Enhancing Computer and IT Skills of Rural South Carolina High School Students

Dr. Jim Martin
Department of Computer Science
Clemson University
email: jim.martin@cs.clemson.edu
phone:  864 656 4529

Short cut to the current Rising Juniors  Emerging Scholars Course  web site
Short cut to the current Rising Seniors  Emerging Scholars Course  web site

The Clemson Emerging Scholars Partnership Program

The Clemson Emerging Scholars Program is an outreach iniitative that targets students from public high schools in some of South Carolina's poorest counties.  The program's objectives are orientation, motivation and preparation for post-secondary education.  Each year Clemson will select 50 students from the 5 public high schools (Wade Hampton, Denmark-Olar, Estill, Southside, Orangeburg-Wilkinson, and Bamberg-Ehrhardt) who are completing their freshman year (9'th grade).  These students will participate in a 3-year, multi-faceted, cost-free program.

There is voluminous research that documents the inverse relationship between family income and college participation.  It also confirms that the college participation rate is dramatically higher for the children of parents who went to college than for those of parents who did not go to college.  Accordingly, the impact of programs that enhance the college participation of economically at risk students can potentially extend beyond the students to affect entire families.

The major components of the program include three sequential on-campus programs at Clemson University, beginning the summer after 9th grade.  The first summer for the "rising sophomores" will be a 1-week residential program that will include baseline academic assessments, with emphasis on reading and basic math skills, and experiential learning designed for self-confidence, trust and collaborative learning development.  The second summer for "rising juniors" will be a 2-week residential program to re-evaluate basic skills (reading, writing and math), and provide training in academic self-discipline and standardized test skills.  The third summer for the "rising seniors" will be a 3-week residential program that simulates as closely as possible the first 3 weeks of school for new college freshman.  These students are enrolled  in 5 mini-courses (lab science, social science, art, English and math). In addition, a series of workshops, seminars and feedback sessions will be conducted for the students and/or their parents throughout each school year, utilizing the resources available through the Extension Service, alumni mentors, University student mentors, etc..

For more information on Emerging Scholars please see the following pointers:
Clemson University's Emerging Scholars web site

In the news:

Outreach Plan

The ‘digital divide’ continues to grow within the United States.  The problem is even more disturbing when high speed broadband Internet access is considered.  According to PEW,  24% of all Americans have high-speed access at home however  only 10% of rural Americans go online from home with high-speed connections .  Unfortunately, it is not difficult to find counties in South Carolina where the penetration of broadband access is significantly less than 10%.  While this is in part due to availability of broadband service in rural locations, a significant part of the explanation involves the economic, educational and social barriers that impede rural families from exposure to computers, information technology (I

T) and the Internet. This proposal addresses the digital divide within South Carolina.  By leveraging the computer and IT skills of Clemson’s Computer Science Department and the existing Emerging Scholars Program we can efficiently address the core issues.  We propose to develop and teach a set of computer related skills courses to Emerging Scholars participants.  To maximize this investment,  it is vital  to have the participants share these skills with friends and peers in their local school.  Therefore, we further propose: 1)to provide corporate donated laptops to each participating graduate of the proposed computer training program ; 2)to train and facilitate  program participants to start computer clubs at participating schools; 3)to provide a computer and software for each participating school.

The complete plan can be found here : PLAN

Research Agenda



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last updated 6/11/2007