Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Pennsylvania News Nuggets

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Pennsylvania News Nuggets

Article excerpt

Colleges and universities in the state are reaching out to minorities and women, bringing them into science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon and six other universities have joined forces with eight historically Black colleges and universities to create the Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact (ARTSI) Alliance in efforts to promote robotics and computer science education for African-American students. ARTSI, funded by a three-year, $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation, will encourage Black students to pursue computer science and robotics, starting as early as elementary school and continuing their support with mentoring programs during students' undergraduate years. African-Americans hold 4.8 percent of 2 million U.S. computer science and information technology jobs, a category the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts will be one of the fastest-growing fields in the next decade.

King's College: Luzerne County, where King's College is located, saw the largest percentage increase in Hispanics anywhere in the United States for Hispanic populations larger than 10,000 between July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. With a growing population to serve, longtime educator Isabel Balsamo decided to start the McGowan Hispanic Outreach Program, which is working with three local high schools to better prepare Latino students for college. The program targets second-semester high school sophomores, who attend weekly after-school sessions and a summer enrichment program on campus, among other activities. Of the 15 who inaugurated the program in spring 2007, eight graduated from high school and went on to college. Two attend King's College, and one received a full scholarship.

University of Pittsburgh: The university's Swanson School of Engineering aggressively recruits and retains minority, women and economically disadvantaged students for its program. The Office of Diversity within the school runs three programs, including the Pitt Engineering Career Access Program (PECAP) for pre-college and undergraduate students. Students can enroll in PECAP's pre-college program, called INVESTING NOW, as early as eighth grade. Building model dams and designing Web sites are among the hands-on engineering activities students undertake. They also receive tutoring and college-planning advice and take five-week summer session classes at the university. The goal of PECAP's undergraduate program, Pitt EXCEL, is to retain under-represented minority students. …

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