Research and Curriculum Unit Staff Member Attends White House Computer Science Summit

For immediate release: August 3, 2016

Contact: Anne Hierholzer

STARKVILLE, Miss. – A staff member from Mississippi State University’s Research and Curriculum Unit (RCU) was selected to attend an invitation-only White House summit on computer science held on September 14, 2016.

Shelly Hollis, a project manager at the RCU, represented Mississippi at the summit highlighting President Obama’s #CSforAll initiative, which aims to expand the availability of computer science in schools across the US. Attendees shared updates on computer science initiatives underway across the county and discussed ways to ensure the US has a steady supply of teachers licensed to teach computer science.

“The highlight for me was getting to work with so many leaders in the field of computer science,” Hollis said. “We discussed barriers and solutions to getting more students interested in pursuing teaching computer science and the minimum number of computer science courses needed for teacher licensure. I hope Mississippi State University can play an important role in defining this for our state and possibly the nation.”

As one of the core team working to implement Mississippi’s Computer Science for Mississippi (CS4MS) pilot program, Hollis was well-positioned to contribute to the conversation. CS4MS addresses the urgent economic need to train more qualified workers to fill the growing number of computer science-related jobs, said Hollis. Thirty-eight school districts, including 235 teachers from 156 schools, across Mississippi are currently participating in the first year of the CS4MS pilot. By 2024, CS4MS aims to have a comprehensive K-12 computer science curriculum in place for all Mississippi public schools.

“The wheels of change are in motion to make sure computer science becomes a core subject for all students,” Hollis said. “Computer science has become too interwoven into our daily lives not to educate our students on the fundamentals of the subject. We also need to prepare as many students as possible to lead the way for future computing innovations.”

Hollis returned to the White House on September 26th to attend a meeting hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy that focused on the current state of computer science in K-12 education.

For more information on CS4MS, visit cs4ms.org. For more on President Obama’s #CSforAll initiative, visit whitehouse.gov/blog/2016/01/30/computer-science-all.

To learn more about the RCU and its work to support public education in the state of Mississippi, visit rcu.msstate.edu .