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Grant from Ball Venture Fund Will Support 'Roadmap for Students of Color in Computing Program'

Grant from Ball Venture Fund Will Support 'Roadmap for Students of Color in Computing Program'

June 18, 2018

A $25,000 grant to DePauw University from the Ball Venture Fund Competition will fund "Roadmap for Students of Color in Computing Program," an initiative designed to improve access to computer science for traditionally underrepresented students.

The competition, sponsored by the Ball Brothers Foundation of Muncie and administered by Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI), is in its 20th year.  It aims to provide colleges with seed funds for innovative start-up projectsICI received 28 submissions from 21 member institutions this year; DePauw is one of five schools to be awarded a grant.

"DePauw’s $25,000 grant will address the severe under-representation of students of color in computing (SoCC) by widening the current institutional pipeline," notes ICI's announcement.  "Attaining near parity in the number of women and men majoring in computer science, as well as integrating insights from focus group work with students of color, will guide efforts to understand the importance of belonging in students’ persistence and success in computer science."

Gloria C. Townsend, professor of computer science, and Khadija J. Stewart, associate professor of computer science, co-wrote the successful grant application. The two professors piloted efforts to create a Students of Color in Computing group at DePauw. Their efforts resulted in collaborations with the University's Christian Center for Diversity and Inclusion and, with Mellon Foundation grant money, the development of student programs featuring alumni such as Marvin Flewellen '85, senior director of INVESCO. The program also facilitated an opportunity for a National Science Foundation-sponsored student summer research experience.

The Ball Venture grant will continue the Mellon project work and will create videos that spotlight both current students of color in computer science as well as DePauw alumni of color who work in the industry.

"I love the two themes that embed themselves in the Ball Venture grant process: stepping-stone progress and collaboration," states Dr. Townsend.ectower dusk

Dr. Stewart adds,"The ICI grant will allow us to build on our important work and show students windows of opportunity in a field that is ripe with opportunities for growth and success. Our goal is that every student in the department feels that they belong and have the support structure and tools to excel in computer science at DePauw and in every endeavor they pursue after graduating."

Independent Colleges of Indiana, Inc. is a nonprofit association that represents the state's 30 private nonprofit colleges and universities. For more information, click here.