Friday, June 12, 2009

$598,000 grant will aid minorities in SXU computer programs

Program will use National Science Foundation grant to improve student retention

Chicago (June 12, 2009) Saint Xavier University recently received a $598,000 grant to assist students majoring in computer science and computer studies. The money will target students traditionally underrepresented in the computing field, such as women, African-Americans, Hispanics and disabled people.

The National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program grant will provide financial, academic and career-planning assistance to a diverse group of twenty-five economically disadvantaged, academically promising students each year for four years.

“Millions of qualified and creative individuals are missing out on opportunities for intellectually and financially rewarding careers,” said Saint Xavier Computer Science Professor Florence Appel, D.A. “Furthermore, if the computing industry lacks diversity in gender and culture, it lacks the perspective necessary to develop products that serve diverse populations.”

Appel, who wrote the grant with assistance from Computer Science Professor Jean Mehta, D.A., and Director of Career Services Jean Riordan, has received more than $1 million in NSF grant money since 2004. Appel will direct the program with Mehta and Riordan serving as co-directors.

Appel said the program aims to encourage academic success, increase retention through graduation and employment or graduate school placement in the computing field.

Additionally, the program will create a strong, viable learning community known as CS@SXU to support the students. CS@SXU offers mentoring, seminars, comprehensive career-planning, tutoring, internships, service learning, research, conference attendance and social gatherings.

For more information about the program, please contact Asst. Director of Media Relations Rick Ducat at (773) 298-3325.


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