Black and Latinx Girls in NYC Learn Cybersecurity Skills at NYU Tandon

Girls participate in the K12 Center for STEM Education CS4CS 2019 program at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering

New York City students and teachers from diverse backgrounds and all five boroughs are gathering virtually this summer for the eighth annual initiative by NYU Tandon’s Center for K12 STEM Education, one of the largest and most comprehensive university-based programs of free STEM summer workshops, classes, and labs in the region.

As part of its focus on diversity and serving students underrepresented in STEM fields, the Center is partnering with Girls, Inc. of New York City (GINYC), an independent affiliate of the national education and mentoring organization (Girls Inc.), to support the participation of additional Black and Latinx high school girls from Girls Inc. NYC programs in one of the Center’s most popular programs, Computer Science for Cyber Security (CS4CS). The Principle Quest Foundation funded the participation of the GINYC students. 

CS4CS, which is entirely supported by a generous grant from The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), gives high schoolers an introduction to a field with among the highest number of unfilled positions and fastest projected growth in demand for new talent. A three-week long introduction to the fundamentals of cybersecurity and computer science, the course educates and empowers a new generation of engineers in an inclusive environment that breaks down barriers that have historically led to the underrepresentation of women and minorities in STEM.

“We are very pleased to support the CS4CS program for the third year in a row. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we continue to offer education and enrichment to students that enables them to learn and grow. We look forward to our participation in the virtual program and in helping to develop tomorrow’s STEM leaders,” said Keisha Bell, Managing Director, Head of Diverse Talent Management and Advancement at DTCC.

“Educating young women in cybersecurity, probably one of the most critically needed professions for the nation’s future, is extraordinarily important,” commented Dr. Pamela Maraldo, CEO of Girls Inc. of New York City. “Introducing girls of color to this quickly growing profession will inspire them to pursue further education in a field that has excellent job prospects and career mobility. We are extremely pleased that the NYU Tandon School is giving the girls in our programs this incredible experience.”

This year, due to COVID-19, programs will be virtual during the course of the summer and CS4CS students were mailed laptops and other necessary supplies to complete the course.

African Americans represent just 9% of the U.S. STEM workforce, and Hispanics just 7%. Two years ago just 4% of U.S. engineering bachelor’s degrees were earned by African Americans and about 12% by Hispanic or Latino students.

“Black and Latinx students are still significantly underrepresented in STEM majors. While the numbers of women entering these fields is on the rise, there is much more that needs to be done to encourage Black and Latinx girls to consider lucrative careers in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Jelena Kovačević, Dean of the NYU Tandon School of Engineering. “As part of the CS4CS class, the Girls Inc. students will join a diverse and largely female environment in which they will be introduced to exciting cybersecurity skills like ‘white-hat’ hacking and digital forensics. We are happy to partner with Girls Inc. as part of our ongoing inclusivity efforts and Tandon’s commitment to inspire underrepresented populations to pursue careers in STEM.”

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