Project Profile

Developing Digital Makers in the Coding Makerspace to Include Boys of Color in Computer Science Learning and Cybersecurity Workforce Development


This project will advance efforts of the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) program to better understand and promote practices that increase students' motivations and capacities to pursue careers in fields of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM).  The Coding Makerspace is providing hands-on digital maker projects and support for boys of color to earn certification in Python, the computer programming language related to cybersecurity.  The Makerspace is also exposing boys of color ages eight and above to research-based and best practices in computing and cybersecurity education.  Additionally, the Makerspace is collaborating with local cyber security companies to gain real-world experience through shadowing and/or field placement opportunities.  As a result, the Makerspace is addressing the longstanding underrepresentation of racially diverse students in computer science and increasing their interest in cybersecurity opportunities in higher education, employment, and entrepreneurship. 

The Coding Makerspace has great potential to advance knowledge on ways to achieve the goals of equity, diversity, access, and inclusion of racially diverse students in computer science education.  The Makerspace is providing boys of color with that support to be creators, not consumers, of computing and cybersecurity innovations that will contribute to society. The project is also facilitating the development of new knowledge on how to broaden the impact of the hands-on computer science education needed to increase racially diverse student interest and cybersecurity workforce preparation.  In addition, the Makerspace is addressing the increasing need for all students, particularly underrepresented young men of color, to prepare for the expected growth of cybersecurity jobs that protects the country's national security.


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Principal Investigator(s)


Award Number
Project Duration
2017 - 2019
Changing Expectations, Austin, TX
Project Work State
Target Gradespan(s)
Elementary school (K-5)
Middle school (6-8)
High school (9-12)
Project Setting(s)
Informal Education
Geographic Location(s)
Project Status
Computer and informational technology science
Additional Disciplines
Computer Science - programming
Target Participants
Youth / students
Parents / caregivers / families
Black/African American participants
Hispanic/Latino participants
English learners
Students eligible for free lunch or reduced-price lunch
Participants with disabilities
Additional Target Participants
Students eligible for Free/reduced price lunch
Black or African American
Hispanic or Latino