Auburn Professor Receives Nearly $600,000 Grant from National Science Foundation

Sanjeev Baskiyar recently received a $594,352 grant from the National Science Foundation to be used for scholarships in Auburn's computer science and software engineering (CSSE) department.

Baskiyar's team includes department chair Kai H. Chang and Cheryl Seals, co-principal investigators, and Sean Forbes, who will assess the project.

"Any time we are able to provide funding to our students, we are excited about that," Chang said.

Baskiyar's grant proposal, "Educating Talented Scholars in Computer Science and Software Engineering," focused on a need to encourage interest in computing sciences among young students.

Recently, there has been a dip in the number of students in computing majors in the country, and the demand for graduates from the field is high, he said.

"The whole idea is to increase the student body in computing on this campus, and we also want to provide a support to students that come in through the program," Chang said.

The purpose of offering the scholarships is to attract high-caliber students to Auburn's CSSE program and improve student retention.

Baskiyar said he hopes the scholarships will promote CSSE for the betterment of Auburn University and society as a whole.

"In this country, science and technology... (are) not perceived as a hot area for high school students to get into," Chang said. "Hopefully, through this program, we will be able to attract more students into this field."

Approximately 55 scholarships of up to $10,000 will be offered over the next four years to undergraduate and graduate students.

Students must be citizens or permanent residents to receive a scholarship.

High school students will be selected for the scholarship based on their high school GPA, standardized test scores and financial need. A selection committee will decide which students will receive a scholarship.

Graduate students studying computer systems and embedded computing are eligible for a scholarship. Graduate students who receive an award will serve as mentors for undergraduate students.

The scholarships are contingent on students staying in the CSSE major, making progress in CSSE and maintaining a certain GPA.

Sean Forbes' job is to track the progress and success of the grant's funding, but not just with GPA's or numbers.

Forbes, an associate professor in education psychology, said educational experience cannot be measured, but must be analyzed from many angles.

"We are doing developmentally appropriate assessments," Forbes said.

Although it took two years of hard work for Baskiyar to write the grant proposal, his diligence paid off for the CSSE department and Auburn University.

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