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Google Machine Learning Boot Camp Targets Women's Colleges

Computer science students at Bay Path University

Computer science students at Bay Path University (Photo: Bay Path University)

Google is helping people — especially women — who want to launch their computer science careers by delivering a free machine learning (ML) "boot camp" at five colleges around the country. The 10-week intensive training program will use a hands-on project approach that also incorporates non-technical skill development in project management, operations, self-presentation and leadership.

Class will run from 9:00 to 5:00 daily and include instruction teams with Google ML engineers working alongside college faculty and teaching assistants. Most of the programs are being delivered during summer months.

The five programs are taking place at:

The first four schools are women's colleges; however, both women and men were encouraged to apply for entry to the program.

The ML "intensive" will earn students nine credit hours at the host institutions. The only "ideal" pre-requisites are a basic college-level background in computer science and data science, as well as college-level applied statistics. But Google is even delivering those in pre-boot camp courses.

Besides providing instructors, Google will also cover the cost of tuition and on-campus room and board for those accepted into the program.

Successful graduates will be able to work with the college placement offices at the host institutions. Students will also have opportunities to interact with teams at Google and the company's business partners.

"We are delighted to be working with Google on our shared goal of increasing and broadening access to data science and engineering education, which we believe will benefit not just the participants in the program and their employers but also society at large, as they ensure that machine learning is applied in ways that challenge, rather than enforce, existing inequalities," said Ellen Spertus, a professor in computer science at Mills, in a statement. She also praised Google for covering housing and meals for the on-campus students, which showed recognition of "the difficulties" faced by individuals without "outside financial support."

Students at the participating institutions have been invited to participate in additional courses that introduce them to programming (Python) and "how to think like a data scientist." The ML boot camp was designed to be offered as a separate initiative.

"These courses complement and strengthen our long-standing computer science and information systems majors in engaging and exciting ways," said Sean Joyce, an assistant professor and chair of Computer Science at Heidelberg. "Our partnership with Google provides additional options for students who may or may not be majors but who recognize the importance of computational thinking and data analysis to their chosen fields of study."

"We could not be more pleased with the quality of the learning process," added Tom Loper, Bay Path associate provost. "Our faculty have truly enjoyed collaborating with their Google colleagues, as well as the faculty from other colleges and universities in the partnership."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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