Atanasoff Today: Next generation of computer scientists

The Department of Computer Science hosted a two-week-long computer science workshop over the summer. The workshop was a hands-on learning experience for high school students in the Science Bound program who were interested in Computer Science.

The workshop improved outreach efforts to the K-12 community, with special emphasis on broadening participation in computer science among underrepresented students. The instructors were real-world CS professors, which gives students a better idea of the world-class faculty at ISU. Overall, the workshop helped the Department of Computer Science set its program apart from other schools at an early stage in the students' career explorations.

The students involved in the workshop were part of the Science Bound program which is Iowa State University's premier pre-college through-college program that empowers Iowa students of color to pursue degrees and careers in ASTEM (agriculture, science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields and education.

They engage middle and high school students from Osceola, Des Moines, Denison, and Marshalltown, Iowa. Students begin the nine-year program during the summer before eighth grade and continue through to college graduation.

The workshop was facilitated by professors Wallapak Tavanapong, Soma Chaudhuri, Ying Cai and Christopher Quinn, along with student volunteers and with the help of Science Bound.

Students left the workshop with intelligent computer systems that they built and with a deepened understanding of the possibilities a computer science degree can have.