St. Mary's Academy (Downtown)
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News Release
St. Mary's Academy Earns AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award - 02/05/24

Portland, Ore – St. Mary’s Academy (SMA), an all-girls, Catholic high school in Portland, Oregon, earned the College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A (CSA). Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP computer science courses. CSA students learn to design and implement computer programs that solve problems relevant to today’s society. St. Mary’s is one of only 225 schools to receive the CSA Female Diversity award this year.

For Principal, Liane Rae, the role of STEM at SMA is imperative. One key evolution during her tenure, the requirement of a Computer Science course for all freshman – allowing them to be engaged in STEM earlier in their high school career. Rae believes that “the lessons learned in STEM classes can elevate the learnings in any field. We are proud to introduce Computer Science to all our freshman, and we are seeing an increased interest in Computer Science classes later in their time at SMA.”

At St. Mary’s Academy, students are continually asked to set the pace inside and outside of the classroom. According to Vice Principal of Academics, Ellie Gilbert, “What makes the SMA Computer Science department special is the same thing that makes SMA special. It is a result of deep, intentional focus on opening doors for young women and teaching them how to walk through.” Through these offerings, young women are given the opportunity to explore a field and courses that are traditionally male dominated. 

“Computer science is the source code of our economy and much of the career landscape,” said Trevor Packer, Head of the AP Program. “In the six years since we began the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award, it’s been heartening to see schools like St. Mary’s Academy welcome so many more young women into this vital field.” 

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At St. Mary's Academy, We Believe.
Located in the University District of Portland, OR, St. Mary's Academy is the state's oldest continuously operating school and only all-girls school. Founded in 1859 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, St. Mary's Academy serves over 600 young women in grades 9-12. The school's college acceptance rate is 100% and SMA students achieve, excel, and are recognized locally, regionally and nationally in academic fields, leadership, STEM, the arts, athletics, community service and extra- and co-curricular activities. To learn more, please visit www.stmaryspdx.org