Grant helps bring computer science education to poorer Black Belt counties

Grant helps bring computer science education to poorer Black Belt counties

TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - Tuskegee University has received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help create a blueprint for computer science education.

The university will use the money to create a computer science program for eighth graders in the economically depressed Black Belt counties of Dallas, Hale, and Macon. It will feature exciting, hands-on activities like creating robots.

Dr. Shaik Jeelani, Tuskegee's vice president for research and dean of graduate studies, said that while the program is localized at this point, he hopes they can eventually expand to include all Alabama middle schoolers. Jeelani recognized the impact the grant could have on participating counties.

"The long-term, broader impact for this underserved region of the country is potentially significant considering that such educational opportunities like this often are reserved for more privileged school districts."

Tuskegee's project is one of 27 across the nation funded through the NSF INCLUDES program, short for Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science.

The $300,000 grant represents second-stage funding that, depending on the success of the project's efforts in these three Black Belt counties, could result in next-phase competitive NSF INCLUDES funding of $12.5 million over a five-year period. This additional funding would allow Jeelani and his team to expand its educational outreach to middle schoolers in all of Alabama's 18-count Black Belt region.

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