The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a grant of $621,925 to Kean University to further develop a S-STEM Scholarship program aimed at increasing the number of underprivileged students completing undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Information Technology. The proposal, "Project ASK: Applying Student Knowledge for Success in CS and IT," was developed by Dr. Patricia Morreale and the project is under her direction. Drs. Jack Ryder, Juan J. Li, Jing- Chiou Liou, and Miguel A. Mosteiro are co-PIs.
40 students comprise the initial ASK cohort. Each will be awarded a scholarship of $7,000 annually for two years. The program’s objectives include providing undergraduate research opportunities and professional development opportunities as well as facilitating department-wide retention goals.
The acronym ASK (applying student knowledge) alludes to the program’s application of student insights to problem-solving, teamwork and leadership. These tactics align with recent research in the field of computer science regarding educational impact and retention, particularly for minorities, women and first-generation students.
As a researcher and educator Dr. Morreale feels a personal responsibility to provide meaningful CS education opportunities for her students. “Educators are the first point of contact on the road to technology professions and success in the future.” Observing how technology has and will continue to define our time she noted, "the 21st century is all about technology transforming our lives-how we learn, interact, heal, and communicate. Individuals without access to CS and IT opportunities will not be able to engage in the future as fully as others with access.”
ASK Scholars will participate in weekly workshops and group experiences. They will closely interact with the PI, co-PIs and other faculty members, who will provide academic advising, general guidance, teamwork, leadership, professional and research experience. The program will provide a strong foundation for intellectual development and continued education. “ASK will identify and prepare Kean undergraduates for full participation in tomorrow's society,” said Morrealle