Director’s Manuscript Accepted by the ACM Special Interest Group on Management Information Systems 2019 Computers & People Research Conference

Dr. Kinnis Gosha, Culturally Relevant Computing Lab (CRCL) Director, manuscript submission titled, “Improving Computing Science Instruction for African American Secondary School Students: A Focus Group Exploration of Computing Identities of African American Teachers” was  accepted into the 2019 ACM SIGMIS Computers and People Research (CPR) Conference. This conference will be held June 20-22 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) on Management Information Systems (MIS) promotes best-practice and research in the management of information systems and technologies in management commerce. SIGMIS is a founder of ISWorld Net at www.isworld.org, and a sponsor of several conferences on information systems and technology. As one of the oldest of ACM’s SIG’s, SIGMIS traces its beginnings back to 1961, and for forty years has been instrumental in defining and developing the field of management and information systems.

The 2019 Human-Computer Interaction International Conference Research Acceptance

Researchers from the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab (CRCL) in the Computer Science Department at Morehouse College recently submitted an abstract titled, “Exploring the Needs and Preferences of Underrepresented Minority Students for an Intelligent Virtual Mentoring System” to the 2019 HCI International Conference. Their abstract was accepted as a poster for publication in the conference proceedings and presentation. The authors of this abstract are Naja A. Mack, Research Scientist; Earl W. Huff Research Scientist; Robert Cummings, Postbaccalaureate Researcher; and Dr. Kinnis Gosha, Hortenius I. Chenault Endowed Associate Professor and Director of Non-Traditional Academic Initiatives.

The HCI International 2019 is the 21st International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. It will take place July 26th-30th at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Orlando area, Florida, USA, under the auspices of 18 distinguished international boards.

Dr. Kinnis Gosha name Hortenius I. Chenault Endowed Professor

Dr. Kinnis Gosha was recently selected as the recipient of the Hortenius I. Chenault Endowed Professorship. He will hold the term appointed Chenault Endowed  Professor in Mathematics and Sciences. The purpose of this professorship is to provide salary support that will allow Dr. Gosha to enhance his research at Morehouse College. Dr. Gosha’s primary research interests include expanding computer science education, broadening participation in computing, green computing, and culturally relevant computing. Undergraduate researchers in his lab, the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab, investigate research problems centered on creating innovative computing technologies to solve cultural problems and issues. Applications of his research include robotics, avatars, and video games.

GVU Center Brown Bag: Kinnis Gosha, “Using Conversational Agents to Broaden Participation in Computing”

Dr. Kinnis Gosha  Director of the Culturally Relevant Computing  lab spoke at the University of Georgia Tech’s Graphic Visualization Usability (GVU)  Center’s Brown Bag Seminar. The discussion was on the topic of ways to broaden participation in computing.  Dr. Gosha introduced the concept of how conversational agents such as Siri and Alexa are already doing this in everyday households. However, these agents also provide a unique opportunity to provide mentoring and advisement to individuals in ways that cannot be accomplished by traditional human-to-human interactions. His presentation  provided details on multiple projects (in progress and completed) that leverage various types of conversational agents to address issues in the area of broadening participation in computing.

Culturally Relevant Computing Lab New Postdoctoral Research Hire

The Computer Science Department’s Culturally Relevant Computing Lab (CRCL)  announces the new addition to the CRCL research team, Dr. Aris Hall. Dr. Hall will be serving as a Postdoctoral Researcher, where she will assist with the Excellence in Research (EIR) Grant.  In addition to the EIR grant, Dr. Hall will work on research that focuses on HBCU students. Specifically, the two projects will focus on Black students interning in Silicon Valley and students in the Atlanta University Center who are fighting injustices through social media.

Dr. Hall has an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts and a Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration from Kentucky State University. She received a Master of Education degree with a focus in College Student Personnel from Clemson University. Aris also holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education. The foundation of her higher education career started as a National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Undergraduate Fellow and as a practitioner in Student Affairs and Higher Education.

Morehouse Computer Science Student Presenting at the  2019 Emerging Researchers National Conference

Leron Julian, a Morehouse Computer Science major, abstract, “Using SMS as an Interface For a Virtual Mentoring System,” was accepted for presentation during the 2019 Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in STEM February 21st through the 23rd in Washington DC.

Mr. Julian developed a tool to research SMS virtual conversational mentoring. The SMS conversational agent is constructed to be used as a virtual mentor, to mentor undergraduate computer science majors at a Historically Black College (HBCU) who are considering pursuing a graduate degree in computing. The study is designed to compare the effectiveness of the SMS conversational agent to the original conversational agent, an embodied conversational agent (ECA).

Culturally Relevant Computing Lab New Hire

Morehouse College is proud to announce and welcome Jennifer I. Baker as the new Project Manager for the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab (CRCL) in the Computer Science Department. Ms. Baker is responsible for making sure multiple programs and projects are completed on time and within budget, implementing a growth strategy for national recognition, and preparing grant proposals and reports.

Jennifer joins the CRCL team with a  Master of Business Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Arts Management from Oklahoma City University, and a Master of Arts with a major in Technical Communication from Texas State University.  Jennifer holds certifications in marketing, nonprofit management, and project management. Ms. Baker’s education and skills prepared her well for 30 years of experience in entrepreneurship, marketing, and nonprofit management. She has held executive-level roles in the arts, digital publishing, education, financial services, and real estate.

$1 Million Grant to Evaluate Virtual Mentoring for HBCU Undergraduates in Computer Science

Morehouse College and Alabama A&M University are collaborating on a research project to explore the use of chatbots to provide career mentoring for undergraduate computer science majors who are considering pursuing a graduate degree in computing (Award #1831964). The study will include participating students from ten different Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

African Americans with terminal degrees in computer science are scarce. However, HBCUs have a strong history of producing African American students who go on to get advanced degrees in computing. Research in this field will enable effective mentors in computer science to scale their best practices to a more significant percentage of undergraduate students at HBCUs.

The project will also fund the development of formal collaboration between Morehouse College and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). This groundbreaking program will allow the Principal Investigator, Dr. Kinnis Gosha, to serve as the thesis advisor for Masters students at Georgia Tech while trained as researchers at Morehouse College.

This project will investigate the barriers faced by African American students when deciding on pursuing advanced degrees in computing as well as how intelligent virtual mentors affect their decision. It will examine what the most effective way for an embodied conversational agent to interact with these specific group of students.

The findings from this study will be used to expand to other underrepresented groups to provide career mentoring for an assortment of science careers. Additionally, the conclusions of this research will help to build the research capacity at two HBCUs, Morehouse College and Alabama A&M University.

$300,000 to Morehouse College for Training Atlanta Public School Computer Science Teachers

Morehouse College Computer Science Department won a $299,621 National Science Foundation grant (Award #1837541) to prepare in-service high school teachers for teaching the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course, the Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC), with support from undergraduate computer science (CS) majors. The work leverages long-standing relationships between members of the Atlanta University Center Consortium (Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University), and the Atlanta Public Schools (APS).

APS predominantly serves and employs African American and other minority students and teachers. Likewise, the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) of the Atlanta University Center primarily serve minority undergraduate students. Through this unique model, minority in-service, high school teachers will receive BJC professional development and support from minority undergraduate CS students in teaching their majority-minority AP CSP classes. The undergraduates will serve both as teaching assistants for the new CS teachers and as role models for the students. In turn, minority APS students will receive rigorous CS instruction contextualized within their culture.

This project will study the effects of in-person undergraduate teaching assistants during PD for and implementation of the BJC curriculum within minority populations. It will examine the outcomes of these teaching assistant and teacher relationships, exploring changes in teachers' CS content knowledge, understanding of careers in computing, confidence in teaching CS, and success in recruiting and retaining students of color. Likewise, it will examine effects on the undergraduate student teaching assistants regarding the ability to provide instructional support, levels of civic engagement, CS content knowledge, and professional identity.

Morehouse College Awarded $1.5 Million for HBCU STEM Identity Research Center

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) has identified research in broadening participation in STEM as one of its priorities and is committed to funding innovative models and research to enhance the understanding of the barriers that hinder and factors that improve and increase our ability to broaden participation in STEM.

The project at Morehouse College has been designed to initiate the implementation of essential research that will set the foundation for the development of the theoretical model for resilient science identity formation. The project in collaboration with Virginia State University and several other other HBCU institutions is designed to strengthen education research capacity by implementing a comprehensive faculty development program.

The goal of the HBCU Identity Research Center for STEM (Award #1818458) is to establish the foundational tenets of the theoretical model for resilient science identity formation. The project will achieve this goal through:

  1. Research activities that will contribute to an increased knowledge base on science identity formation and other psychosocial constructs that promote the creation of a resilient identity and ultimately success and retention in STEM.
  2. Education activities that contribute to learning about the experiences and accomplishments of STEM education at HBCUs.
  3. Knowledge translation activities that will facilitate the development of an intellectual infrastructure to ensure mutually beneficial communication and collaboration between individuals to propagate ideas and discover new research opportunities in the science of broadening participation.
  4. Outreach activities to all stakeholders and the broader academic community to engage in project activities and to inform the higher education community.

The project will impact the research training and education of thousands of students, hundreds of faculty, and the academic community at large about the science of broadening participation in general and identity formation specifically.