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San Diego Supercomputer Center Launches Computer Science Workshops for Middle School Students

The University of California, San Diego's San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) has partnered with local middle schools on a series of computer science workshops designed to get more female and minority students interested in computing.

The workshops kicked off last month with students from Granger Junior High School and National City Middle School.

"It was a wonderful learning experience for them, and all of the students expressed interest in taking more courses in computer science," said Art Lopez, a computer science and applications instructor at Sweetwater High School, which is in the same district as the participating students. "I was very impressed with their willingness to explore new computer skills, so hopefully we embedded a 'seed' of learning to cultivate future computer scientists. In fact many of them expressed interest in pursuing a career in computing."

Funded by a grant from the Parker Foundation and a consortium of local businesses called Connect, the program "dovetails with a larger program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) called ComPASS, for Computing Principles for All Students' Success," according to a release, that is designed to prepare instructors to teach computer science principles.

"San Diego's economy depends upon technology and innovation that impact nearly every job sector," said Diane Baxter, SDSC's director of education, in a prepared statement. "These workshops are all about getting more students, especially underrepresented ones, to learn the computational thinking skills that those jobs require. But most of all, we want them to engage in the fun and excitement of computing so they look forward to learning more as they continue their studies."

The next workshop will take place November 16 and will cover the basics of programming for Alice. More information is available at

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at

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