The Ana G. Méndez University System (AGMUS) and its institutions - Universidad del Este (UNE), Universidad del Turabo (UT), and Universidad Metropolitana (UMET) - in collaboration with universities in Puerto Rico - the University of Puerto Rico, Inter American University (IAU), Universidad Politécnica de Puerto Rico (UPPR), and the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) - proposes to create an alliance to forming the Caribbean Computing Center for Excellence (CCCE). Additional partners for this project include the Puerto Rico Department of Education, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society Chapters in San Juan and Mayaguez, public and private high schools, INTECO and INTENOR (consortia of municipalities, institutions of higher education and industrial partners from the north and central east of the Island), the industrial and business community of Puerto Rico, and community-based associations in Puerto Rico. Extended partnerships include a number of research institutions on the US mainland and abroad.

The CCCE aims to increase the recruitment and retention of students in the computing disciplines, with an emphasis on students from the underrepresented groups. It will recruit high school seniors with hands-on research experiences in university settings, deliver professional development to in-service high school teachers, provide undergraduates with a rich set of research opportunities in Puerto Rico, on the mainland and abroad, and work to prepare undergraduates for graduate school success.

Project Report

Alliance established a strong partnership with institutions in Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Island, US mainland research institutions, and abroad. In Puerto Rico these institutions are: Universidad del Este, Universidad del Turabo, Inter American University, San German and Metro Campus, Polytechnic University, and University of Puerto Rico, Humacao and Mayaguez Campus. In the US Virgin Islands, the University of the Virgin Islands. In US mainland, MIT-Haystack Observatory, University of Vermont, North Carolina State University-Raleigh, University of Texas, El Paso, NCAR/UCAR, Morehead State University, Vanderbilt University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory. In foreign countries, INSA of Strasburg, France, Finnish Meteorological Institute, Finland, Andalucía Astrophysics Institute, Granada, Spain, INRA-Paris, France, Jicamarca Radio Observatory, Lima , Peru, Riken Research Institute, Japan, and Jagiellonian Observatory, Krakow, Poland helped economically disadvantage students and teachers from the Caribbean to become competitive players in the field of computer sciences. The Alliance impacted (1,082) pre-college students, grade 10, 11 and 12, from (175) public and private schools in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands with research experiences in computer science areas. The program is a NSF best practice, Saturday Research Academy, enhanced by the CCCE grant. Project based learning was used to mentor pre-college during 16 weeks in the fall and spring semesters. The mentors were faculty, undergraduate and graduate students with research experience in computer science fields. These pre-college students produced (693) research posters and (136) oral presentations in computer related areas. These research projects were presented in (11) Research Symposia in Puerto Rico (Spring 2010, Winter 2010, Spring 2011, Winter 2011, Spring 2012, Winter 2012, Spring 2013, AGMUS 2013, Winter 2013, Spring 2014, and AGMUS 2014). [Appendix I - Poster sample]. During the summers of 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014 a total of (105) pre-college students had research experiences of between 7 and 8 weeks in research institutions in the US mainland and abroad such as: MIT Haystack Observatory, University of Vermont, North Carolina State University-Raleigh, University of Texas, El Paso, NCAR/UCAR, Morehead State University, Vanderbilt University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Jagiellonian Observatory in Poland. [Appendix II - Cover 2012 Pre-College Summer Research Internship Program]. The Alliance impacted (228) science teachers with workshops like: Exploring Computer Science, The Beauty and Joy of Computing (BJC), Introduction to Robotics Programming, Programming using Scratch, Web Programming Basic and Problem Solving, Alice and Java Media Computation, among others from (117) high schools in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. [Appendix III - Flyer Game Design and Development Workshop]. In the area of undergraduate education (172) CCCE scholars were funded and they participated in (93) summer research internships of between 8 to 10 weeks in the following institutions: Cornell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Jackson State University, Marquette University, Michigan Tech University, Ohio State University, Texas A&M University, The University of Alabama, University of California, San Diego, University of Connecticut, University of Iowa, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, University of Southern California, University of South Florida, University of South Carolina, University of Texas, El Paso, University of Washington, Seattle, University of California, Berkeley, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Goddard, MIT Haystack Observatory, Riken Research Institute, INSA of Strasbourg, Finnish Meteorological Institute, CSIC Astrophysics Institute, Granada, among others. Each scholar produced a scientific poster that were presented in (4) Research Symposia (AGMUS 2011, AGMUS 2012, AGMUS 2013, and AGMUS 2014) in Puerto Rico and national conferences like: SACNAS and Richard Tapia, were CCCE scholars won best poster presentation in computer science field with the projects: "Graphical Display of Search Trees for Transparent Robot Programming," and "Leg Design for a Praying Mantis Robot". [Appendix IV - SACNAS CCCE Scholar Winner]. As a result of the mentoring by the CCCE Alliance community twenty three (23) CCCE Scholars were transfer to graduate programs in Puerto Rico and US Mainland to the following institutions: Columbia University, University of South Florida, University of North Texas, Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Campus, Inter American University, San German Campus, Duke University, North Carolina State University, University of Illinois at Urban Champaign, and Keck Graduate Institute. In the area of community services this project had disseminate basic computer software, specially, Game Design and Development using SCRATCH in partnership with the STARBASE Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico Department of Education, and the Department of Education of US Virgin Islands for over (631) elementary-Intermediate-high school students in both Islands. For dissemination purposes the CCCE Alliance designed a webpage at to highlight the work of pre-college, teachers, CCCE scholars, faculty, and stakeholders of the Alliance. [Appendix V - Home page of CCCE Webpage].

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS)
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Program Officer
Jeffrey Forbes
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Universidad Metropolitana
San Juan
United States
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