The research paper entitled “Awareness and Readiness for Graduate School of African American Male Computer Science Students” was accepted into the 3rd Annual Conference for Research on Equity & Sustained Participation in Engineering, Computing, & Technology (RESPECT) hosted in February 2018 in Baltimore, MD. Congratulations to the authors Earl Huff Jr. and Dr. Kinnis Gosha on their achievement. The paper provided significant insight into African American computer science students’ confidence levels, academic and technical capabilities, limitations of assistance, and likelihood in pursuing graduate education. Below is the abstract:
“This paper investigates the preparedness, knowledge, and confidence of African American male undergraduate Computer Science students in applying to graduate school. Recent data has shown a gross underrepresentation of African Americans and other minority groups in computing and technology at the Masters and Doctoral levels. With a greater demand for diversity within the field of computing, it becomes more prevalent to find the causes for a lack of participation of such populations at the post-secondary level and find solutions to help increase the numbers. The study conducted looked at students’ knowledge and experience in conducting and presenting research as well as their academic capabilities and programming experience. The study also probed the students about their knowledge and confidence in applying to graduate school and if they feel their inner circle was sufficient in preparing to apply. Our findings from the survey revealed that although the participants appeared to meet the academic requirements and had some level of research experience, they indicated that they did not possess much knowledge about nor feel confident in their ability to get into a graduate program. Findings also showed that the students know of people they can seek out to learn about graduate school, but most of them do not hold a Ph.D. At the end of the paper, current practices that help to provide students with the knowledge, confidence, and ability to pursue graduate studies in computing are reviewed.”
The Culturally Relevant Computing Lab and Benjamin E. Mays High School were selected as one of the six partnerships to receive the Innovation Fund Tiny Grant for 2017, with the award received being $6998. The goal of the Innovation Fund Tiny Grant was to develop programs in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM). With this grant students will be provided mentors to help guide them through their virtual AP Computer Science courses. In addition to those students participating in the program, student enrolled in Georgia Virtual AP Computer Science and AP Computer Science Principles courses will also benefit from the Tiny Grant through tutoring and assistance.
The Culturally Relevant Computing Lab has been awarded a contract by Clarkson Aerospace, LLC to conduct research in the area of cybersecurity. The research will be conducted primarily by members of Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University Navy ROTC. The contract is set at $157,000 and runs for nine months. The research to be conducted will be in the area of social media data analysis and mining.
The NSF Funded Exploring Computing Careers Broadening Participation Research project is to develop a virtual career fair using embodied conversational agents (ECAs) that will engage students in career discussions and, if they have interests in computing, help inspire them to reach their potential in computing careers. A part of the rationale for this project is that many students are enrolled in high schools without any teacher or counselor who are truly knowledgeable about computing careers. Additionally, many students are not exposed to any underrepresented minorities in computing careers. Participating high school students will benefit by receiving up-to-date career information from computing professionals currently in the field via the ECAs. The expected outcomes for students interacting with the ECA via the ComputingCareersNow.org website is: 1) students are more likely to consider a career in computing, 2) students who considered a career in computing would be more interested in pursuing the career path and 3) students who want to pursue a career in computing can start investigating potential careers and what requirements are needed to achieve that career.
On October 3, 2017, members of the Culturally Relevant Computing (CRC) Lab at Morehouse College participated in a training workshop for LaTeX, a high tech document preparation system for technical and scientific documents. This system is free to users and is setting the standard for publication of scientific documents. Students were given an overview of the functionality and capabilities of the software, as well as offered an opportunity to answer any questions related to initiation of use. Some of the topics covered included: formatting mathematical equations; the addition of tables, figures, and pictures; overall document formatting, and how this all relates to basic coding.
The workshop was facilitated by Earl Huff, Jr., a PhD student in Human-Centered Computing at Clemson University, under the advisement of Dr. Kinnis Gosha. Mr. Huff’s research areas include Human-Computer Interaction, Artificial Intelligence, and Applied Machine Learning. As a part of the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab, Mr. Huff is afforded the opportunity to educate undergraduate students on technologies that will be of benefit to their academic growth, while supporting the vision of the lab.
Dr. Kinnis Gosha, the founder of the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab at Morehouse College, will serve as co-Principal Investigator of the Increasing Minority Presence within Academia through Continuous Training (Impact) grant. This $299,856 award, funded by the National Science Foundation, Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) program, is led by Georgia Institute of Technology, as a multi-institutional partnership. The focus of this project is to “impact the engineering faculty ecosystem by demonstrating a new method of support and engage diverse engineering faculty through retired and emeriti faculty who may have preceded them in their chosen field of study,” according to Dr. Comas Haynes of the Georgia Tech Research Institute.
This project also seeks to broaden participation in STEM through the acquisition of a greater understanding of direct communication (i.e. telephone calls, email, in-person meetings, etc.) versus the use of technology in the form of embodied conversational agents, and how they impact interactive experiences. These efforts provide an opportunity to open new possibilities for underrepresented minorities in the engineering and science fields.
Dr. Kinnis Gosha, an Assistant Professor and Director of the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab at Morehouse College, has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct a study on virtual mentorship and how it impacts underrepresented minority students in the computer science and engineering fields. This grant award is for $299,882 and will span a two-year period.
The central purpose of this research is to develop and evaluate a virtual mentoring system that uses a group of embodied conversational agents (i.e., think avatars) to mentor underrepresented doctoral students, majoring in engineering and computer science and who are pursuing a career as a college professor. This grant is also designed to provide guidance to minority students on the different paths available in the areas of engineering and computer science.
This grant is of great importance, as minority students are underrepresented in higher education in the United States, particularly in the areas of engineering and computer science. Because of this, opportunities for mentorship in the engineering and computer science disciplines will be less scarce for interested students. Research has shown that conversational agents used for mentoring have been effective in addressing this gap in support. The NSF award positions the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab to conduct research that can potentially transform the landscape of engineering and computer science, by providing the foundation and support needed to foster diversity through virtual mentorship.
The Culturally Relevant Computing Lab at Morehouse College congratulates Ernest Holmes on receiving the Georgia CIO Leadership Association (GCLA) Scholarship. Every year, the GCLA awards an outstanding student that exhibits an interest in computer information systems or business, excels academically, and is active in community outreach. This year, this honor is awarded to Mr. Holmes.
Ernest is currently a junior Computer Science major at Morehouse College, and maintains a 3.68 GPA. He has been a member of the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab, led by Dr. Kinnis Gosha, since his freshman year, and has worked as an intern at the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California the past two summers. He spends much of his free time participating in a number of community outreach activities that serve elementary, middle and high school students that have an interest in computer science.
The scholarship award will be presented during the GCLA CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards Ceremony, on November 15, 2017 at the Cobb Galleria Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Over 1,000 people from various organizations across the state are expected to be in attendance.
Members of Morehouse College’s Culturally Relevant Computing (CRC) Lab have received travel scholarships to attend the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, which will place September 20th-September 23rd in Atlanta, GA. Ernest Holmes, Kevin Womack, Nathan Harris, and Leron Julian were awarded the travel scholarships to attend the conference through support from the Institute for African- American Mentoring in Computing Sciences grant (NSF grant #1303156). Travel scholarships include conference registration, meals during the conference, and hotel accommodations.
The Tapia Conference brings together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to celebrate the diversity that exists in computing, connect with others with common backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities, and gender so as to create communities that extend beyond the conference, and obtain advice from and make contacts with computing leaders in academia and industry. The Tapia Conference has always been a premier venue to acknowledge, promote, and celebrate diversity in computing.
This is a great achievement for our lab members. Tapia Conference scholarship applications are extremely competitive and are reviewed by over 90 professional volunteers in computer science industry and academia. Congratulations to these students!
Culturally Relevant Computing Lab Director, Dr. Kinnis Gosha, and Google software engineers, developed a course for Morehouse students to learn Android Application programming, along with the Applied Computer Science(CS) content, and received hands-on experience in a for-credit class. The course, titled “Mobile App Development with Advanced Data Structures,”combined lecture, class discussion and in-class assignments targeted at learning Java, advanced data structures, ADS, and other basics for Android programming. The Applied CS classes ran for 75 minutes and were held twice a week for 16 weeks in the fall semester of 2016. These classes, the first at the university for mobile app development, filled up quickly due to the buzz around the collaboration with Google, and 11 out of 12 students successfully completed the course.
Applied CS content enabled students to understand, apply and implement advanced data types using a mobile application platform that more than two billion devices run on today. The application development skills received provide something tangible that could be used after graduation to create software, products and even companies. “A lot of these students get into computer science because they’re entrepreneurs and they need to understand the platform to generate revenue,” Dr. Gosha says. “Learning coding in a platform-specific environment is a great way to prepare them both for CS or software engineering challenges, and exposes them to processes, and workflows they will encounter when using any platform or system for actually making their code run.”