Overview

Overview

CAHSI's focus and direction are both aimed at furthering Hispanics in computing. Our practices; CS0, PLTL, ARG, Development Workshops, Lecture Series, Poster Sessions, and our Mentoring Initiatives  serve both faculty and students in the recruitment, retention, and advancement of both their academic and post-collegiate careers.

K-12

CAHSI ‘s efforts towards supporting a healthy pipeline through K-12 outreach have increased in various CAHSI Institutions. According to the CAHSI Evaluation Report 2014, all of the CAHSI schools participated in some form of outreach work that built on CAHSI initiatives, primarily CS0, to deliver computing content to K-12 audiences. Collaborations in conjunction with other organizations will be essential to continue make a big impact.

CSO

The CS0 effort focuses on adoption of pre-CS, a three-unit course that uses graphics and animation to engage and prepares students who have no prior experience in computing. Students are provided with an opportunity to learn the basics of programming concepts and to develop problem solving and systemic reasoning skills, while becoming familiar with a programming environment. Such CS0 courses can serve as a recruitment and motivational tool to attract students who are taking a computer science course as one of their science or general studies electives.

PLTL

PLTL utilizes student-driven discussion groups that engage six to eight students in learning key CS concepts under the guidance of a peer leader. A proven strategy for retention, PLTL provides an active learning experience for students and creates leadership roles for undergraduates. PLTL in “gatekeeper” courses aims to increase student retention in the major by providing near-peer role models to boost their confidence and knowledge. The evaluation of PLTL consisted of surveys distributed to all enrolled students and peer leaders to assess the impact of PLTL on students’ confidence, aspirations, and computing abilities. Overall, students have found the PLTL sessions to be fun, interesting, and helpful. Students gained confidence in their computing abilities through PLTL sessions. PLTL was also beneficial for the peer leaders themselves. Being a peer leader increased students’ communication, teaching, leadership, and interpersonal skills, and enhanced their disciplinary and conceptual knowledge. Hispanics had slightly better gains in skills than other peer leaders. Students’ experiences as peer leaders also increased their aspirations to have a computing career and, to a lesser extent, their aspirations to attend graduate school in computing. Peer leading had a more positive influence on the aspirations of women and Hispanics.

Affinity Research Group (ARG)

The Affinity Research Group (ARG) model emphasizes the development of student research skills and those required for cooperative work. The ARG model provides both undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to learn, use, and integrate the knowledge and skills that are required for research with those required for cooperative work. The existing course focuses on three fundamental aspects that have been identified to contribute to success of undergraduate research: research methods, experimentation and validation, and technical writing and presentations. The undergraduate research intervention addresses the causes associated with the retention and advancement of students into graduate school. It is well documented that undergraduate research experiences motivate students to pursue graduate studies, and it develops research skills that can help them to be successful in graduate studies. The ARG model incorporates mechanisms that address persistence, a critical characteristic for academic success. For example, it provides opportunities for faculty and students to interact outside the classroom; engages students as role models for each other; fosters a “student culture” in which students can interact with each other and discuss issues in a competent manner; helps students clarify and maintain goals; and involves students in their college-learning experience. Through experiences gained in research groups and research courses, students are connected with role models, students interact with faculty outside the classroom, students develop oral and written communication skills, and students hone their technical and research skills. As a result, they will be better qualified and motivated to pursue graduate studies.

FELLOW-NET

CAHSI views the opportunity for student fellowships and scholarships as a powerful resource in attracting quality students into graduate studies toward a doctorate. As awardees of highly competitive fellowships and scholarships, students have the advantage to be introduced to research early in their career so that they can become valued graduates for faculty positions once they obtain their Ph.D. Our strategy is to make students aware early in their studies about the essential elements of a successful packet for a competitive fellowship and to ensure that students engage in activities that ultimately improve the prospects of a successful outcome. The CAHSI Fellow-Net Workshop guides students on how to prepare competitive applications through hands-on activities and critical review of successful and unsuccessful fellowship packets. Students listen to testimonials from applicants who were successful. Through the support of the CAHSI Fellow-Net program, CAHSI students have successfully received awards from various fellowships from different agencies and organizations.

MENTOR-GRAD

Mentor-Grad is an initiative designed to engage undergraduates in experiences and activities that prepare them for success in graduate studies and onto the professoriate. This initiative follows the Fem Prof model, a collaborative initiative between the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez and the University of Houston - Downtown. Mentor-Grad provides the same benefits to students as ARG as well as college navigation. Originally, CAHSI started with 20 mentor-grad students among the CAHSI institutions and has dramatically increased to 150 students per year; not counting the students who do not attend our conferences.

Development Workshops

Development Workshops build on successful professional development workshops,  poster
sessions and lecture series.  The primary venues for the workshops will be at CAHSI annual meetings and other well established
conferences such as Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing and SACNAS. Topics to be
addressed include a description of the faculty search process, interview techniques, salary negotiations,
housing and other pertinent topics. The following targeted workshops will be conducted at a minimum of
five times per year in different venues:

  • The Doctoral Careers workshop addresses academic, government and industry opportunities that exist for Ph.D.’s in Computing. The focus is to highlight how the computing discipline is a serviceprofession that provides solutions to problems and challenges in many different domains.
  • The Financial Concerns workshop covers funding opportunities available to graduates and undergraduates. Scholarships, grants and loans are covered with the help of financial aid information. Graduate research assistantships and teaching assistantships are discussed.
  • The Industry Internships and Fellowships workshop discusses undergraduate and graduate internships that are available through the Inroads program and others that attempt to place students with companies who are very interested in finding Hispanic computing majors.
  • The Leadership workshop covers the meaning and significance of leadership, especially for Hispanics in computing sciences. Opportunities for leadership roles will be discussed.