Two faculty members from the College of St. Scholastica have been awarded nearly $1 million from the National Science Foundation to create a rare type of program.

Jennifer Rosato and Chery Takkunen received the money to help improve and expand computer science education in high schools. Rosato is an assistant professor of computer information systems and Takkunen is an associate professor and chairwoman of graduate education programs for the college’s School of Education.

The money will be used to create and offer an online course for teachers, to pay them stipends and to offer support and mentoring during the school year. One example of what teachers will learn is how to teach students to develop mobile apps, considered a way to get kids excited about computer science careers.

Takkunen said the lack of students entering computer science fields is a “national problem.”

The three-year program will start this summer, with 30 slots in its first year, 60 in its second and 90 in its third. It’s free for teachers, and the deadline to apply is March 1.

The college also is offering a new computer science education certificate online program, starting this summer. The 12-credit program will be available to teachers nationwide; those in St. Scholastica’s online graduate education program can use the program as an elective. It will focus on helping teachers recruit and retain underrepresented students, such as girls and students of color, in computer science classes.

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