College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

George Mason Computer Science Teacher Externship Program

February 3, 2022

FAIRFAX, Va.— George Mason University announces second year of a unique teaching externship for current and potential computer science teachers in D.C. and Virginia.

Thanks to the generous support of Google, the renewed program will provide selected public middle school and high school teachers with an externship at area technology companies during the summer of 2022 to showcase potential careers in computer science for their students. The chosen teachers will also complete an five-week companion graduate-level project-based learning course at George Mason University and will be awarded a generous stipend for their participation.

Google’s support for the externship program is part of a $250,000 gift to be used by the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) for equity-focused computing education. Shanika Hope, Director of Tech Education at Google, said the goal was “to provide the information, tools and services that help students build knowledge, fuel curiosity, and prepare for what’s next.”

Preference will be given to teachers who are interested in teaching computer science classes or becoming licensed to teach computer science or STEM courses, and teachers who are interested in integrating computer science into their instruction. We are dedicated to teachers and students in our most underserved communities and will prioritize applications from these areas and Title 1 schools. Interested teachers can apply HERE.

The program launched last year with Amazon. The externships allowed teachers to witness firsthand the type of work Amazon professionals conduct on a daily basis and to bring those experiences back to their students when preparing them for work in the industry. Teachers could tie curriculum to real-world applications by designing and implementing classroom activities — project- and work-based learning opportunities that would add relevance and meaning to students’ classroom learning. Teachers gained this knowledge by shadowing Amazon teams and having hands-on experiences in real world settings. By completing these externships and classroom experiences, teachers were able to develop curriculum and classroom materials that integrated current Amazon technologies, exposing their students to cutting edge technologies and relevant careers.

This year’s program, sponsored by Google, will place teachers in area industries. Those opportunities will be announced soon.

Dr. Erdogan Kaya, an assistant professor of computer science education at George Mason University and a former K-12 computer science teacher, will again teach an five-week-long course for selected teachers. The three-credit graduate course, Special Topics: Project-based Learning in Computer Science, will deepen teachers’ content knowledge and broaden their application of computer science in the classroom.

Participating teachers will develop a project-based learning lesson plan that implements design thinking by focusing on emerging computer science concepts such as robotics; artificial intelligence, particularly machine learning algorithms, including voice and video recognition; or cybersecurity. Teachers will also have an opportunity to participate in a free Praxis workshop in Fall 2022 in order to become licensed in computer science.

“George Mason University is committed to tackling the lack of diversity in computing education to foster more equity and representation in tech and tech enabled careers,” Hope said. “We are proud and excited to support George Mason University and look forward to supporting systems level change to broaden participation and transform educational pathways into tech for underrepresented students." Hope previously worked at Amazon, where she helped create the externship partnership with Mason.

The program will be led by Dr. Erdogan Kaya and Dr. Amy Hutchison from the School of Education in George Mason’s College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). Consistently ranked nationally by the U.S. News & World Report, CEHD’s School of Education has developed graduates who account for half of all education administrators and one third of all teachers in Northern Virginia.