Renee Fall, project manager of the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE) in Computer Science, with Paula Rees, director of diversity programs at the College of Engineering, recently attended the two-day 2012 Google Roots in Science and Engineering (RISE) Global Summit at its offices in New York City, where they took part in activities with representatives from 26 other winning institutions from around the world.
They had collaborated on a $20,000 winning proposal, “Career Day and Middle School Outreach” to Google, aimed at enhancing Women in Engineering & Computing Career Day set for Oct. 29 on campus and for developing an after-school program for middle school youth.
Fall says, “This is the first time Google has held a summit for the awardees, and we were thrilled to be a part of this gathering of providers of cutting-edge programs from all over the world.”
Rees notes, “Google organized a thoughtful and inspiring summit. We had time to think creatively about STEM outreach and learn how educators from Dublin to Portland to Nairobi are introducing students to computing in meaningful ways. Google is deeply committed to computer science education—it was evident in every session.”
The grant will allow Fall, Rees and colleagues to expand the career day, a major recruiting activity for high school girls, and to develop outreach activities for middle school students from high-need districts in western Massachusetts. Career Day will enlist engineering and computer science students to provide more than 200 high school girls with role models and bring them fun computing activities and useful career information. The project will also reach 100 diverse middle-school students in an afterschool program where they create “e-textiles,” interactive crafts that teach design and programming. Holyoke Boys and Girls Club and the North Side Community Center in Springfield are partner sites for the afterschool program, slated to begin in October.
Google uses the RISE program as part of its mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. “Sharing with the world information about computer science and STEM outreach is undoubtedly part of this mission,” the company notes. Awards are designed to promote and support Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and Computer Science (CS) education with one-time awards that range from $5,000 to $25,000.
Image: Renee Fall (left) and Paula Rees