Baldwin, Baldensperger recognized for female participation in AP computer class


Kenzie Hirt and Ethan Stock

When sophomore Addison Giglione took the mandatory Intro to Computer Science class as a freshman, she wasn’t thinking about taking other computer courses in the future. But with teacher Shantal Baldensperger’s encouragement, Giglione signed up for AP Computer Science Principles this year.

“I really liked the intro course and when I was taking it, Mrs. B told me I would do well in the AP class, so I decided to take it,” Giglione said.

Baldwin High School recently earned the College Board’s AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award, in part because of Baldensperger’s efforts to encourage girls to take the class.

“Mrs. B really inspires me to be a woman in the computer science field and it’s so amazing to see so many women in a field that was so male dominated only a few years ago,” Giglione said.

The College Board gave the award to 832 schools that had at least 50 percent female students among their AP Computer Science test-takers during the 2021-2022 school year.

Baldensperger said Baldwin students are fortunate to be in a district that offered so many computer science classes.

“I feel like the possibilities are endless with computer science and that being a part of that will help them be successful and send them down the right path,” Baldensperger said.

Giglione is also grateful for Baldensperger and her passion for having women join tech fields. Baldensperger “greatly inspires me because she is so good at what she does while also encouraging the rest of us to make our mark in the STEM world,” Giglione said.

The benefits of female students taking the AP Computer Science class are clear, according to the College Board. “Female students who take AP Computer Science are more likely to major in computer science in college compared with matched peers,” the College Board said.

Baldensperger agreed.

“Through diversifying computer science education, we are preparing our female students for the high-paying, in-demand jobs of the future and giving them the opportunity to help solve some of society’s most challenging problems,” Baldensperger said.

The experience Giglione has had in the class as well as with Baldensperger specifically has her considering a career in the field because “not only do I find interest in it, but I just find it fun in general.”

Junior Anya Podsobinksi said Baldensperger is a great leader because she is “a very understanding and thorough teacher who teaches very well.”

Podsobinski said she is glad that Baldensperger was able to carry this program so far and earn the recognition for the school. Giglione said the recognition is special for the students as well.

“I’m just glad to be a part of something so new for many girls, and getting to be a part of the reason for the award just makes me so happy,” Giglione said.