University of New Orleans computer science students Alainna Roundtree and Natalia Bracamonte have been awarded a $6,000 Hosch Scholarship for the 2022-23 academic year. The award was established in honor of Fredrick Hosch, a former professor who helped start the computer science department at UNO.
Bracamonte, who graduated from Palo Alto High School in California, is entering her junior year as a computer science major. As a first-generation immigrant from Nicaragua, she is also the first in her family to attend college. She seeks to be a role model for her nephews and other young people in her community.
Bracamonte said her favorite part about computer science is that she gets to be creative and really use her imagination to solve the variety of problems presented in her classes.
Roundtree, who attended Mandeville High School, is beginning her sophomore year as a computer science major. As a first-generation college student, Roundtree said she appreciates the extensive resources available to her through the computer science department. Her favorite part about computer science is the challenge, Roundtree said.
Hosch, one of the original faculty members who helped start UNO’s computer science department, joined the UNO faculty in 1972. He served as department chair 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.
The Hosch Scholarship is funded by a UNO computer science graduate, currently a software engineer at Apple, who wishes to remain anonymous.
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. Further, 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.