female professor
    Male professor
    Female staff (staff includes post docs, department secretary, etc.)
    Male staff
    Female grad student
    Male grad student

  58. In what order would you prefer to turn to people from these groups for mentorship given equal availability? (1 = most prefer, 6 = least)
    Female professor
    Male professor
    Female staff (staff includes post docs, department secretary, etc.)
    Male staff
    Female grad student
    Male grad student

  59. How many fellow students do you mentor from time to time (give academic advice to)?

    Female Role Models

  60. Do you have a female role model in your field of study?

  61. Do you interact with this person on a regular basis?

  62. Have you ever had a female professor(s) or advisor(s) in your field of study?

  63. If yes, how do you think the professor(s) or advisor(s) has affected your outlook?

  64. If no, how do you think your outlook would have been affected if you had been taught or advised by a female professor?

    General Questions

  65. What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in graduate school?

  66. What do you think will help female graduate students more in future?

  67. Why do you think graduate school is important for you?

  68. Is there anything else you'd like us to know?

    End of survey

    Purely optional information:

  69. Name:
  70. Email:
  71. School:
  72. Research Area:

Thank You!