Virginia Tech – ESIH Program

Virginia Tech partnership with Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haìti (ESIH) in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Year: 2008-2012
Granting Agency: USAID Mission in Haiti
Grant #: AEG-A-00-05-0007-00
Grant Amount: $552,000
Location: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Project Website: VT-ESIH Haiti Project

Virginia Tech is partnering with the Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haìti in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to strengthen the school’s computer science program. The three-year project is being executed by Higher Education for Development (HED) through a cooperative agreement with the USAID mission in Haiti. The long-term goal of the project is to build capacity in Haiti’s institutions of higher education. The program allowed for the training of ESIH faculty, and provided funds that enabled several ESIH students to complete their undergraduate training at Virginia Tech.

A booklet highlighting Virginia Tech's long involvement with Haiti is available on our Virginia Tech in Haiti: Working alongside Haitians to build back better page.

ESIH students at Virginia Tech

The first five students—two women and three men—transferred to Virginia Tech in June of 2008. The students were originally scheduled to return to Haiti after graduation, but the devastating earthquake in January left their futures in question.

Google, Inc., the Web search engine company, stepped in to provide funding for four of the students to complete graduate degrees at Virginia Tech. The fifth student received a scholarship from Carnegie Mellon University to pursue a graduate degree in computer science at that university. After completing graduate degrees, all of the students plan on returning to Haiti.

Faculty training opportunities

Virginia Tech’s computer science faculty traveled to Haiti to review and critique course offerings and content at ESIH. In addition, four ESIH faculty members came to Virginia Tech for a month to learn how a large American university runs its computer science program.

Virginia Tech in the Caribbean

Virginia Tech already has a program in the Dominican Republic, which combines with Haiti to make up the island of Hispaniola. With the IT program in Haiti, Virginia Tech officials hope to further expand the university’s presence in the Caribbean.

Virginia Tech faculty involved:

  • Mike Bertelsen, Associate Director, OIRED
  • Dennis Kafura - Professor, Computer Science
  • Doug Bowman - Associate Professor, Computer Science
  • Calvin Ribbens - Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Studies; Professor, Computer Science
  • Denis Gracanin - Associate Professor, Computer Science