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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