American Indian high school students whose futures lie in computer science got a small taste of what’s in store by participating in AISICS, the American Indian Summer Institute in Computer Sciences. The summer program at UC Irvine is funded by the National Science Foundation.
This summer, students from five states and 11 tribes lived in campus dorms during the three-week class. They worked with Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences professors and graduate students. And, in a unique twist, they invited elders and storytellers into the mix to develop interactive story projects that combined computer game technology with American Indian tradition.
A closing ceremony was held Aug. 2 on the sixth-floor patio of Donald Bren Hall for students and their parents. It included a traditional ceremony affirming students’ commitment to using their educations to improve the lives of American Indians.
AISICS has been offered most summers since 1991. Recently, it has been led by Nikishna Polequaptewa, director of the new American Indian Resource Program. He works to instill a sense of pride and belonging in American Indian students at UCI as well as at elementary and high schools throughout Southern California. The AISICS program is directed by Yolanda Leon of UCI’s Center for Educational Partnerships. Daniel Frost, Department of Informatics lecturer, is the principal investigator on the NSF grant.