Loyola University Chicago

Loyola University Chicago

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Loyola University Chicago Department of Computer Science
Nets $600,000 Grant from the National Science Foundation
Grant-Funded Program Will Help Fill Nation’s Computing Professionals Shortage

CHICAGO, April 24, 2008 – Loyola University Chicago’s Department of Computer Science has received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support Loyola programs that enhance the supply of computing professionals. The majority of the funds will be earmarked for scholarships for academically talented students who are in need of financial support to continue their studies in a computing-related field.

The NSF grant will support Loyola’s ExCEL (Excellence in Computing at Every Level) program, which cultivates a community of scholars across all academic levels and a variety of computing-related degree programs. In addition to various specializations within the computer science department, ExCEL offers interdisciplinary degree programs in conjunction with the departments of mathematics and statistics, physics, biology, and chemistry.

The ExCEL program will provide more than 100 one-year scholarship awards of $5,000 to students that will supplement other sources of financial aid they may also be receiving, and the students may apply for renewal of the award for up to four years. The funds also allow students to benefit from a variety of support services, including special mentoring by advanced students, faculty, and alumni. Awards will be given to students at a variety of academic levels, with a focus on attracting and retaining students who are considering computing-related careers.

“It is important for students to realize that there is tremendous demand for trained professionals in computing disciplines,” said Dr. Ronald Greenberg, director of the ExCEL program. “Many students have been scared off during brief economic slowdowns, but the fact is, there has been a steady trend of job growth in this field. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections expect this trend to continue for a long time.”

“Computer science can be combined with virtually any other field, and a vast array of career options are available. Our students typically receive multiple job offers regardless of which computing degree they pursue,” says Dr. Chandra Sekharan, chair of the Department of Computer Science.

Curricular innovations developed in the computer science programs at Loyola, industry support, and an active high school outreach program were important in demonstrating to the NSF that Loyola has the ability to bring more students into the area of computing studies. The most interdisciplinary of Loyola’s computing degrees is its two-year-old bioinformatics program, which incorporates required courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics and statistics, along with computer science.

“In the short time since the program’s start, the number of bioinformatics majors has already reached 30 students,” said Dr. Howard Laten, director of the bioinformatics program. “In addition to the growing interest among students, we have been pleased to see the interdisciplinary nature of the program fortified by the addition of Dr. Catherine Putonti, a new faculty member in biology and computer science.”

Loyola’s ExCEL program will begin accepting scholarship applications during the 2008-2009 school year. For more information on how to obtain an application, please contact Ronald Greenberg at rgreen@luc.edu.

About Loyola University Chicago
Committed to preparing people to lead extraordinary lives, Loyola University Chicago was founded in 1870 and is the nation’s largest Jesuit, Catholic University. Loyola has a total enrollment of more than 15,500 students, which includes nearly 10,000 undergraduates hailing from all 50 states and 82 foreign countries. The University has four campuses: three in the greater Chicago area and one in Rome, Italy. Loyola also serves as the U.S. host university to the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies in Beijing, China. Loyola’s ten schools and colleges include arts and sciences, business administration, communication, education, graduate studies, law, medicine, nursing, continuing and professional studies, and social work. Loyola offers 71 undergraduate majors, 71 undergraduate minors, 85 master’s degrees, and 31 doctoral degrees. Recognizing Loyola’s excellence in education, U.S.News & World Report has ranked Loyola consistently among the “top national universities,” and named the University a “best value” in its 2008 rankings. For more information, please visit LUC.edu.

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