Computer Science Mentorship and Achievement with Relevance for Teachers and Students (CSMARTS)

CSMARTS Intervention Components:CSMARTS aims to improve middle school student achievement and teacher quality in computer science by developing and testing effective culturally and societally relevant computer science and engineering design curriculum and pedagogy. Targeting urban students in grades 6 - 8, especially girls from African American and Latino backgrounds, CSMARTS is an intervention program in partnership with Los Angeles area charter middle schools. It is affiliated with the Institute for Engineering Cross-cultural Competence (IEC3) and the part of USC Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher (VAST) program.

  • Teacher professional development
  • Girls in CS@SC Summer Day Camp
  • Family after school computer science and engineering design program
  • Computer science tutoring with USC Viterbi students in middle school classrooms
  • Girls in Computer Science culturally and societally relevant in-school mentor program

The mission of The Institute of Engineering Community and Cultural Competence (IEC3) is to close the gender gap in STEM with an emphasis on advancing African American and Latino girls and women in the fields of computer science and engineering.

USC Viterbi National Science Foundation
Research Experience for Teachers Programs (NSF RET)
2011 - 2017

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has supported two consecutive "Research Experience for Teachers" projects at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering to partner with the Los Angeles Unified School District and other neighboring urban school districts to develop an integrated engineering professional development program targeting K-12 educators. The vision of the NSF Research Experience for Teachers is to help build long-term collaborative partnerships between K-12 STEM teachers and the NSF university research community in order to bring knowledge of engineering and technological innovation into K-12 classrooms. As a leader in cutting-edge engineering education pedagogy and assessment, USC Viterbi has been transforming K-12 STEM teachers and students for decades.

USC Viterbi Robotics & Coding Academy

The USC Viterbi Robotics & Coding Academy for 5th graders at 32nd St./USC Magnet School, Dr. Theodore T. Alexander Jr. Science Center School, and John W. Mack Elementary School helps develop students’ technology and engineering skills through hands-on learning with robots, mentored by USC students. These students are 97% underrepresented minority, with at least 85% receiving free lunches. This free, after-school program is possible thanks to the generous support of the USC Good Neighbors Campaign, an employee giving program that supports university-community partnerships; it is organized by USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s VAST (Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher). Coding a robot to interact with the real-world is an empowering experience that may lead 5th graders to future careers in STEM.

The CS@SC Summer Camps are intended to expose K12 students to topics in Computer Science. The pervasiveness of Computer Science touches all aspects of life, including email, mobile devices, games, the Internet, operating systems, networks, robotics, and many others. Children are already more technologically-advanced than their parents were at the same age, but children will need to know more than just how to use computers to succeed in a technologically-advanced world in the future. Programming is the written language of the future, and knowing how to program will distinguish students from others. The CS@SC Summer Camps will hopefully provide students with the necessary foundation for allowing further education to occur either through self study or formal instruction.

STEM Spotlight

USC Viterbi School of Engineering's STEM Spotlight series targets urban schools with underrepresented and Title I students to showcase the exciting and socially relevant aspects of engineering and STEM. The Spotlight features two or three of our engineering academic departments each year to give students the opportunity to visit our research labs, meet graduate and undergraduate students to hear about their interests in engineering research, and visit different buildings in the engineering area. Spotlights also send professors out to schools to give demonstrations or talks. All this outreach is supported by resources on the STEM Spotlight Website for teachers to use to teach key STEM concepts and reinforce the lab and faculty visits.