Learn More

CRA-WP Board Member Ayanna Howard Named ACM Athena Lecturer for Contributions to Robotics, AI and Broadening Participation in Computing


The recipient of the 2021- 2022 ACM Athena Lecturer Award is Ayanna Howard, Dean of The Ohio State University College of Engineering.

Her citation reads as follows:
For fundamental contributions to the development of accessible human-robotic systems and artificial intelligence along with forging new paths to broaden participation in computing through entrepreneurial and mentoring efforts.
To view the press release, please visit: https://awards.acm.org/about/2021-athena

Expanding the Pipeline: Gaining Momentum through Research on Diversity in Undergraduate Computing


By Linda J. Sax and Kathleen J. Lehman, UCLA

Five years ago, we wrote in this column about the research our team was initiating on the BRAID (Building Recruiting and Inclusion for Diversity) initiative, a coordinated effort among 15 universities to increase representation among women and Students of Color in their undergraduate computing programs. Over these past five years, the BRAID institutions have indeed made significant strides towards greater diversity. Collectively, while BRAID departments experienced an 87% increase in overall undergraduate computing enrollments, such increases were even larger among women (139%), BLI (Black, Latinx, and Indigenous) students (106%), and BLI women (127%). While there is much more work to be done in order to achieve gender and racial/ethnic parity in computing representation (not to mention fostering more inclusive environments), these figures certainly reflect progress. Further, such progress was not experienced by BRAID institutions alone, as data from the nationwide CRA Taulbee Survey during this same time period also show significant gains in representation among women and underrepresented Students of Color.

Reflections on Black in Computing


By Quincy Brown, Tyrone Grandison, Jamika D. Burge, Odest Chadwicke Jenkins, Tawanna Dillahunt

In June 2020, a community of Black people in computing from around the world published an open letter, initiated by the authors, and a call for action to the global computing community.

Today, we are issuing another call to action to the individuals, organizations, educational institutions, and companies in the computing ecosystem to address the systemic and structural inequities that Black people experience.

As we did in June 2020, we ask that you translate the public statements  into public action to support the Black professional communities toward achieving systemic fairness in computing.

CRA and CRA-WP Welcome Elyse Okwu


CRA has recently hired Elyse Okwu as a program associate for the Widening Participation (CRA-WP) committee. In this role, she leads and supports CRA-WP programs that focus on increasing the success and participation of underrepresented groups in computing research.

Prior to joining CRA-WP, Elyse worked as a research associate at Arizona State University to examine factors of persistence for women in STEM doctoral programs nationwide. At the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, she worked with INVESTING NOW to expose young women to engineering. Elyse is passionate about working with underserved populations to ensure that access and equity are attainable in their quest for education in STEM.

Elyse holds a Master’s of Education from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor’s in Mass Media Arts from Clark Atlanta University. She is an HBCU enthusiast who believes in helping students to “find a way or make one” in higher education. Elyse is the proud mother of a sweet toddler son and their happy place is the beach.

Former CRA-WP Board Member Anna Karlin Elected to National Academy of Sciences


This year’s class of newly elected members includes a record number of women, including former CRA-WP Board Member Anna Karlin. She is the Microsoft Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science at the University of Washington. She has been active in several CRA-WP activities including Grad Cohort, Virtual Undergraduate Town Hall, and Career Mentoring Workshops.