Denmark, S.C. – Voorhees College is part of the 2022 South Carolina (SC) Relentless Challenge grant program-Expanding SC Underrepresented Minorities Footprint in the Cyber Security and Computer Science Workforce. The $150,000 grant was recently awarded to SC Advance Technology International (ATI) by the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
By way of a nine-month virtual mentor relationship, a one-week immersion-style internship, and a hackathon, students will grow as computer scientists and as professionals, increasing their interest in the field, expanding their skill sets, and gaining valuable real-world experience. This initiative will address the lack of skilled software programmers and engineers in South Carolina by building activities that support students in gaining experience in the computer science and cyber security industry. It also will connect organizations with local talent to meet their long-term workforce demands and help instill a passion for the field.
Zhabiz Golkar, associate professor and dean of the School of Science, Technology, Health and Human Services, will lead the effort at Voorhees. She will serve on the advisory council board with ATI. Xiaohua Jin, assistant professor of computer science, is the point of contact and will assist with the student nomination and selection process.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and faculty to benefit from exposure to cutting edge technology, networking, experience and future connections and provided internship to our students. We are excited to implement the SC Computer Science and Cyber Security mentorship here at Voorhees,” Golkar said.
Funding will be used to assemble a group of 16 underrepresented students from the eight South Carolina historically black colleges and universities and from Trident Technical College to gain firsthand insight into the computer science field through a guided program with the South Carolina-based cyber and information security industry.
University and college participants include Allen University, Benedict College, Claflin University, Clinton College, Denmark Technical College, Morris College, South Carolina State University and Trident Technical College, along with Voorhees.
Industry and SC-participants are Charleston Defense Contractors Association, the SC Commission of Minority Affairs, SC Council on Competitiveness Initiative, SC Tech, National Science Engineering Alliance and Naval Information Warfare Center–Atlantic.
The grant to SC Advanced Technology International is among 10 grant awards totaling $500,000.