Two grants totaling nearly $2.3 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will support UCLA research on education in the U.S. and public health in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
A three-year award of $1.5 million will help Jane Margolis and Jean Ryoo, researchers at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, discover which teaching practices and social supports are most effective in engaging high school students from underrepresented groups in computer science education.
Extending the research scope of a recent National Science Foundation grant, the Gates Foundation's funding will enable scholars to focus on the experiences of students of color, young women and English-language learners from underserved schools in urban and rural settings. By including students' perspectives, the researchers hope to inform policies and programs that will help all students succeed in classes and, eventually, in computer science careers.
Another grant of approximately $800,000 will advance research on infectious diseases and immunizations by Anne Rimoin, an associate professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The funds will support research and training for local health workers who evaluate population immunity to poliovirus and other diseases in the Congo — efforts to which the Gates Foundation has contributed $4.1 million since 2012. By developing innovative survey methods and providing data analysis training, Rimoin and her team are helping to identify gaps in vaccination coverage and prevent future outbreaks.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's support for computer science education and global immunization through UCLA aligns with its broader goals to improve the U.S. education system and international health and well-being. Its recent grants to UCLA are part of the $4.2 billion UCLA Centennial Campaign, which is scheduled to conclude in December 2019 during UCLA’s 100th anniversary year.