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$10M Grant Will Help Increase Hispanics in Computing

October 18, 2018

UC Merced is part of a consortium of more than 40 institutions and organizations from the public and private sectors at the forefront of a national effort to increase the number of Hispanic students who participate in computing.

The National Science Foundation’s Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) program is a comprehensive effort to enhance U.S. leadership in science and engineering discovery and innovation by proactively seeking and effectively developing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent from all sectors and groups.

“We’re delighted to be part of one of the first five alliances across the nation tasked by NSF to develop similar techniques and methods across a number of institutions, and then share what’s working and what isn’t,” UC Merced Graduate Division Dean Marjorie Zatz said. “Collective impact is central to the INCLUDES program.”

The work, led by Professor Ann Gates, chair of the University of Texas El Paso’s Department of Computer Science, will be supported by a grant worth nearly $10 million from NSF. Gates is one of a number of collaborators from UTEP who work with counterparts at other institutions and organizations — including UC Merced — to make up the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI).

The alliance’s vision is to ensure Hispanics comprise 20 percent of graduates in computing disciplines, nationally, by 2030.

CAHSI’s goals align with the five characteristics of an INCLUDES Alliance Program for achieving impact and fostering collaboration – vision, partnerships, goals and metrics, leadership and communication, and the potential for expansion, sustainability and scale. The national alliance will establish regional hubs throughout the country that will incorporate diverse stakeholders from two-year colleges, four-year universities, K-12 stakeholders, nonprofits, industry and governmental agencies, as well as students, faculty and staff who work with students in computing fields.

UTEP will work to organize support systems within these hubs – which include collaborators in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Puerto Rico and Texas – that can address major issues with students and help them succeed in computing. Zatz leads the Northern California portion of the alliance, which includes California State University Fresno and Stanislaus, San Francisco State, Merced College and UC Merced.