MiraCosta College Community Learning Center. Photo via miracosta.edu
MiraCosta College has partnered with UC Irvine to open more doors to careers in the computer science industry. This was announced as part of an ongoing effort to increase the number of women and color school students pursuing careers related to STEM.
The Ways to Do Math for Women in Color partnership aims to increase the number of women in color pursuing a bachelor’s degree in computers by providing them with access to professional mentors, industry travel, academic success workshops, conference funding and a small scholarship .
Both schools will also further explore transfer agreements that address the needs of women with color on the computer.
“It opens the door to more of our students not only to be accepted into the UC Irvine program but also to mentor MiraCosta College students,” said Nery Chapeton-Lamas, chairman of the computer science department at MiraCosta College.
Women make up less than 18% of those who earn a bachelor’s degree in computers, according to the National Science Foundation, and the Integrated Education Data System reports that only 8.4% of all bachelor’s degrees in computers went to Latino students.
MiraCosta College is trying to reverse this trend, where more than 60% of computer science students are from color communities and 24.6% are female.
“A large part of our time, perhaps a large part of our time, is spent in virtual worlds. It is therefore imperative to develop spaces that are representative of our community, ”said computer science professor Michael Paulding. “A cultural shift is needed to ensure that this technology is not relegated to part of the population.”
MiraCosta is in the midst of a three-year, California Education Learning Lab-funded program with Cal State San Marcos that seeks to fill equity gaps in STEM subjects – including by redesigning introductory courses in computer science majors make their decision to do so .
MiraCosta College Alumna and UC Irvine Junior Yocelyne Mercedes Hernandez said such initiatives are critical to opening doors and diversifying the industry.
“There has to be a way in which girls and women, especially women of the same skin color, can pursue their goals in computer science,” she said. “More needs to be done to ensure we help empower our own communities so that they can become mentors and leaders in technology.”
Hernandez was involved with MiraCosta College, which supports Chicanx and Latinx at the Exploring STEM Club, and serves as a tutor at the MiraCosta College STEM Center. Friends of the MiraCosta Computer Science Club introduced her to a research study program sponsored by the National Science Foundation at UCI, which prompted her to apply to the university.
“It was important to have connections on campus,” said Hernandez, who after earning a master’s degree and perhaps a doctorate, wants to teach computer science at MiraCosta about the opportunities there are. “
MiraCosta College students interested in joining the UCI partnership community can apply by June 1st at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeKj3qtTnVXRZNwTX-7oo9Iyv- GU_5n00cxfIKcNJCUAndZkQ / viewform.
–City news service