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Presenting CS Concepts through Multiple Representations to Engage African-American Elementary School Children

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2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

NEW SESSION Track: Special Topic - Computing & Technology Technical Session 4

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Special Topic: Computing & Technology

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Paper Authors


Olivia Mambo Nche Clemson University

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Olivia M. Nche is currently a Ph.D. student in Human Centered Computing at Clemson University. Her focus is computer science education and she investigates innovative strategies which employ tools like video games to facilitate CS education. She has preciously investigated the use of robots as CS educational tools as well. She graduated from Anderson University in 2010 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems and from Northwestern University in 2012 with a Master’s Degree in Computer Information Systems.

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Murali Sitaraman Clemson University

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Professor, School of Computing

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Elizabeth L. Colbert-Busch Clemson University

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Elizabeth Colbert-Busch

Address: 652 Gatepost Drive
Mount Pleasant, S.C. 29464
Phone: 843-437-9095

Education & Professional Development

Honorary Degree
Doctor of Humane Letters
College of Charleston

Bachelor of Arts
Major – Interdisciplinary Art
Minor - Intermodal Transportation and Logistics Management
College of Charleston

Riley Institute at Furman
Fellow, Diversity Leader Initiative
South Carolina Diversity Institute

International Executive Leadership Development
Hong Kong

Professional Experience

2016 – Present
Executive Director of Business Development and Community Engagement
Clemson University
Office of Academic Affairs – Charleston

Responsible for corporate relations, private-public partnerships, advancing graduate education degree and certificate program opportunities at the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center, STEM program development K-12, coordination of industry contract agreements (including industry partner technical service agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and grant writing) and faculty, industry, and community networking. Serves on faculty selection committee and as an advisor for faculty and student recruitment, including for marketing strategy.

2008 – 2016
Director, Business Development
Clemson University Restoration Institute (CURI)
Office of Academic Affairs and Economic Development

Responsible for coordinating fundraising efforts through private-public partnerships to provide resources in cash, in-kind gifts, and philanthropy to build the Clemson University Restoration Institute campus, which is on the former naval shipyard in North Charleston, SC. As the representative for Clemson University Development’s “Will to Lead” campaign, the CURI contributed $200 million dollars of cash and in-kind gifts from industry, government, and philanthropists. Funding contributions to the development of the Restoration Institute Campus include, but not limited to:

o Department of Energy Offshore Wind Turbine Testing Award: $98M
o SCE&G Energy Innovation Center: $3.5M
o Duke Energy Electric Grid Research Innovation and Development Center: $15M
o Duke Energy Endowed Chair for Smart Grid Technology: $2M
o Zucker Family Graduate Education Center: $13M

LEAVE OF ABSENCE: January – May 2013
Candidate in the Special Election for 1st Congressional District Representative. Listened to and spoke with thousands of 1st Congressional District voters during the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Held town halls, rallies, and raised $1.85 million dollars through the support of family, friends, and the district voters.

1988 -2008
A 20-year career at Orient Overseas Container Line (USA Incorporated) through increasingly
responsible positions beginning as a Customer Service Representative, to Inside Sales Representative, to Outside Sales Representative, then Area Sales Manager, Regional Sales Manager, North America Documentation Manager, and finally culminating in becoming a North America Regional Sales Director.
Orient Overseas Container Line (USA) Incorporated U.S. Southeast U.S. Gulf Region, and Mexico - Director of Sales

Responsible for trade lane business plan development, implementation, and execution of the measureable business plan, budget objectives, and financial goals. Managed the promotion of international maritime relations and North America business activity, including the South Atlantic and Gulf regions of the United States and Mexico. Governmental Affairs liaison for owners of the company related to maritime policy and trade related issues between U.S. and China.

South Carolina Ports Authority
Research and Data Analyst for 1988 Economic Impact Analysis for South Carolina ports.

Professional and Community Involvement:

"Men of Color" Student Summit, Clemson University
College of Charleston Alumni Board of Directors
College of Charleston School of the Arts Advisory Board
South Carolina Aquarium Board of Directors
South Carolina Association of Community Economic Development
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Charleston Regional Development Alliance - Board of Directors & Executive Committee
Ingevity Community Advisory Board
Clemson Canada Advisory Board
E4 Carolinas – Board of Director & Chair Economic Development Committee
Accelerate Greater Charleston 2 – Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce – Co- Chair - 2017
Charleston School of Law – Maritime Institute Advisory Board – 2012 – 2017
Founding member of the South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance – 2011 - 2017
S.C. Israel Collaboration 2011 - 2016
YWCA Martin Luther King – Chairman, Joseph P. Riley Corporate Citizenship Founding Member - 2014
Brookings Institute Metro Export Initiative - Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce – 2012 - 2013
Lowcountry STEM Collaborative Advisory Board – 2011 - 2015

Lecture and Speaking Engagement:

Motivational speaking, Leadership development, economic impact opportunities in the energy manufacturing, ocean transportation and intermodalism, market economy and trend.

­S.C. Military Base Task Force – Offshore Wind Impact Workshop – July 2018
­Encourage the Heart – Clemson University – April 2018
­National Provost & Academic Affairs Assistants - Higher Education National Association – March 2018
­College of Charleston Commencement Speaker – May 2017
­Transforming S.C.'s Energy Grid Conference - "How the Workforce Supports Transformation" - November 2017
­S.C. Association of Community Economic Development Conference – December 2017
­Economic Development: Workforce Development Impact – E4 Carolinas Annual Conference - September 2017
­SPAWAR System Center – Atlantic Women in Leadership – April 2017
­Leadership Charleston, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce -January & April 2017
­Economic Outlook Conference, Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce – March 2017
­Charleston Women in International Trade – January 2017 and March 2018
­Palmetto Scholars Graduation Commencement – June 2016
­Siemens Engineering Week – February 2016
­Duke Oconee Nuclear Station Leadership Development – August 2015
­Duke Energy WINnovation: Taking Performance to the Next Level - June 2015
­Provost Academic Leadership Summit – 2015
­University of Tennessee Women in Philanthropy Symposium – 2014.
­“Stepping Up to Leadership” Clemson University faculty & student body - September 2013

Special Recognitions and Awards

­ College of Charleston Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters -2017
­ Be Brave Award – Charleston Center for Women -2016
­ Chairman of the Joseph P. Riley Corporate Citizenship Award Committee – 2014 and 2015
­ Riley Fellow – Diversity Leadership Institute - 2014
­ Lowcountry Black Historical Society – Public Service Award -2013
­ Charleston Post & Courier – Congressional campaign endorsement - 2013
­ Charleston Women in International Trade Woman of the Year -2011
­ Top 20 Women in Transportation by the US Journal of Commerce – 2007
­ Chairman for the S.C. Maritime Association – 2006
­ Chairman for the S.C. International Trade Conference - 2006
­ Propeller Club Southeast Region Member of the Year - 2006


­ Boeing Company, STEM Coding for Kids – 2017 & 2018
­ Blackbaud, STEM Coding for Kids – 2018
­ U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Agency
The Zucker Family Graduate Education Center - 2014
­ U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Clemson University Wind Turbine Drivetrain Testing Facility – Matching Funds -2009

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Victor Zordan

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This experience report presents elements of an outreach program to elementary school children to broaden participation in computing. The program is based on a unique multi-faceted curriculum that facilitates the presentation of abstract computer science concepts within a summer camp setting. The curriculum exposes the same abstract content to children using different representations and helps them to learn and practice the concepts using a “hands-on” approach. Further, use of multiple representations allows the learning needs of diverse learners to be catered for, considering the grades and ages of the participants. Specifically, we present CS concepts to these children, each in three formats: 1) using motivated real world and everyday examples, 2) elementary graphical programming, and 3) a custom video game designed to test and exercise concepts in a fun environment. Pretest/posttest analysis show promising trends, including positive changes in attitudes and learning of computational thinking and coding concepts.

Nche, O. M., & Sitaraman, M., & Colbert-Busch, E. L., & Zordan, V. (2019, April), Presenting CS Concepts through Multiple Representations to Engage African-American Elementary School Children Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia.

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