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UTEP-led Alliance Receives $4.8M from Google to Increase Hispanic Participation in Computing Research

Project will create pathways to graduate studies, academia and industry

EL PASO, Texas (Dec. 15, 2022) - The Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI), which The University of Texas at El Paso leads, received a $4.8 million grant from Google to increase the number of Hispanic students who enter and complete graduate programs in computing.

UTEP's Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) received a $4.8 million grant from Google to increase the number of Hispanic students who enter and complete graduate programs in computing.
UTEP's Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) received a $4.8 million grant from Google to increase the number of Hispanic students who enter and complete graduate programs in computing.

The grant also will support efforts to bolster research capacity among faculty and students at CAHSI institutions that align with Google’s research interests.

“Involving people with different perspectives, experiences and interdisciplinary knowledge in solving problems is a key factor in our nation’s ability to innovate and compete in a global economy,” said Ann Gates, Ph.D., CAHSI director, UTEP senior vice provost and the grant’s principal investigator. “I am grateful to Google for this generous gift, which represents a recognition of the effectiveness of CAHSI’s ongoing work to attract, prepare and support Hispanic students in their pursuit of graduate degrees.”

With support from the Google grant, CAHSI will work to improve diversity in computer science-related fields in collaboration with several partner colleges and universities, all of which are classified as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education, including 10 that are also designated as R1 (very high research activity) by the Carnegie Classification. 

“Together, we share a belief that computer science research has broad implications for billions of people – which is why it’s so important that researchers doing this work represent the experiences, perspectives and concerns of people all around the world,” said Sepi Hejazi Moghadam, Ph.D., with University Relations at Google. “This exciting commitment will deepen our existing collaboration by building research capacity for faculty and Hispanic students, and foster research collaborations between CAHSI faculty and researchers at Google.”

Some of the initiatives the Google grant will fund include the design of research-focused lab and in-class activities that can be shared and implemented in computer science courses across alliance institutions, financial support for Hispanic students who are in the final year of their doctoral studies, and the expansion of an existing program that promotes the participation of first-generation, low-income undergraduate students in research experiences.

The research team behind the grant expects that by the third year of the project, nearly 3,100 students and faculty members will have been exposed to one or more of its initiatives. Moreover, they aim to guide dozens of Hispanic students into doctoral programs in computing within that time frame.

“Computing is the least diverse field of all STEM disciplines,” Gates said. “This is an issue that demands action now because we know that the educational outcomes and STEM readiness of students of color will have direct consequences on our national prosperity.”

The second objective of the grant is to create a framework for research collaboration across alliance institutions. This work will be aligned with Google research priorities related to improving machine learning and artificial intelligence models. By fostering the expansion such work, the team behind the project aims to create new opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students at CAHSI schools to participate in research. 

The research collaboration component of the project includes an ideation workshop that will connect research-intensive members of the alliance with non-Ph.D. granting partners; funding for projects that pair institutions of different research classifications, demonstrate potential for additional external funding and include opportunities for Hispanic students to work as research assistants; and credits for use of Google Cloud Platform services such networking, data storage and analytics in support of research activities.

The project is scheduled to begin in January 2023 and will last three years.

To learn more about CAHSI’s work to increase diversity in computing, visit cahsi.utep.edu.

About The University of Texas at El Paso

The University of Texas at El Paso is America’s leading Hispanic-serving university. Located at the westernmost tip of Texas, where three states and two countries converge along the Rio Grande, 84% of our 24,000 students are Hispanic, and half are the first in their families to go to college. UTEP offers 169 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs at the only open-access, top-tier research university in America.

Last Updated on December 15, 2022 at 12:00 AM | Originally published December 15, 2022

By MC Staff UTEP Marketing and Communications