Broadening Participation in Computing

NSF CISE has a new Broadening Participation in Computing (BCP) requirement. NSF provides useful details on this requirement with links to various other resources. NSF also supported the development of a website for the BPCNet Resource Portal. That website is under development at the University of Utah and will be announced when ready.  Below is a list of current USC/Viterbi resources that PIs can consider for inclusion in their BCP plans.  This page will be updated as additional information becomes available.

Broadening Participation Through K-12 STEM Outreach

For 40 years, USC Viterbi School of Engineering has collaborated with K-12 schools, teachers, and students to strengthen STEM pathways that broaden college and career options. Our programs and research-based interventions offer project-based experiences that support the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards and serve the nation’s urgent need for a STEM-ready workforce.

USC Viterbi K-12 STEM Outreach

STEM Educational Outreach Programs

USC Viterbi STEM Educational Outreach Programs (STEM-EOP) is a program of the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering whose mission is to increase the number of educationally disadvantaged and underrepresented K-12 students who matriculate to four-year universities and graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  STEM-EOP engages the university and underserved communities throughout Southern California by serving historically and educationally disadvantaged K-12 students to promote student learning through a pipeline of elementary schools through high schools leading to enrollment in four-year colleges and universities and majors in STEM fields.

Contact:  Darin Gray 

VAST - Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher

The USC Viterbi School of Engineering brings innovative STEM projects, programs, and professional development to K-12 schools and teachers in Southern California through VAST - Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher - the research-based component of USC Viterbi’s STEM outreach. VAST uses research results to improve the college and career pathways of under-represented minorities in high needs, at-risk schools. We mentor K-12 teachers and students on campus by embedding them in USC Viterbi faculty research labs.  Our goal is to facilitate USC Viterbi faculty and Ph.D. students in disseminating their research and to inspire the younger generations, their families and teachers through the creativity and social benefits of research in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Contact:  Dr. Katie Mills

Code Dojo

USC Viterbi VAST Code Dojo takes place during National Computer Science Education Week, with USC Viterbi students majoring in Computer Science available for virtual outreach to students who want to learn more about coding or participate in the Hour of Code.

Contact:  Dr. Katie Mills

Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA)

MESA is a program of the University of Southern California (under contract with the University of California) that serves educationally and economically disadvantaged students and, to the extent possible by law, emphasizes participation by students from groups with low rates of eligibility for four-year colleges. MESA provides a pipeline of academic services from elementary through university level to increase the number of these students who graduate with degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Activities include MESA Day projects and competitions, Catalina Island STEM Exploration, STEM field trips, Student Leadership Retreat, College and Career Day, MESA Day Project Academy, Annual Awards Gala, and Robotics Invitational.

Contact:  Darin Gray

Mission Science

Mission Science is a hands-on, minds-on school-based STEM program, primarily supported by USC Good Neighbors, where elementary and middle school students become “tinkerers and makers” while learning STEM concepts in an informal atmosphere by working on projects, experiments and activities. The sessions are led by undergraduate USC Viterbi students who design projects and document student success. Students also participate in field trips and open-ended inquiry based projects with their teachers.

For over 20 years, years, Mission Science has provided authentic STEM experiences for over 6,000 elementary and middle school students. Many of which have pursued careers in the STEM fields. Mission Science currently serves over 300 elementary and middle school students and 11 teachers.

Contact:  Darin Gray

Robotics and Coding Academy

Young, curious minds can create smart robots that explore and discover the world around them. The USC Viterbi Robotics & Coding Academy for 4th and 5th graders at 32nd St./USC Magnet School, Dr. Theodore T. Alexander Jr. Science Center School, and Foshay Learning Center helps develop students’ technology and engineering skills through hands-on learning with robots, mentored by USC students. 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 and partially funded by USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s VAST (Viterbi Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher), with additional support from the National Science Foundation Expeditions program.

Contact:  Dr. Katie Mills

Viterbi STEM Schools Partnership

Viterbi STEM Schools Partnership is collaboration between K-12 schools and  USC Viterbi STEM Educational Outreach Programs (STEM-EOP) that offers expanded opportunities for authentic STEM experiences for students interested in STEM and professional development for their teachers.

Contact:  Darin Gray

Robotics Open House

This is a fun day with all the robotics research labs providing demonstrations every half hour for groups of 15 people, plus some hands-on fun and games. The labs are spread out in four buildings, so there is a lot to walk around and see. Visitors can move at their own pace to attend as many lab demonstrations as they want and take a break any time to explore campus, find something to eat (bring your own lunch or use a campus dining facility), and enjoy the day. The most crowded time is when the schools visit between 9 am - 2 pm, and the more leisurely afternoon pace is perfect for after school groups, clubs, families, and robotics industry executives.

Contact:  Dr. Katie Mills

Summer Programs

We offer exciting summer engineering programs for middle and high school students. The programs include research opportunities, workshops and classes introducing students to engineering, plus summer engineering camps.

Building Opportunities with Teachers in Schools (BOTS)

Building Opportunities with Teachers in Schools (BOTS) fosters digital equity in three East LA elementary schools via a Community of Practice of 10 teachers & USC Robotics, co-creating scalable & affordable in school robotics/coding to build student computational thinking & support LAUSD Tech goals.

Contact:  Dr. Katie Mills

STEM Spotlight

USC Viterbi’s K-12 VAST Outreach program offers the STEM Spotlight series to give students, schools, and families an in-depth look at engineering activities, research, and study/career paths.

Contact:  Dr. Katie Mills

Broader Impacts Resources

USC Viterbi’s Adopt-a-School, Adopt-a-Teacher (VAST) Program works closely with faculty to create innovative, “out-of-the-box” partnerships with local schools and/or nonprofit organizations serving underrepresented minority teachers, students, and/or families.

Contact:  Dr. Katie Mills

Broadening Participation through Student Retention Efforts

Center for Engineering Diversity

Established in 1975, the Center for Engineering Diversity (CED) exists to assist The Viterbi School of Engineering in the recruitment, retention, and graduation of students from historically underrepresented backgrounds pursuing engineering degrees. This includes African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students.  The goal of CED is to foster a community of underrepresented scholars focused on academic, professional, and personal excellence. By partnering with Viterbi student affairs professionals, faculty, and corporate representatives, CED hosts programs and events that enhance students’ skills and build their networks for success.

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

Women in Engineering

USC’s Women in Engineering (WIE) offers professional, academic and social services to the women of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. The goal of WIE is provide resources and overall support that will address the unique challenges female engineers face. WIE’s mission is to allow our female students to find personal and professional success, both during their time at USC Viterbi and beyond.

Contact: Monica De Los Santos

Student Organizations
Alpha Omega Epsilon

Alpha Omega Epsilon is a professional engineering and technical sciences sorority founded in 1983 that strives to provide friendship, leadership, and professionalism to all members of our organization, community, and professions.

Contact:  Monica De Los Santos

Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers aims to stimulate women to achieve their potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering profession as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity.

Contact:  Monica De Los Santos

Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers

SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.  SHPE's vision is a world where Hispanics are highly valued and influential as the leading innovators, scientists, mathematicians and engineers.

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

Project Athena

Project Athena is a student organization at USC that works year-long to plan AthenaHacks, an all-female hackathon. We strive to create an event in which people from all backgrounds and skill levels can learn and build together.

Contact:  Monica De Los Santos

Women in Computing

WIC seeks to create a support ­group environment for undergraduate and graduate women pursuing computer science or computer engineering degrees. We do not exclude anyone, especially based on gender; all who possess a general interest in computing are welcome. Through speakers, panels, corporate recruiting, and mentoring events, WIC exposes women to different career paths and fuels an innovative spirit through various workshops. It is the organization’s intent to help women in underrepresented majors such as computer science and computer engineering gain encouragement from their mentors and peers. WIC fosters a collaborative atmosphere that helps women remain on the computing path.

Contact:  Dr. Yan Liu

Girls in Tech

Girls in Tech University is dedicated to empowering, educating, and mentoring female college students interested in entering the technology field. The goal of the program is to create excitement about the industry and encourage those college and university students considering a career in technology to pursue their ambition and meet like-minded women in industry. Girls in Tech University hopes to provide educational resources, business oriented networking events and empowerment & leadership related seminars and workshops at the university level.

Contact:  Monica De Los Santos

National Society of Black Engineers

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), with more than 29,000 members, is one of the largest student-governed organizations in the country. Founded in 1975, NSBE now boasts more than 394 college, pre-college, and technical professional/alumni chapters in the US and abroad. These chapters are divided into six geographical regions. By assisting students at the collegiate, pre-college, and alumni level, NSBE has accomplished more for the black engineering community than any other organization in the world. Throughout the year, NSBE implements new and innovative ideas on the chapter, regional, and national levels.

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

Programs / Initiatives
Academic Success Series

To assist students in reaching their full academic potential, we offer workshops and discussions on topics such as:

  • Goal setting, Study Skills and Self Care
  • Time Management and Organization
  • Benefits of Academic Coaching
  • Study Strategies, Stress Management and Self-Care

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

Professional Development Series

This series provides students opportunities to engage with corporate representatives while attaining skills to successfully navigate the career development process:

  • “Inclusion in Tech” with Google
  • “Ins and Outs of the Recruiting Process” with Zynga
  • “Lunch and Learn” with Intel
“Day in the Life of an Engineer” with Edwards Lifesciences
  • Mock interviews
  • Internship Panel with VISA
  • Office Hours with Raytheon

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

CED Mentor Program

New Viterbi students often have questions about classes, internships, research, study strategies, and balancing academics with life outside of class.  Our mentoring program places a small group of new incoming students with an upper-class student that will serve as their mentor.  In addition to benefitting from the mentor’s guidance and advice, students have the chance to connect with their peers and begin creating their community.

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

Dine with Faculty

This program is designed to encourage and foster student-faculty engagement, which is particularly important to student retention. These small, informal meals give undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to learn more about faculty members’ backgrounds and careers while discovering mutual interests.

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

Community Building

Community-building activities allow students to build a wide, supportive network of peers, faculty, staff and industry representatives.  Each year we celebrate the beginning of the semester with a Fall Welcome and a Spring Kick Off event.  We close the end of the academic year with our banquet, “A Celebration of Excellence.”

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

Viterbi Scholars Institute

The Viterbi Scholar Institute (VSI) is a high achievement program designed to enhance the transition to USC for engineering students from underrepresented backgrounds. Institute participants will gain a competitive edge by engaging with faculty, staff, and students in a supportive community environment. The four-week residential program will prepare students for the complex coursework and academic rigor of Viterbi engineering.

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

WiSE Merit Award

The purpose of the WiSE Merit Award is to provide advanced doctoral students with an opportunity to be recognized for their achievements. Surveys have shown that the attrition rate of female doctoral students is significantly higher than that of male doctoral students. The WiSE Program hopes this fellowship will provide support and motivation to students on an academic trajectory who demonstrate dedication to increasing the representation of women in science and engineering.

Contact:  Dr. Malancha Gupta

Broadening Participation through Exposure to Research and Graduate Study

WiSE Undergraduate Research Experience

The WiSE Undergraduate Research Experience is available to women undergraduate students at USC who are interested in pursuing careers in research.

Contact:  Dr. Malancha Gupta

Viterbi Summer Institute

The Viterbi Scholar Institute (VSI) is a high achievement program designed to enhance the transition to USC for engineering students from underrepresented backgrounds. Institute participants will gain a competitive edge by engaging with faculty, staff, and students in a supportive community environment. The four-week residential program includes participation in a faculty supervised research project.

Contact:  Traci Thomas Navarro

USC Young Researchers Program

The USC Young Researchers Program brings motivated local inner-city public school students to USC to do hands-on research under the guidance of faculty and graduate students. Through their experience working in USC labs as well as through workshops designed to introduce students to university-level science, students gain scientific and communication skills, confidence in their ability to succeed at an advanced level, a better understanding of current research in the sciences, and information and connections to help them attend college and pursue careers in science.

Contact:  Dr. Malancha Gupta

Broadening Participation Through Student Recruitment Efforts

Graduate Top-off Fellowship

Graduate Top-Off Fellowship funds are available to facilitate the recruitment of outstanding doctoral students to USC. The funds provide four incoming Ph.D. students in WiSE-eligible departments in the USC Dornsife College and four incoming Ph.D. students in the Viterbi School of Engineering with a WiSE Fellowship to supplement their financial support packages. Each WiSE Fellowship will carry a stipend of $5,000 and may be renewed for a second year pending satisfactory progress verified by the faculty advisor.

Contact:  Dr. Malancha Gupta

Reach Graduate Engineering Program

REACH is a graduate engineering preview program that takes place at USC’s University Park Campus near downtown Los Angeles. Round-trip transportation, lodging and meals for REACH participants will be paid for by the USC Viterbi School. Attendees who later apply to the USC Viterbi School of Engineering for graduate study will also have their graduate application fee waived. Through REACH, under-represented engineering achievers get firsthand exposure to exciting research opportunities, world-class faculty, rich academic programs, and stellar student services and mentoring resources.

Contact: Kelly Goulis


Published on October 3rd, 2018

Last updated on September 15th, 2021