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The Development of a Student Organization that SupportsMinorities in Computing (Experience)

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

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Lance White Texas A&M University

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Lance White is a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University in the Multidisciplinary Engineering Department focusing on Engineering Education research. His areas of expertise include qualitative and quantitative research in engineering education, but a stronger focus has been in qualitative methods and analysis. He is working as a graduate research assistant at the Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation at the Texas Engineering Experiment Station at Texas A&M University under director Dr. Tracy Hammond. Dr. Karan Watson and Dr. Pavel Tsvetkov are his co-chairs. He completed his M.S. in Nuclear Engineering at Texas A&M University under Dr. Yassin Hassan working on experimental thermal hydraulics, and completed his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at West Texas A&M University.

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Larry Powell Texas A&M University

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Tracy Hammond Texas A&M University

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Dilma Da Silva Texas A&M University

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Santana Gonzales Texas A&M University


Sara Amani Texas A&M University

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Sara Amani is a Graduate Research Assistant at Texas A&M University. She graduated as a chemical engineer from Texas A&M University at Qatar and is currently a PhD student of the Multidisciplinary Engineering focusing on engineering education. She also works at the Institute for Engineering Education and Innovation (IEEI) at Texas A&M. Her research interests include women in engineering, mental health / well-being of engineering students, accessibility in engineering, and humanitarian engineering.

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In 2016 the Hispanic enrollment in computer science and computer engineering for both undergraduate and graduate students at Texas A&M University initially sat at 17.9% and has decreased to approximately 11.76% in 2021, with undergraduate Hispanic enrollment in computing reducing from almost 22% down to under 15% in that same time frame[1]. This significant shift in Hispanic student representation spurred the development of this organization, Aggie Hispanics In Computing (AHIC), to create a computing community and provide support focused around the shared experiences of being part of a minority group at a predominately white institution (PWI) in an even less diverse discipline. This organization is not a lone member of Hispanic serving organizations at Texas A&M University, overall considered a Hispanic serving institution (HSI), rather it was designed to focus particularly on serving Hispanic students in the computer science and computer engineering disciplines at Texas A&M University. Since the organization was founded during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, AHIC has grown significantly in membership, financial support, and goal attainment focused on increasing representation of Hispanic students within the computing disciplines at Texas A&M University. The organization has grown from 6 to over 50 members from various disciplines in the past year alone. AHIC has also received financial support from a multitude of companies such as General Motors, Chevron, and others. The overall goal of AHIC is to create a supportive community for minorities in various computing fields. This community has been grown through hosting supporting events that provide information and resources about university research, professional career opportunities, workshops, and mentorship programs. AHIC has also initiated several long-term initiatives such as peer teaching for introductory computer science courses in the past year. We have focused on company panels and alumni coaching in which company representatives and alumni provide career advice for currently enrolled students. The organization has also hosted seminars and workshops educating freshmen on new computing skills and opportunities that a computer science and computer engineering degree can provide. This paper will discuss the need recognized for a minority focused and serving computing organization and how the formation of Aggie Hispanics In Computing provides a community that is promising for the future of minorities in the computing field at Texas A&M University.

White, L., & Powell, L., & Hammond, T., & Da Silva, D., & Gonzales, S., & Amani, S. (2022, August), The Development of a Student Organization that SupportsMinorities in Computing (Experience) Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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