LSU Computer Science Outreach Aims to Give All Students Access to Fastest Growing Careers

April 05, 2021

LSU’s BRBytes program expands “computer science for all” in Louisiana

Computer-related careers are projected to have the largest 10-year growth among all occupations in Louisiana. But all Louisiana students don’t necessarily have access to those jobs because they never had an opportunity to learn essential skills (beyond the core curriculum in math and science) before they graduate or get to college. This is why an interdisciplinary LSU team partnered with Louisiana high schools and middle schools to create BRBytes and develop computer science courses for all, as well as ‘upskill’ teachers—including English and French teachers.

“Learning how to code is learning a foreign language, but a language that’s used and applicable everywhere, no matter where you go,” said Marqual Battley-Brown, a teacher who recently brought BRBytes to STEM Magnet Academy of Pointe Coupee.

The vast majority of the students who now take BRBytes courses are underrepresented minorities and come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Preliminary data show they’re now also improving their performance and test scores in core subjects, such as math and science.

Marqual Battley-Brown

Marqual Battley-Brown

– Photo courtesy of Marqual Battley-Brown

“Computer science is everywhere and no matter what you do in life, you will deal with computers, and that’s what I’m trying to help the students see. Even if you work in a grocery store; the inventory is computer science, the scan-and-go system is computer science, and the camera system is computer science. Computer science is everywhere and likely to help you in any career you choose.”

- Marqual Battley-Brown, teacher at STEM Magnet Academy of Pointe Coupee