BFOIT - Berkeley Foundation for Opportunities in Computer Science

Upcoming Events:

  • High School Students:
    June 29th - July 24th, 2015 this program replaces the previously scheduled August 3rd-14th high school program.

    BFOIT has partnered with the University of California Berkeley and the International Computer Science Institute to provide high school students with the opportunity to learn more about security and privacy in computing in a new 4-week summer program called CY-BEAR which is scheduled to take place June 29th-July 24th, 2015. The deadline for applications is April 1, 2015.   (Application Here)

    Stanford University will host a free two-week summer program focused on Artificial Intelligence for rising 10th grade girls. Visit http://sailors.stanford.edu for more information or join the google group at http://groups.google.com/group/sailors-community.

  • Middle School Students:
    BFOIT will NOT host the summer institute program for middle school students in 2015. However, please watch this site for information about other programs under development.

News:

About BFOIT

The Berkeley Foundation for Opportunities in Information Technology was born in 1998 when the Industrial Advisory Board of U.C. Berkeley’s Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department recommended that a private entity be created to address the lack of racial, ethnic, and gender diversity in information technology fields in California post-secondary schools and to assist area schools in increasing opportunities for minority and female students and diversifying information technology fields. Its long-term goal is to make the student body composition of information technology departments of these schools more reflective of the demographics of the state.

BFOIT’s programs are built upon a "branching-but-leaky pipeline" model. In this, we acknowledge that a young adult interested in a career may choose from a range of educational opportunities. However, along this path there are several key points where many students fall from this course. To this end, we work to shepherd a relatively small number of students through this, while developing programs that aim to patch these leaks in the pipeline in the most cost-effective manner. Consequently, BFOIT’s approach is to develop a pool of committed students by building relationships. These students are matched to appropriate institutions and guided through the learning process from late high school to graduation from a tertiary institution. The interconnected programs develop potential college students, recruit them into the schools, and work to increase student retention and graduation.

The demographics of California computer science undergraduates remain unacceptably narrow. A large pool of talent is being missed because of this facet of the "digital divide," in which a substantial percentage of the state’s population is underrepresented in the student bodies of our leading public colleges and universities. The students served by BFOIT are Bay Area high school and college students who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in computer science fields. The cultural and social backgrounds of these students are quite diverse. These young men and women are intelligent students who show an interest in computer science. Thus, they have the potential to be the economic and technological leaders of the near future. However, most face social and economic barriers to pursuing a career in information technology. The often-neglected potential of these students provides an opportunity for us to help narrow the digital divide.

Three aspects set it apart from existing college and university outreach programs and most other nonprofit organizations that focus on diversity and education. First, as a private organization, BFOIT can target students based on race and gender. Second, by working closely with the educational institutions it benefits, BFOIT can leverage pro bono assistance and resources. Consequently, the organization achieves a great impact at relatively little cost. Finally, BFOIT’s innovative program works with students from high school to after college, providing assistance as they follow a variety of educational paths.