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On Campus


Scholarship Opportunity: CIS Program Seeks to Close the Gap
By USBE
Apr 3, 2009, 03:53

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The Florida A&M University (FAMU) Computer Information Sciences (CIS) Program, housed in the College of Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant valued at $552,000 dedicated to recruiting minority women to computer science and information technology disciplines.

"The numbers are staggering," said Jason T. Black, Ph. D., assistant professor in CIS. "The latest data shows that out of all U.S. entering freshmen declaring a major in computer science, African-American women made up only 3.3 percent. The fact is that women are not choosing technology, and this is a dangerous predicament. When you couple that with the fact that it is estimated that 75 percent of all jobs by the year 2020 will require a technology background, it becomes a crisis call."

The program, entitled African-American Women in Computer Science (AAWCS), is a four-year program that provides scholarships and other assistance to women who express a financial need and an interest in computer science or information technology.

AAWCS, created by Black, also the principal investigator for the program, and Edward L. Jones, Ph. D., chair of the CIS program, will directly address the dismal number of minority women, particularly African-American women that pursue degrees in computer science or information technology.

Women who apply to AAWCS will be accepted based on financial need, and will be awarded a scholarship of between $3,000 and $5,000 per semester. In addition to the funding, the women will participate in CIS departmental clubs and organizations, such as the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Club, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the CIS Mentoring Organization (CISMO).  AAWCS scholars will also be involved in other STEM programs, such as the Florida/Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (FGLSAMP) scholarship program, and the Students and Technology in Academia, Research and Service (STARS) Alliance, both NSF-funded programs.

An added benefit to the students is the conference participation, where selected AAWCS scholars will be chosen to attend two national conferences, paid for by the grant, each year, such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and the National Conference of Women in Information Technology (NCWIT).

The AAWCS program begins operation on July 1 and will run until June 30, 2012. Applications for the program can be requested by contacting Black (email) or by telephone (850) 412-7354.

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Dr. Jason Black is the Principal Investigator of a recently awarded $552,000 NSF Grant entitled African-American Women in Computer Science. The grant provides scholarships from $4000 to $10,000 per year for female African American students.

We need your help to get the word out about this great opportunity to build back up the enrollment of women in the CIS Department. Pass this information along to high school or community college students, their parents, and to guidance counselors you may know. 

The AAWCS program begins operation on July 1 and will run until June 30, 2012. For more information about the program and applications for the program can be requested by contacting Dr. Black (email), or by telephone at (850) 412-7354.

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Black technology entrepreneurs are increasingly providing the horsepower that drives the global economy. Over the last two decades, black entrepreneurs have created more jobs, and contributed much more to the economic expansion of the Black community as a whole, than any black pastor or politician. Black entrepreneurs are taking risks and building businesses that generate economic growth and increase prosperity in underserved areas, as more minority-owned and minority-focused businesses emerge, willing to serve the financial needs of Black entrepreneurs. US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine's annual list of Top Black Technology Entrepreneurs reflects the expanding scope of leading Black entrepreneurs in information technology, homeland security, and defense.