SICS (formerly AISICS) originated in a partnership between the Navajo Community College (NCC) in Tsaile, AZ, and the Department of Information and Computer Science (ICS) at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), which we initiated in 1991 by a visit to the NCC campus. This then led to the development of a pilot program for NCC students, organized during the Summer of 1992. Results of this program, which was co-sponsored by the Navajo Nation Scholarship Office, the University of California, Irvine, and several corporate sponsors, were extremely encouraging. Over fifty percent of the participants are now pursuing degrees in Computer Science; some have transferred from NCC to our campus where they are working toward their Bachelor of Science degree in Information and Computer Science.

The academic component of the program is an intensive four-week series of classes in which students complete university-level course work. Taught by UCI faculty and Ph.D. candidates, course topics include computers & computer science, computer networks & telecommunications, information systems, the Internet and general study skills, To encourage serious study, students compete for several scholarships based upon achievement during the academic portion of the Institute. These scholarships are awarded directly to the student's educational institution to cover tuition expenses for the following year.

The internship component of the program is offered during the second four weeks. The goal of the internship is to provide students an opportunity to explore the technological work force and to establish mentor relationships with business professionals. This experience provides the background for career decision-making. In summer 1998, students were assigned to 7 different companies including Boeing North America, Rockwell, Silicon Systems, Toshiba America, TRW, Unisys and Xerox.

Throughout the eight weeks, a variety of cultural and social activities are planned to create a sense of community among the group. The gatherings also provide structured time for students to informally talk with faculty about high-tech careers and technical issues facing tribal communities.

Lubomir Bic, Ph.D., is the founder and faculty director of SICS. Dr. Bic has been teaching Information & Computer Science at UCI for more than fifteen years. In addition to his teaching, Dr. Bic leads cutting-edge research projects in parallel & distributed computing and biomedical simulation.

As a non-residential program, SICS is geared for students who have demonstrated a commitment to Native American education currently living in southern California. SICS staff work closely with southern California Indian Centers and tribal colleges to market the Institute. Potential students must complete an application which includes a statement of purpose, GPA and letters of recommendation. These applications are reviewed by the SICS faculty and administrators who select the final participants.

Evaluation components consist of surveys and interviews conducted at the conclusion of each program. In addition, SICS graduates are tracked on a database to monitor their educational and business pursuits. Early reports indicate that more than 90% of SICS graduates have continued higher education and more than 80% have gone on to pursue a bachelor's degree at a four-year institution.

Located in the heart of the third largest American Indian community in the country, UCI is well positioned to host an outreach program such as SICS.


SICS Home - History - Mission - Need - Current status - Community - Sponsors

Information and Computer Science
University of California, Irvine,
Irvine, CA 92697-3425

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