University of New Orleans students Jaiya Bass and Roy Perez have been awarded a $6,000 Hosch Scholarship for the 2021-22 academic year. Bass and Perez, both computer science majors, are the inaugural recipients of the award established in honor of Fredrick Hosch, one of the original faculty members who helped start the computer science department at UNO.
Bass is a sophomore from New Orleans and Perez is a senior, whose family relocated from New Orleans to Florida after Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the monetary award, both students will receive mentoring from a member of Google’s software development team.
The Hosch Scholarship is funded by a UNO computer science graduate, currently a software engineer at Google, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Hosch joined the UNO faculty in 1972 and served as chair of the computer science department from 1982 to 1985 and from 1990 to 1994. He was a constant source of knowledge for students, faculty and staff until his retirement in 2006.
A goal of the scholarship is to increase diversity in the computer science field. Of all Americans earning degrees in computer science, only 6.9% identify as Hispanic or Latino, 3.1% identify as Black and 0.1% identify as Pacific Islander or Native American despite each group representing a significantly larger share of total population, according to the scholarship committee.
Women make up less than 22% of people earning a computer science degree while representing about half of the U.S. population.
The scholarship seeks to offer awards each year to two students majoring in computer science who come from underrepresented backgrounds in an effort to increase the number earning degrees in computer science and to help increase the diversity of minds that build the technology in use today.