Matt Dawson (MS13) Wins Google Teaching Fellowship to Inspire Kids in Computer Science

Matt Dawson (MS13) Wins Google Teaching Fellowship to Inspire Kids in Computer Science

Matt Dawson

Matthew Dawson (MS13), a new graduate of the Higher Education Administration and Policy Program, received a two-year fellowship with Google’s Computer Science Teaching Fellows program. This new initiative seeks to spark kids’ interest in computational thinking in an effort to help fill the demand for computer scientists.

The postgraduate fellowship is designed to prepare outstanding new graduates in education and computer science to be computer science teachers. Dawson is one of 14 fellows selected from across the United States for the first cohort of the computer science teaching team. After training over the summer, the Google fellows are working in after-school programs in the Charleston, South Carolina, area.

Google is placing teaching fellows in schools, camps and after-school programs — where they can excite kids about computer science. Based in Google’s South Carolina data center, the program has developed partnerships with local Charleston schools, where the initial target age group is fourth and fifth graders.

Google launched the program out of concern over the lack of computer science majors to meet a growing demand in industry. In fact, from 2000 to 2010 the number of computer science majors decreased more than 25 percent.

“The goal is to bring computer science and computational thinking to all children, especially underrepresented minorities and girls, and close the gap between the ever-increasing demand in CS and the inadequate supply,” program lead Cameron Fadjo writes in a Google blog. “We hope to learn what really works and scale those best practices regionally and then nationally.”

This school year the Google Teaching Fellows will be testing various computing programs and curricula in the Charleston area to determine what works best and why. Soon the program will scale up in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina at other locations where Google has large data centers — using the best curricula and practices.

“We are very excited about the convergence we are seeing in CS education and the potential to bring many more kids into a field that offers not only great career opportunities but also a shot at really making a difference in the world,” says Fadjo.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 10/1/13