PEL Won the Second Best Paper Award at SIGCSE

Dr. Jody Clarke-Midura and her team won the SIGCSE 2018 Second Best Paper Award of 2018 for their paper "How Near Peer Mentoring Affects Middle School Mentees." The paper was a mixed-methods study: using both quantitative and qualitative data collection. The researchers examined how middle-school-aged youth relate to mentors who are closer in age and identity (near-pear mentors) while completing computer science/programming activities and tasks, as well as how such relatability influences their interest and self-efficacy in computer science (CS). The authors argue that “youth's interest in computer science can be sparked by providing them with role models who are relatable and who resonate with their identities." These findings are interesting and meaningful as they introduce a new gateway into recruiting more girls, and youth in general, into CS education. To read the entire abstract and learn more, go to PEL's website.

Middle School Mentors and Mentees at the App Camp

Middle School Mentors and Mentees at the App Camp


The majority of co-authors on this paper are members of Dr. Clarke-Midura’s Playful Explorations Lab (PEL). Their names, as they appear in order of authorship on the paper, are Frederick Poole, Katarina Pantic, Chongning Sun and Megan Hamilton. Dr. Vicki Allan from the Computer Science Department was also one of the co-authors on this paper. This paper is part of a larger study which includes teaching middle and high school youth how to program using mobile technologies and App Inventor through summer camps. For more information about the camps which will be held in June this year go to appcamp.usu.edu website.

The award for this paper came from SIGCSE, an international conference which will be held in Baltimore 2018, from February 21st -24th. The Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) consists of internationally renowned experts in the field of computer science education. According to their website, "The SIGGCSE Technical Symposium is the largest computing education conferences worldwide ... It attracts around 1,300 researchers, educators, and other individuals interested in improving computing education."





Dr. Jodi Clarke-Midura


Frederick Poole


Katarina Pantic


Chonging Sun


Megan Hamilton


Dr. Vicki Allan



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