September 17, 2020

Howard University Receives 2020 CMD-IT University Award for Retention of Minorities and Students With Disabilities in Computer Science

CHICAGO, Sept. 17, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) announced Howard University as the recipient of the fourth annual CMD-IT University Award for Retention of Minorities and Students with Disabilities in Computer Science.  The University Award recognizes US institutions that have demonstrated a commitment and shown results for the retention of students from underrepresented groups in undergraduate Computer Science programs over the last five years. The award is focused on the following underrepresented groups: African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and People with Disabilities.  Howard University received the award on September 17th at the 2020 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.  The award included a $15,000 cash award.

The CMD-IT University Award decision was based on Howard University’s impressive quantitative reported results, which reflected high retention and graduation rates, and qualitative reporting on their various retention programs.  In particular, Howard University highlighted the following programs as directly impacting retention:

Google in Residence (GIR) is a program that embeds Google engineers as faculty at Howard and about ten Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the United States.  The GIR program takes a software engineer working in Silicon Valley and gives them the opportunity to expose the students to projects, problems, and technology that Silicon Valley has solved or is currently solving in our introductory to Computing (CS0) course. The GIR program has been going strong for more than six years and has been a springboard to students studying for and preparing for Silicon Valley internships.

The Howard West initiative is a program that immerses computer science undergraduate students in Silicon Valley culture, projects, and problems. The semester long program was first piloted in the Summer of 2017 at Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters. Students were co-taught by a Howard professor and a Google engineer in classes such as Software Engineering, Mobile Applications Development, and Machine Learning.  The Howard CS Program is in talks with other tech companies to expand the initiative for students to be exposed to companies that now have larger east-coast footprints.

The Howard University CS Bootcamp Program is a peer-tutoring initiative that is designed to help Computer Science undergraduates in the Introduction to Computing, Introduction to Computer Science and the Introductory to Data Structures courses. Twice a week, underclassmen attend Bootcamp sessions run by juniors and seniors to gain extra practice and assistance with concepts covered in each of the three classes.

BIT (Bison Innovation and Talent) Awards were created to recognize students that contribute to the program outside of the classroom.   Award winners receive recognition through posters and newsletter articles.

“We, the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, are extremely honored to have been recognized by winning the 2020 CMD-IT University Award for Retention of Minorities and Students with Disabilities in Computer Science. We are committed to creating computing curriculum that is socially and culturally aware, while maintaining the quality of our program. We have not lost sight our mission: to provide a world-class global educational experience for Black and Brown students. We will continue to pursue pioneering initiatives to improve retention of our students. We thank Dr. Gloria Washington for her work in assisting us with being recognized on a national stage. In Truth and Service, the Faculty of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department,” said Dr. Ahmed Rubaai, Professor and Chair, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, Howard University.

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About CMD-IT

The vision of CMD-IT is to contribute to the national need for an effective workforce in computing and IT through inclusive programs and initiatives focused on minorities and people with disabilities. CMD-IT’s vision is accomplished through its mission to insure that underrepresented groups are fully engaged in computing and IT and promotes innovation that enriches, enhances and enables underrepresented communities. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:  Jerri Barrett,