Nearly 270 high school students will participate in a computer science programming competition at Marquette University

April 11, 2016

Nearly 270 high school students from 15 Wisconsin communities will participate in a computer science programming competition on Wednesday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Marquette University.

The event, sponsored by Marquette's Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Department, is funded in part by a $35,000 CS4HS grant from Google. Many of the students attending the competition are learning computer science in their schools with the support of a $1 million grant that Marquette received in 2014 from the National Science Foundation.

"We've doubled the number of students from a year ago because, in large part, the NSF grant has allowed us to develop high school teachers who are now teaching computer science in Wisconsin high schools," said Dr. Dennis Brylow, associate professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science. "This wonderful grant has created the supply of students to support this competition."

The three-year NSF grant seeks to double the number of teachers who teach computer science and coding in Wisconsin high schools. When the grant period began two years ago there were only 32 advanced placement computer programming classes in Wisconsin's 500 high schools, and between 30 and 60 teachers doing some computer science teaching in other schools.

"We are on pace to reach our goal of doubling the number of computer science teachers in Wisconsin over three years," Brylow said.

Computer science has been greatly expanded in Milwaukee Public Schools due to the grant, and all sophomores at Morse Marshall High School now take computer science. In addition, six of the 10 largest high schools in Milwaukee now have or are exploring computer science courses, Brylow said.

"There are 1,300 students in Wisconsin taking computer science courses at places that wouldn't have it without the grant we received and administer," Brylow said.

During the competition, students will work on programming problems from 9 a.m. to noon. An awards ceremony begins at 1 p.m. with educational gadgetry being distributed as prizes to the winning teams.

Participating high schools are Baraboo, Brookfield Central, Brookfield East, Homestead, Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Kettle Moraine, Menomonee Falls, Neenah, New Berlin Eisenhower, Pewaukee, University School of Milwaukee, Verona, Wauwatosa East, Wauwatosa West, Whitefish Bay, Whitewater and Whitnall.