Even with STEM fields coming to the forefront of educational opportunities in recent years, Stetson’s Computer Science program has seen a lack of diversity in the program and the field in general.
To expand diversity, more women and students of color are actively being recruited for the program, according to a university news release.
And, thanks to funding opportunities provided by the Nina B. Hollis Institute for Educational Reform, Stetson’s Department of Math and Computer Science will offer scholarships to science camp for youth who are academically talented, but historically under-represented in the computer science and STEM fields. Hopefully it will bring more diversity to incoming freshmen classes in the near future, said Dr. Joshua Eckroth, Stetson assistant professor of computer science.
The scholarships are part of a research project funded through the Hollis Institute, which celebrated Dr. Eckroth’s grant and four others at a reception in the Rinker Welcome Center Dec. 10, according to the news release.
“The dominance of white males in computer science and STEM fields has been a trend for decades,” the Computer Science Camp proposal stated. “This grant focuses on closing the opportunity gap that affects so many under-represented and privileged children.”
The Nina B. Hollis Research Impact Awards provide a maximum of $10,000 a year for up to three years to Stetson research projects that explore ways to improve P-12 educational outcomes for youth who are marginalized in society.
The institute serves as a catalyst to positively impact K-12 education through inquiry, research, evaluation and professional practice. The institute works collaboratively with educators, families, businesses, universities and policymakers for the advancement of teaching and learning, according to information provided by the institute.
In addition to the STEM camp, funding also was awarded to the Stetson Ethics Education Development program.
“The SEED program in the School of Business Administration will address a crucial issue by introducing high school students to business ethics and moral decision-making,” said Dr. John Tichenor, associate professor of management and one of the project researchers. “The future leaders will examine the ethical implications of business and how leadership impacts society as a whole. The project will utilize undergraduate college students to deliver the program, furthering their understanding of this critical issue. Having ethical leaders will foster a more ethical treatment of those less fortunate.”
Other projects that received funding included the Instruments of Healing in the School of Music; The McInnis Garden-Based Learning Project from the College of Arts and Sciences; and the Florida “School to School” Pipeline project at Stetson College of Law in Gulfport.