The Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences (iAAMCS, pronounced ‘I am CS’) will serve as a national resource for all African-American computer science students and faculty. The institute aims to:
- Increase the number of African-Americans receiving PhD degrees in computing sciences
- Promote and engage students in teaching and training opportunities
- Add to the diversity of researchers employed in the advanced technology workforce
iAAMCS will utilize resources from nationally recognized programs and projects, including mentoring strategies from past National Science Foundation Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) Alliances and Demonstration Projects, the Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU), and the Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates (DREU).
Faculty and Student Training
These trainings occur through face-to-face workshops and webinars for students and their advisors to provide a shared context for the completion of the research experience. Student trainings will focus on time management, setting and meeting expectations, and carrying out various research components (literature review, source control, etc.). The advisor trainings are based on documented differences in mentoring efforts of effective and non-effective teachers of African-American students.
Academic Research Grants
Applications for funded research projects are submitted annually by a sponsoring faculty member. Students in their first or second years of their undergraduate careers who have not previously participated in DREU programs but have completed at least one computer science course are eligible to apply.
During DREUs, students complete a 10-week research experience that includes several key checkpoints throughout the process to ensure uniform expectations and outcomes. The DREU program accepts applications from both interested students and mentors who are then matched based on interests and backgrounds.
Technical Webinars & the Distinguished Lecture Series (DLS)
Webinar sessions cover topics ranging from preparing for the GRE and understanding life as a graduate student, to proposal writing and the dissertation defense. Each is hour long time allotted to allow the mentor leading the session to answer questions from attendees. The DLS will likewise focus on familiarizing audiences with graduate school, computing research, academic faculty employment, research scientist positions and other topics related to the benefits of obtaining a PhD in computing sciences.
Distinguished Fellows Writing Workshop (DFWW)
The DFWW guides undergraduate and graduate students through the process of writing a competitive application for summer internships, graduate school, and/or external funding. The targeted audience for the DFWW is junior- and senior-level undergraduates and first- and second-year graduate students as well as faculty who advise or mentor these students.
Annual Computing Competitions
These competitions, held annually at the Tapia Conference, consist of a full day of activities and multiple competitions in robotics, mobile apps, gaming, and other relevant domains of computing.
iAAMCS facilitates and supports peer mentoring relationships designed to enhance completion of graduate degrees. Mentoring occurs through small peer-based accountability groups supported by an online goal-oriented system.
Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing
The goal of the Tapia Conferences is to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to connect, receive feedback on research design and professional development, and learn from others in their field.