Efforts to Increase Student Success in STEM/CS Education

Alvaro Monge

Speaker: Alvaro Monge, Professor, California State University, Long Beach

Date: Monday, February 27
Time: 11am
Location:  Room 1202, CSE Building
(CSE Colloquium Lecture Series)

Abstract: According to a 2014 US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are projected to grow “to more than 9 million between 2012 and 2022.” Unlike the overall job pool in America, there is no shortage of jobs for individuals with training in STEM disciplines. STEM careers are among the most financially lucrative, they have greater job outlook and far lower unemployment rates than other careers.

Virtually all STEM careers require at least a bachelor’s degree or higher in engineering, science, or mathematics. Latino Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, and people with disabilities are effectively shut out of these highly-desirable jobs in STEM disciplines because of their extremely low graduation rates in the requisite majors.

In my talk, I highlight two projects which aim to improve the STEM graduation rates for students from underrepresented groups. First, the HSI STEM project at CSULB provides mentoring, research, and other resources to Latino/a students with the main objectives to increase retention and graduation in STEM majors. Next, EngageCSEdu is project by Google and NCWIT to develop a collection of instructional materials that use teaching practices that increase student engagement in CS.

My talk will also discuss Web Accessibility, specifically my experiences with the TRx: Typometric Prescription project. This project enables people with low vision to personalize a reading environment on the web.

Bio: Dr. Alvaro Monge has earned BS (UC Riverside, 1991), MS, and PhD (UC San Diego, 1993 and 1997) degrees in computer science. In 1997, he joined the Computer Science Department at the University of Dayton Ohio. After two years, he joined the Computer Engineering and Computer Science Department at the California State University Long Beach (CSULB) where he is now a tenured full professor. CSULB is a teaching-intensive institution and thus, he has taught classes at different levels from introduction to programming and data structures; to junior level classes in database design; senior level classes on database, web development, and senior projects; and finally to graduate classes in database systems. He has held key positions as an academic advisor at the graduate and undergraduate levels and is currently the academic advisor for all computer science undergraduate students and for computer science students in the Engineering Honors Program. As a co-PI in a US Department of Education STEM grant for Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI STEM) awarded to CSULB, he has overseen grant activities that seek to increase the retention and graduation rates of Latino students in STEM majors. In 2014, Dr. Monge joined a team at Google that created NCWIT’s EngageCSEdu, an online living collection of peer-reviewed teaching instruments that use research-based techniques that retain and engage students, particularly effective in broadening participation in computing. Dr. Monge’s research interests have evolved over time. Through his participation in an NSF sponsored project, he ventured into computer science education research. Recently, his primary focus has been on efforts to increase recruitment and retention of students from underrepresented groups in computer science. In addition his current research is creating assistive technology to make content from web pages accessible to people with low vision.