Pierce College wins grant for computer science program

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $493,000 grant to the Pierce College District over the next three years to open the door to the computer science field for people of all cultural backgrounds and learning styles.
Pierce is one of only six Washington community colleges to receive an Advanced Technological Education grant in the last 13 years.
It is also the largest NSF grant awarded to any institution of higher education in Pierce County.
“This project is to help us teach students to identify and adapt their learning and personality styles in order to successfully graduate and enter the computer field. Too many students think that only the stereotypical computer ‘nerd’ can complete the degrees, get employed, and have a successful career in this field,” said Donna Pagoria, one of the directors of the project.
She continued: “We want to show that them that there is a need for every learning and personality style in the computer world – actually in every career field – and how much the employers can benefit when the student understands, applies, and/or adapts their personal styles to the employers needs.
Pagoria brought her knowledge of the CIS programs and teamed up with psychology instructor Tom Link to assess teaching and learning styles.
They identified ways current practice might be adjusted to contribute to the success of all the students regardless of learning style, age or culture.
“The interdisciplinary approach of the project makes it an exciting model for other parts of the college,” said Michele Johnson, president of Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and chief instructional officer for the district.
“We are honored to be recognized by a grant-maker of such stature,” said Cherry Tinker, director of the Pierce College Foundation.
The Foundation was responsible for gathering information for the grant application.
The grant is one of three federal grants awarded to Pierce College in recent years.
The GEAR UP project at Washington High School to encourage at-risk youth to pursue post-secondary education and TRIO Student Success Services is located at Pierce College Fort Steilacoom to assist nontraditional and at-risk populations.
Grant activities began July 1.