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Hispanic Computer Brigade Silicon Valley Computer Camp

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Mentoring & Outreach for Girls & Minorities

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.644.1 - 15.644.14



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Paper Authors

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Patricia Backer San Jose State University

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Belle Wei San Jose State University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Hispanic Computer Brigade Silicon Valley Computer Camp


Hispanic students are vastly underrepresented in computing during a time when the Hispanic population in the U.S. is growing dramatically. By 2020, Hispanics will account for 50% of the workers in California. And, by 2050, the Hispanic population is projected to triple in the United States with 25% of the U.S. population being of Hispanic origin.

The College of Engineering (CoE) at San José State University proposed a new approach for recruiting Hispanic students into computing disciplines and careers through the Hispanic Computer Brigade (HCB) initiative. By forming HCBs in two local high schools, we aimed to inspire and engage Hispanic students through IT service learning projects. The high school students began the program with a summer camp, continued to learn and engage computing throughout the year with community service learning, and will end with a local competition where students will showcase their computing projects with high school faculty, SJSU faculty, parents/guardians, and the community. Students are learning computer and programming skills and processes in weekly meetings with the help of advisors and mentors.

To support the Hispanic Computer Brigade initiative, the CoE received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a one-year pilot program for Hispanic students from the San Jose East Side Union High School District. The first segment of the HCB program was the Silicon Valley Computer Camp (SVCC). This paper describes the design, operation, and preliminary results of the SVCC.


The U.S. does not produce enough engineering talent to drive the next wave of innovation to create new jobs and maintain its global leadership in technology.1 Today, the average engineering student is either: (1) a Caucasian man, (2) an Asian man, or (3) a foreign-born student.2 There is a significant under-representation of women, African-Americans, and Hispanics in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. In order to ensure America’s pre-eminence in science and technology, it is critical that we be more effective in attracting women and students from all ethnic groups into this field.

For the past two decades, the percent of engineering degrees awarded to Hispanics in the U.S. has remained low. Only 5% of Hispanic undergraduate students receive degrees in engineering; of that number, 79% are men. This under-representation of Hispanic students in engineering is taking place during a time when the Hispanic population in the U.S. is growing rapidly.3 4 By 2020, Hispanics will account for 50% of the workers in California.5. And, by 2050, the Hispanic population is projected to triple in the United States6 with 25% of the U.S. being of Hispanic- Hispanic origin.7

San José State University (SJSU), in the heart of Silicon Valley, is in a unique position to attract Hispanic students to engineering. Silicon Valley has the highest percentage (13%) of its

Backer, P., & Wei, B. (2010, June), Hispanic Computer Brigade Silicon Valley Computer Camp Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15924

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