Building Research Capabilities of Academically Talented Undergraduate Students from Hispanic-Serving Institutions through Virtual Research Experiences 

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a disruption in society across all sectors with widespread loss of internships, jobs, and undergraduate research experiences that negatively impact the talent pipeline in computing fields and the future of U.S. innovation. Such disruptions are likely to occur in the near future, and the U.S. must be well-prepared in offering effective virtual internships and undergraduate research experiences to expand learning and professional development opportunities, especially for minoritized undergraduate students. Thus, this project will address this exigency by refining a proven model for developing professional, research, team, and communication skills so that it will be effective in a virtual environment.  

With support from the RAPID program, this project aims to provide academically talented students with research experiences that are critical for graduate studies. The project will ensure that students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse experiences will be engaged in impactful research projects. Equally important is that underserved students will receive funding that will, in part, support continuation of their education. The proposed project will provide faculty professional development in the Affinity Research Group (ARG) model, a Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI) signature and proven practice for immersing students in research. Faculty will also learn how to incorporate ARG elements into classroom pedagogical practice to improve teaching and learning. The effort will lead to a national community of faculty who are skilled at undergraduate research mentoring informed by the ARG model and who grow through their involvement with a cohort of researchers and participation in ARG interactive webinars. The proposed effort has the following objectives: 

  • Establish a process to select a faculty cohort of research mentors who have well-defined research project(s), including definition of intellectual merit.   
  • Provide a mandatory virtual ARG workshop orientation for the faculty cohort.  
  • Establish a process to select students based on financial need, academic record, and references. 
  • Build a national community of faculty and undergraduate researchers. 
  • Prepare students for virtual poster presentations by all participants. 

The evaluation will examine whether student perceptions of computer science and their career goals change after participation in a virtual REU. The evaluation will identify the practices that worked and those that were less successful for the virtual REUs. In addition, the evaluation will document the benefit to faculty, if any, of joining a cohort community in support of research with undergraduate student from underrepresented groups. The evaluation questions addressed will be the following: What are the best practices in computing education for virtual REUs?  and How do faculty benefit from joining a cohort community in support of undergraduate student research? 

A broader impact is the development of a model for virtual undergraduate research experiences that can benefit students who do not have the ability to travel to remote REUs because of family obligations. Broadening participation of minoritized students in research can increase the motivation and interest of those students who pursue graduate studies in computing, and studies have shown that inclusion of diverse perspectives in problem solving can lead to novel and transformative solutions.   

Funding:  NSF 

CAHSI vREU Research Poster Competition

Visit the GMiS conference website to learn more about the CAHSI vREU Research Poster Competition.

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Jennifer Nwogu

Computer Science, UHD Mentor Marvin Andujar, Univ South FL

Ramon E. Rosado Rivera

Software Engineering, UPRM Mentor Marcelo Sztainberg, NEIU

Diego A. Perez Morales

Computer Sicence, UPR-Rio Piedras Mentor Marcelo Sztainberg, NEIU

Jesus G Vega Alejandro

Computer Engineering, UPRM Mentor Shahab Tayeb, CSU-Fresno

Joan John

Computer Science, KEAN Mentor Shahab Tayeb, CSU-Fresno

Juan F. Ayala Garcia

Computer Science, UPRA Mentor Shahab Tayeb, CSU-Fresno

Maria Moreno

Information Technology, KEAN Mentor Bhrigu Celly, CSUDH

Liam San Pedro

Computer Science, UTRGV Mentor Bhrigu Celly, CSUDH

Neil Tellez

Computer Science, KEAN Mentor Bhrigu Celly, CSUDH 

Chase Little

Computer Science, NMSU Mentor Matin Pirouz, CSU-Fresno

Naomy L. Morales Folch

Software Engineering, UPRM Mentor Matin Pirouz, CSU-Fresno

Yareth Melendez Rivera

Computer Engineering, InterAmerican University Mentor Matin Pirouz, CSU-Fresno

Miguel A Hernandez Betancourt

Biology & Computer Science, UPR-Rio Piedras Mentor Navid Amini, CSULA

Joel Gonzalez

Chemistry, UPR-Rio Piedras Mentor Navid Amini, CSULA

Hiram Vera Mercado

Computer Science, UPRA Mentor Navid Amini, CSULA

Emmanuel Gallegos

Computer Science, CSU-East Bay Mentor Lynne Grewe, CSU East Bay 

Yasmeen Meziane

Computer Science, KEAN Mentor Alireza Izaddoost, CSUDH 

Sofía I. Crespo Maldonado

Computer Science, UPR-Rio Piedras Mentor Alireza Izaddoost, CSUDH 

Eric Landaverde

Computer Science, KEAN Mentor Abeer Aljarrah, SFSU

Jose Alicea

Computer Science, KEAN Mentor Aber Aljarrah, SFSU

Diego Rosario

Electrical Engineering, UPRM Mentor Jose Baca, TAMUCC

Cristopher Rosado Miranda

Computer Science, UPRA Mentor Jose Baca, TAMUCC

Gabriel Soto Ramos

Computer Engineering, UPRM Mentor Jose Baca, TAMUCC

Jared Lopez Gonzalez

Computer Engineering, UPRM Mentor Tao Wang, NMSU

Jael Gonzalez

Computer Engineering, UPRM Mentor Tao Wang, NMSU

Rodolfo Higuera

Computer Science & Engineering, UCM Mentor Pablo Rangel, TAMUCC

Nicholas Grijalva

Computer Science, NMSU Mentor Pablo Rangel, TAMUCC

Ernesto Garcia

Computer Science, California State University Los Angeles Mentor Dvijesh Shastri, UHD

Preston McCullough

Computer Science, CSU-Fresno Mentor Dvijesh Shastri, UHD

Yash Sharma

Computer Science & Engineering, UCM Mentor Vladik Kreinovich, UTEP

Tahea Hossain

Computer Science & Engineering, UCM Mentor Vladik Kreinovich, UTEP

Jonathan Rivera

Computer Science, KEAN Mentor Vladik Kreinovich, UTEP

Natasha Ramos Rivera

Computer Science, UPRA Mentor Martine Ceberio, UTEP

Mairim Figueroa Gonzalez

Computer Science, RIO PIEDRAS Mentor Martine Ceberio, UTEP

Jennifer Mondragon

Computer Science, TAMUCC Mentor Martine Ceberio, UTEP

Montserrat Molina

Computer Science, UTEP Mentor Omar Badreddin, UTEP

Jose Alvarado

Computer Science, UPR-Rio Piedras Mentor Omar Badreddin, UTEP

Natalie Christie

Computer Science, SFSU Mentor Omar Badreddin, UTEP

Jose J Otero Rivera

Electrical Engineering, UPRM Mentor Marvin Andujar, Univ South FL

Ging Gonzalez

Computer Engineering, SJSU Mentor Marvin Andujar, Univ South FL

Jose Tua Colon

Computer Engineering/UPRM Mentor Eliana Valenzuela Andrade/UPR

Petra Bazan

Computer Science/UTRGV Mentor Eliana Valenzuela Andrade/Assistant Professor/UPR

Daniel Ramirez

Computer Science/TAMUCC Mentor Eliana Valenzuela Andrade/Associate Professor/UPR

Andrei Georgescu

Computer Science/SFSU Mentor Juan Li/Associate Professor/Kean

Julianna Judge

Computer Science/ TAMUCC Mentor Juan Li/Associate Professor/Kean

Gabriel A Lopez Lugo

Computer Engineering/UPRM Juan Li/Associate Professor/Kean

Angelina Plaza

Computer Science/NMSU
Mentor Mira Franke/Lecturer/Kean

Jade Jimenez

Computer Engineering/CSU-Fresno
Mentor Mira Fanke/Lecturer/Kean

Vivian Sanchez

Computer Science | UTEP
Mentor Salam Daher
Assistant Professor | NJIT

Alberto Melchor-Maldonado

Engineering & Computer Science | UCM
Mentor Salam Daher
Assistant Professor | NJIT