Florida A&M University's Computer Information Sciences (CIS) Program has been awarded a $552,000 National Science Foundation grant to recruit minority women to computer science and information technology fields. "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," says CIS professor Jason T. Black. "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 grant will go to the African-American Women in Computing Science (AAWCS) program, which is a four-year program that provides scholarship and other forms of assistance to women interested in computer science or information technology. AAWCS directly addresses the insufficient number of minority women, particularly African-American women, in degree programs in computer science and IT. AAWCS accepts program participants based on financial need, and awards scholarships between $3,000 and $5,000 per semester. Program participants are also involved in CIS departmental clubs and organizations, including the ACM, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the CIS Mentoring Organization. Selected AAWCS scholars are also chosen to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and the National Conference of Women in Information Technology.
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