EL PASO, TX – The Computing Alliance of Hispanic Institutions (CAHSI), led by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), has received a US$4.8 million grant from Google to increase the number of Hispanic students entering and completing graduate programs in computer science.
The grant will also support efforts to strengthen research capacity among faculty and students at CAHSI institutions that align with Google’s research interests.
“Engaging people with different perspectives, experiences and interdisciplinary expertise in problem solving is a key factor in our nation’s ability to innovate and compete in a global economy,” said Ann Gates, CAHSI director, UTEP senior vice chancellor and principal investigator on the grant.
With support from the Google grant, CAHSI will work to improve diversity in computer science-related fields in collaboration with several partner universities, all of which are classified as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) by the U.S. Department of Education, including 10 that are also designated as R1 (very high research activity) by the Carnegie Classification.
Some of the initiatives to be funded by the Google grant include the design of research-focused laboratory and classroom activities that can be shared and implemented in computer science courses at all of the alliance institutions, financial support for Hispanic students who are in the final year of their doctoral studies, and the expansion of an existing program that promotes the participation of low-income, first-generation college students in research experiences.
The research team behind the grant expects that by the third year of the project, nearly 3,100 students and faculty members will have been exposed to one or more of its initiatives. In addition, they intend to guide dozens of Hispanic students into Ph.D. programs in computer science in that time frame.
The second objective of the grant is to create a framework for research collaboration among the alliance institutions. This work will align with Google’s research priorities related to improving machine learning and artificial intelligence models.
Additionally, the research collaboration component of the project includes an ideation workshop that will match research-intensive alliance members with non-doctoral partners; funding for projects that pair institutions of different research classifications, demonstrate potential for additional external support, and include opportunities for Hispanic students to work as research assistants; and credits for the use of Google Cloud Platform services such as networking, data warehousing, and analytics in support of research activities. The project is scheduled to begin in January 2023 and run for three years.