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Funding Will Help Spelman College Continue to Prepare the Next Generation of Computer Scientists Share a Spelman College Press Release


(ATLANTA) While other science disciplines have long been considered part of the core for K-12 curriculum, computer science is often left out.  Without exposure to computing topics, high school graduates may never consider computing related degrees or careers.

Through the $1,064,500 funding from the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition, including an $160,000 addition from the Intel Foundation at Intel Corporation, Dr. Hill and the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Spelman College will implement Computer Science (CS) Challenge, a multi-faceted Computer Science Preparation program that not only provides financial support to scholars, but also provides awareness of the field of study and its benefits and opportunities; improved preparation for the Class of 2025 computer science students, a pre-Freshman bridge for students interested in computing (per support by Intel), and opportunities for hands-on engagement to reinforce learning outcomes and to stimulate engagement and retention. The project elements include the following: (1) increased outreach and recruitment to elevate awareness of opportunities in the field; (2) development of algorithmic thinking; (3) education in the technical and human/societal aspects of computing; (4) opportunities for students to apply knowledge outside of the traditional classroom setting; (5) career awareness/preparation; (6) faculty and peer mentoring, and (7) scholarships to support the Class of 2025. CS Challenge is designed to help increase the number of women who graduate prepared to enter careers in computer science. 

“At a time where Black women comprise less than 3 percent of the technology workforce, we recognize the unique role HBCUs like Spelman College play in shaping, supporting, and encouraging Black technology graduates for life beyond college,” said Dwana Franklin-Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Reboot Representation. “This is our largest grant yet, and we are excited to work with the Spelman team on investing in Black women’s success, nurturing community participation, and broadening access to computing education.”

According to recent statistics, only 25 percent of tech graduates are women, with a dropout rate of 37 % for tech classes as compared to 30 % for other programs. If this trend continues, the number of underrepresented women of color receiving computing degrees will not double over today’s numbers until 2052—by which time they will represent a vanishingly small proportion of all graduates.

In line with their commitment to expand STEM education through supporting innovative programs, Intel Corporation, an Executive Member of the Reboot Representation Tech Coalition, has made an additional gift to Spelman College directed to the CS Challenge initiative to create a Pre-Freshman Summer Bridge Program for students interested in computing. “Intel is thrilled to join forces with Reboot Representation to provide aspiring brilliant minds entering Spelman the opportunity to participate in the Computer Science (CS) Challenge Summer Bridge Program. As a Spelman Alumna, I am especially proud of Intel’s investment in enrichment programs, like CS Challenge, to increase the number of women pursuing careers in STEM. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the CS Challenge participants – I know it’s bright”, said Pia Wilson-Body, President, Intel Foundation at Intel Corporation.

The Reboot Representation Tech Coalition is currently 22 members strong. Since their founding in 2018, over 261 million dollars have been committed to Black, Latina, and Native American women in computing, including pooled contributions of 12 million dollars regranted by Reboot. Black, Latina, and Native American women represent approximately 16 percent of the total US population, yet they make up only 4 percent of students obtaining Bachelor's degrees in computing.


About Reboot Representation
Reboot Representation Tech Coalition is a group of 22 leading tech companies that are committed to doubling the number of Black, Latinx, and Native American women receiving computing degrees by 2025. The Coalition works to achieve that goal through targeted, philanthropic investments in the often overlooked programs and institutions that make education and careers in computing more equitable for underrepresented women of color.

About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a leading liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, the College’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Spelman is the country's leading producer of Black women who complete Ph.D.s in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The College’s status is confirmed by U.S. News & World Report, which ranked Spelman No. 54 among all liberal arts colleges, No. 24 for undergraduate teaching, No. 4 for social mobility among liberal arts colleges, and No. 1 for the 15th year among historically Black colleges and universities. The Wall Street Journal ranked the College No. 3, nationally, in terms of student satisfaction. Recent initiatives include a designation by the Department of Defense as a Center of Excellence for Minority Women in STEM, a Gender and Sexuality Studies Institute, the first endowed queer studies chair at an HBCU, and a program to increase the number of Black women Ph.D.s in economics. New majors have been added, including documentary filmmaking and photography, and collaborations have been established with Johns Hopkins through the Vivian Thomas Scholars, IBM HBCU Center for Quantum Computing,  the Broad Institute and the Army Research Lab for artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Outstanding alumnae include Children’s Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman, Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind Brewer, political leader Stacey Abrams, former Acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna president Audrey Forbes Manley, actress and producer Latanya Richardson Jackson, global bioinformatics geneticist Janina Jeff and authors Pearl Cleage and Tayari Jones.

To learn more, please visit spelman.edu and @spelmancollege on social media.
 

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