CRA makes an award, usually annually, to a person/s who has/have made outstanding contributions aimed at increasing the numbers and/or successes of underrepresented groups in the computing research community. This award recognizes work in areas of government affairs, educational programs, professional societies, public awareness, and leadership that has a major impact on advancing these groups in the computing research community. Recognized contributions can be focused directly at the research level or at its immediate precursors, namely students at the undergraduate or graduate levels.
Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)
For over two decades, Gates has been a leader in initiatives that support Hispanics and members of other underrepresented groups in the computing field. She is perhaps best known for leading the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI), an alliance of 13 institutions whose work has had large and sustained positive impact on recruitment, retention, and advancement of Hispanics in computing. Mentoring is a key component of CAHSI’s approach, which builds support networks that address both academic and cultural issues for students at all stages of their college and postgraduate education and on to leadership positions. Gates helped establish the Affinity Research Group (ARG) model for research mentoring and peer support; the evaluation of its effectiveness and dissemination of the findings has led to its adoption at institutions outside of CAHSI. Through an NSF ADVANCE program, Gates has also promoted the recruitment, retention, and advancement of female faculty at her home institution, UTEP. She has greatly enabled the success of many students through her personal mentoring of over 150 Hispanic students and research supervision of over 70 students. Gates’ influence has extended to other initiatives and communities, including the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), CMD-IT, and the AccessComputing Alliance. The scale and impact of Gates’ contributions is truly exceptional, particularly in support of Hispanics who account for 25% of the U.S. population, but less than 7% of bachelors degrees in computing and less than 2% of PhDs.
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