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Just 83 Black students in Florida braved the AP Computer Science exam in 2013, but only 16 passed. Florida’s African-American test-takers had the lowest pass rate that year at just 19 percent. This is unacceptable — and Google is swooping in to save the day, FIU (Florida International University’s news outlet) reports.

Thanks to the Rise Up 4 CS project, which is funded by the 2015 Google RISE award — and facilitated through Georgia Tech — African-American STEM-minded high school students will be supplied with valuable resources to pass the AP Computer Science exam. Though this is a nationwide vision, Florida is a priority.

Florida International University will team up with Georgia Tech to provide Black high school students with undergraduate mentors and role models to expedite their growth in the computer science field. “Together,” FIU adds, “they hope to increase Florida’s pass rate number.”

“This was a calling that I couldn’t say no to. I’ve seen firsthand how strong an impact there is in being there for someone. A large percentage of these students are from my community and I want them to succeed and I want to show them how exciting computer science can be,” said Franklin Abado, an FIU student and co-leader of Rise Up 4 CS.


Up to 25 students will be enrolled in the program by Feb. 8. Rise Up 4 CS plans to provide its pupils with monthly in-person, three-hour weekend sessions and twice-a-week webinars — oh, and there’s a not-yet-disclosed financial incentive for participants, too.

Any Black American high school student enrolled in an AP Computer Science course is eligible. “Students need to attend a minimum of four sessions to qualify for the stipend; distance students could attend only the webinars and still qualify,” FIU said.

Interested? Email Pat McDermott-Wells at

“We are not going to just teach them programming – we are going to teach them life skills,” Abado said.

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