Hopefully you noticed another change in the look of our website (http://araoc.org/) as we are now featuring the results of outstanding summer work by some Arkansas universities. More is going on in the state than we have featured here, but the articles and pictures call attention to the summer STEM-related programs conducted at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Central Arkansas.
These summer programs have proven to be very successful and have become feeders for the engineering students of tomorrow. Apparently one of our more serious statewide problems is losing the STEM field interest of middle school and high school students. These university sponsored summer programs are a direct way to address that problem and have documented an excellent success rate for stimulating interest in further STEM education. I believe the most valuable programs are the ones that are targeted at middle school students and there is a direct correlation between attendance at STEM summer camps for middle school students and the continuing pursuit of STEM education and a STEM career.
Check out these articles under the Latest News section on the home page and if at all possible, see what you might be able to do to encourage growth in these programs. Needless to say, their limits on size are funding related…and no doubt we can all help!
As a look at what happens later in the development of students pursuing a technical education, we recently added links on our website to the Capstone Project summaries developed by seniors from the Computer Science/Computer Engineering Department of the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (http://araoc.org/csce-capstone-posters/). These are from the posters the CSCE Capstone students brought to our April, 2013 AAoC Annual Meeting. The enthusiasm and knowledge these students displayed as they explained their projects was both encouraging and refreshing – and the “confusion” exhibited by some of our members as they tried to understand what these students were really doing was not a surprise!
On another subject, UALR has again secured a real coup by sponsoring the 2013 International Conference on Information Quality (ICIQ-2013). The conference was held on the MIT campus until 2009 when it was held on the campus of the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany. Subsequent venues include UALR (2010), University of South Australia in Adelaide (2011), Conservatorie national des arts et métiers in Paris, France (2012), and now the return to UALR this year. The ICIQ is one of the oldest and most respected information and data quality conferences. One of our AAoC members, Dr. John Talburt, has played an international leading role in information quality. Dr. Talburt has been able to extend conference registration discounts to any AAoC member who would like to attend. Registration is available at http://www.iciq2013.org/.
The Arkansas Academy of Computing holds its membership drive in the fall and you will soon receive a communication from Dr. Susan Gauch, CSCE Department Chair at UAF, encouraging nominations for the Class of 2014 AAoC membership. Nominations may now be submitted on-line at http://araoc.org/members/nominate/.
Finally, as you have likely already figured out, we are in the middle of our 2013-2014 annual scholarship drive. We have had excellent success with this drive over the last few years. Scholarships from the Arkansas Academy of Computing have directly contributed to the computing-related education of almost 100 students in 11 different Arkansas universities over the last three years. That is an outstanding accomplishment made possible by your generous contributions, and has become a leading effort state-wide. The scholarship drive is led by our Scholarship Committee and their plan is to concentrate their fund raising activity in September and October, hopefully wrapping it up in early November. So if we have not heard from you, please expect to hear from them over the next few weeks! As we have said before, these donations are very important for and appreciated by the students selected. And donation is very easy, again through our website – http://araoc.org/scholarships/scholarship-donations/.