From Potential to Promise: Developing Scholars, One Eureka Moment at a Time
At Rutgers University-Camden, the student body is quite diverse, with many first-generation college students and students from underrepresented minority groups. Our students face financial challenges - a significantly large fraction of Rutgers-Camden students work at least part-time while pursuing coursework. Since the inception of the computer science department in the nineties until 2009 almost no student from the computer science department at Rutgers-Camden had gone to pursue graduate studies in computer science or related fields. In the last 12 years or so, several students have gone to some of the top graduate programs in the country. In this talk, I will tell the story of our work with these truly remarkable undergraduate students, who despite many odds have achieved success that is unprecedented for the Camden campus. I will discuss the challenges that we faced and some ideas that have worked well for us. We have been applying some of these ideas in our work with high school students as part of the Program for Algorithmic and Combinatorial Thinking (PACT), which we started in 2009.