We care deeply about the pipeline of new students and talent making their way into informatics and the computing field more broadly. This is why we engage in a variety of outreach activities on a regular basis.

It is also why one of our faculty members, professor Debra Richardson, volunteers as chair of the Advisory Council of the Association for Computing Machinery‘s Computer Science Teachers Association, which provides opportunities for K-12 teachers and students to better understand the computing disciplines and to more successfully prepare themselves to teach and learn.

And, it is why we actively engage with the Office of Access & Inclusion, which is operated jointly by the Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering, to develop new outreach partnerships.

Some examples of the results of these efforts:

  • We host the local incarnation of Girls Make Games, a camp designed to inspire high school girls to become the next generation of designers, creators and engineers.
  • Our undergraduates serve as mentors in the annual AppJam+, a program to excite middle school students about STEM fields by teaching them the creative and hands on technical process of mobile app development.
  • Supported by a National Science Foundation grant titled “Linking Native Culture to Computer Game Culture,” over 100 Native American high school students have participated in a two week on-campus program focused on computer skills and retelling cultural traditions using game technology.
  • We are the location of the Southern California NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Award ceremony, which recognizes young women from high schools in the LA/OC area for their computing-related achievements and interests.
  • Each summer, we co-host one or more AspireIT outreach programs designed by Aspirations in Computing Award recipients, giving middle school girls a hands-on, inspiring introduction to technology delivered by young women just a few years ahead of them in the pipeline.
  • With Girls Inc. of Orange County, we have been involved with their highly successful Eureka! program for many years, including hosting their new Dance Robotics Camp, where high school girls choreograph a dance routine and learn to program a humanoid robot to dance the moves.
  • Each summer, students from the Brea Olinda Global IT Academy visit us for a day or two of interaction with our faculty and students, learning about new and exciting technologies and experiencing in person what life at a university is like.
  • Technology in the Workplace is a program through which we – together with Tiwahe Technology – serve about 70 students a year across seven school districts in Orange County and Los Angeles County, teaching students in transition programs (students with disabilities and other barriers to employment who are leaving the public school system) to use mobile devices to gain and retain employment.

An AppJam+ student demonstrates her team’s project to one of the judges.