Minorities in Computing

Peter H. Salus peter at usenix.UUCP
Fri Jan 20 02:48:46 AEST 1989

Over the past five days I have been attending the AAAS meetings.
Among other things, I have carefully gone to as many sessions 
on primary and secondary math and science education, women in 
science, and minorities in science as I could.  By and large, it
has been a depressing experience.

However, there were two bright spots, one was a talk by Herman R. 
Branson, Director of Precollege Science and Mathematics Research 
Program at Howard University in Washington [he is also a well-
known physicist and former president of Lincoln U.], the other 
was a conversation with Geoffrey L. Wilson, BP America Distinguished
Professor of Mathematics and Physics at Johnson C. Smith 
University in Charlotte, NC.

It seems to me that USENIX has become the success that it is as 
a result of the tremendous volunteer donations of time and energy of 
Board members past (like Mel Ferentz and Lou Katz and Tom Ferrin 
and Mike Tilson, to name but a few) and present; and the Conference 
and Workshop chairs.  

What I'd like to urge here is a different kind of volunteerism.

Branson's Project needs money; I think it can also use people.  I 
think that some USENIX members in the DC area could volunteer 
their time to Branson's Project and go into inner city schools 
and speak to kids about careers in computer science, or they 
could volunteer their companies or labs to take in a high school 
student for a summer.  

Wilson has little equipment and little money in a small, 
traditionally Black institution.  Perhaps there is a member in 
the Charlotte area who would volunteer her/his time for a 
few hours a week for a term to teach computer science.  Or even 
to be a sort of systems administrator for what I gather is a 
largely Apple computer lab.

The 1987 figures seem to indicate that there were 7 doctorates 
in Computer Science awarded to minority males nationally (sorry, 
no females!).  I think that we can only improve on this by 
increasing the flow in the pipeline.

If any of you in the DC or Charlotte areas feels responsible, 
I hope you'll try to get in touch with either Dr. Branson 
or Dr. Wilson.  I don't have the Howard U. phone number; 
Dr. Wilson's number is 704-378-1155.

Neither one knows that I'm posting this.  This is a genuine 
public service announcement.


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