Photo of El Centro at night, view from the parking lot

Monday, March 18, 2019

Northeastern Illinois University is one of nine colleges and universities from around the nation—and the only institution in the Midwest—that have partnered with Google to pilot the Computer Science Summer Institute Extension Program during the summer of 2019. This experience will take place at Northeastern’s El Centro location in the Avondale neighborhood of Chicago.

CSSI-Extension is a three-week introduction to computer science (CS) for graduating high school seniors with a passion for technology—especially students from historically underrepresented groups in the field.

“This partnership with Google means Northeastern will be able to open new doors to the tech industry for students who have been historically underserved and have the potential to succeed in the technology sector,” said El Centro Director Maria Luna-Duarte, who is spearheading the initiative for Northeastern. “They will be able to see themselves as software engineers, innovators and creators. Northeastern will provide these students with the tools to start their Computer Science degree and complete it in position to become gainfully employed upon graduation.”

Northeastern is now accepting applications at

“We have found that students who have more support and exposure before entering college are more likely to succeed during their college Computer Science pursuits,” said Northeastern Associate Professor of Computer Science Graciela Perera, who has collaborated with Luna-Duarte on this project.

Students are taught relevant soft skills for academic and real-world application. The curriculum, which provides students with knowledge and tools to tackle CS problems, culminates in a team project—the development of an app—which students present to their cohort and invited guests. Students also have opportunities to interact directly with Google engineers and take a field trip to a local Google office.

“We’re excited about this program and the opportunity to build confidence and community among students who have historically been underrepresented in STEM career fields,” said Ray Sawyer, a Student Development Specialist at Google.

CSSI-Extension is one way Google is working to improve its workforce representation. To make the company more diverse, Google is equally focused on hiring, development, progression and retention of talent.

The participating institutions in this pilot program are:

  • California State University, Chico
  • California State University, Dominguez Hills
  • California State University, Monterey Bay
  • California State University, San Marcos
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Medgar Evers College, CUNY
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Queens College, CUNY
  • University of Bridgeport