University of Wisconsin-Parkside Computer Science faculty members Ubaldo Quevedo and Derek Riley had an idea to improve retention and graduation of minority CS students. They proposed the establishment of an intensive 10-week summer research assistantship program for currently enrolled UW-Parkside minority undergraduates.
The Wisconsin Alliance for Minority Participation (WiscAMP) liked their idea enough to put money on it in the form of a grant. With the WiscAMP funding, selected students will be paid to contribute to cutting edge mobile device research in collaboration with UW-Parkside professors.
"Most students early in their studies have no experience or concept of research or [of] advanced software development," Quevedo's and Riley's grant proposal read. "Students are often overwhelmed by topics and expectations in upper-level courses and may transfer to non-STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors to cope with their inexperience."
The faculty members also noted many of UW-Parkside students work 20 or more hours a week to pay for school, hampering their ability to focus on their coursework.
"In our proposed assistantship program, select minority students, early in their studies, would be provided a stipend to perform cutting edge mobile device research with a UWP faculty member during 10 weeks of the summer," they wrote. "Not only will this program enable students to become more computationally literate, but it will enable them to gain confidence in their abilities and establish value and motivation for finishing their degrees."
Students' abilities and confidence would be further strengthened through collaborative training and workshops, they said. Participants will collaborate with their faculty mentors to write research papers and present their work at a regional conference.
"This proposed program," they wrote, "will assist WiscAMP to help achieve its goal of increasing the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded to minority students in the STEM fields by providing targeted students with a transformative, intensive research experience that will enable them to succeed in future computing courses and beyond."In congratulating Quevedo and Riley on their grant, UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford said, "I look forward to learning more about this program as you implement the grant. Thank you for your dedication to student success!"