California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) is a partner campus on three National Science Foundation (NSF) grants totaling $2.5 million to continue its success in increasing the number of Hispanic and other underserved students studying computer science.
The lead grant is a five-year, $2 million Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) award. CAHSI is composed of more than 10 member institutions: CSUDH; Florida International University; New Mexico State University; Texas A&M-Corpus Christi; University of Houston-Downtown; University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez; and the University of Texas at El Paso.
“We have developed several initiatives through CASHI over the years, such as introductory computing courses, and a peer-led team learning activity, which is a student-to-students learning session,” said Mohsen Beheshti, professor and chair of CSUDH’s Computer Science Department. “We have also developed an Affinity Research Group (ARG) program in which students get involved in research and other initiatives that benefit graduate students. It’s been very successful.”
The second award is the $300,000 “NSF INCLUDES” grant, “Building upon CAHSI’s Success to Establish a Networked Community for Broadening Participation of Hispanics in Graduate Studies.”
This grant intends to target and re-engage students at Hispanic serving institutions (HSIs) who have not continued on educational paths in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM), particularly community college transfer students who choose a different major at the university level, or those moving on to graduate school. The grant also brings UC Merced and Hewlett-Packard from the private sector into the alliance.
The third award is another NSF INCLUDES grant: “Conference to Advance the Collective Impact of Retention and Continuation Strategies for Hispanics and Other Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Fields.” The $200,000 grant will enable the alliance to bring together researchers, educators, industry representatives, members of professional societies, and others in a series of conferences that will include virtual meetings of industry professionals that will take place before and during the conference. The first conference will take place Jan. 11-12 in Palo Alto.
“The conference will bring additional institutions together to learn more about CASHI and see the work we are doing [in our alliance], while promoting activities that we plan to, including the creation of STEM events,” said Beheshti. “It will be an exciting event.”