January 30, 2008
Brown Joins Alliance to Increase Robotics Education and Research
Brown University has joined the Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact (ARTSI) Alliance supported by the National Science Foundation, in an effort to boost the number of African-American students pursuing computer science and robotics.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University has joined forces with more than a dozen research universities and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to promote robotics and computer science education for African-American students.
The Advancing Robotics Technology for Societal Impact (ARTSI) Alliance will develop outreach programs to encourage African-American students at both the K-12 and college levels to pursue careers in computer science and robotics and will provide mentoring programs for undergraduates. The Alliance also will provide development activities for HBCU faculty who teach computer science and robotics courses. ARTSI is funded by a three-year, $2-million National Science Foundation grant.
At Brown, the program is spearheaded by Chad Jenkins, assistant professor of computer science. “The aim is to develop and strengthen pathways from HBCUs to major research universities for minority students who want to pursue graduate degrees in computer science,” Jenkins said. “Robots are a great way to inspire students because they are interactive and fun but also pose intellectually deep challenges.”
During the summers of 2008 and 2009, Jenkins will bring an undergraduate HBCU student to campus for a research internship. Students will develop software applications that will allow robots to more effectively interact with humans, a major research focus in Jenkins’ laboratory. African-Americans now account for just 4.8 percent of almost 2 million U.S. computer and information scientists, a job category that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will be among the fastest growing occupations over the next decade.
“To advance computing technology and robotics, we need as many great minds in the field as possible,” Jenkins said, “so it is critical to draw in dedicated and interested students, whether they choose to work in academia or the commercial sector.”
HBCUs participating in ARTSI are Spelman College, Hampton University, Morgan State University, Florida A&M University, Norfolk State University, Winston-Salem State University, University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff and the University of the District of Columbia.
They are joined by research universities including Brown, Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh, Georgia Institute of Technology, Duke University, University of Alabama and University of Washington that will provide research internships, mentoring opportunities and lesson plans and materials. Corporate partners include Seagate Technology, Microsoft, Apple, iRobot and Juxtopia.
Activities will include:
For more information, visit http://ARTSIAlliance.org A video about robotics at Brown is online at http://robotics.cs.brown.edu/media/Rplay_small.mp4
Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call the Office of Media Relations at (401) 863-2476.