Virtual Summer REU

By Erik Russell
The Computing Research Association and organizers of the Distributed Research Experience for Undergraduates (DREU) Program made the decision to modify the 2020 DREU program from an onsite format to a virtual one.  Given the devastating impact of the COVID-19 virus we felt offering a virtual Distributed Research Experience for Undergraduates (vDREU) would better ensure the safety of all participants while continuing to provide research-intensive opportunities to students considering advanced degrees in computing.

Twenty-eight students are currently working with thirteen faculty mentors on virtual research projects in a number of areas.

In addition to offering students and mentors the opportunity to participate in a virtual research experience we will be providing students with a travel budget to be used for a follow-up onsite REU activity that is coordinated with their mentor at a later date.

The program has some tips for those also starting virtual REU programs.

  • Make an Onboarding Plan (proposed schedule, tasks, reading list, discuss meeting solutions)
  • Make Yourself and Your Team Available (set up regular meetings and check ins, be responsive to emails/chats, arrange virtual social time)
  • Share Information and Resources (help your mentee understand the bigger picture of their research project, help them think through educational and career goals)

Other resources for remote collaboration:

CRA’s Committee on Widening Participation (CRA-WP) and the DREU program partner with other organizations committed to broadening participation in computing to administer their summer REU programs including, the NSF funded Institute for African-American Mentoring in Computing Sciences (iAAMCS), and the NSF funded Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing).

The DREU Program is currently led by Nancy Amato, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Monica Anderson, University of Alabama, Chad Jenkins, University of Michigan, Ming Lin, University of Maryland at College Park, Raja Kushalnagar, Gallaudet University, Richard Ladner, University of Washington, and Amanda Stent, Bloomberg. They are assisted by Brianna Blaser, University of Washington, Daniela Cárdenas, Computing Research Association, and Erik Russell, Computing Research Association.

Expanding the Pipeline: Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security

The Scholarships for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS) program provides scholarships of up to $10,000 for women earning their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in fields related to information security. The scholarships support collegiate women working to join the growing security industry through academic funding and mentoring opportunities. Over the past eight years, SWSIS has supported more than 90 women for one to two years each and have funded more than $625,000 in scholarships, providing assistance at the formative stages of their careers.

Request for Community Feedback on

To the computing community,

With this particularly challenging academic year coming to an end, and the upcoming NSF CISE program submissions, it is a good time to update everyone on the NSF CISE Pilot Program for Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) Plans. All Medium and Large CISE Core Programs, Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace (SaTC), and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) project proposals require an approved BPC Plan by the time of award. CRA and NCWIT have led an effort to develop the portal as a resource for the community to assist in developing Departmental BPC Plans and Individual BPC Plans.

New Resources on
The community has been developing additional resources on to simplify the process of writing a BPC Plan (for both Individual and Departmental plans). There is an FAQ link, plan templates, sample BPC Plans, and an extensive Getting Started Guide. There will also be additional virtual workshops later in the summer, and in-person workshops once travel is resumed.

How You Can Help:
The inclusion of BPC plans in a large number of CISE projects is a significant step in making our field inclusive and welcoming, and consequently growing the computing workforce and making it more representative of the users of technology. It will take a community-wide effort, and significant preparation of the community to make this BPC effort successful. To this end, we would like to invite interested people from this group to provide feedback on the contents in the portal. If you are interested in reviewing the portal contents, please complete our interest form.

Thank you for your interest in the NSF BPC Pilot Program, which has contributed to creating a large resource that we expect the community will find valuable. Please let us know if we can answer any questions by contacting


Sincerely, Steering Committee

Tawanna Dillahunt and Michel A. Kinsy Receive the Inaugural Skip Ellis Early Career Award 

CRA-WP is honored to announce Tawanna Dillahunt of the University of Michigan and Michel A. Kinsy of Boston University have been selected as the first recipients of the  Skip Ellis Early Career Award.

The Skip Ellis Early Career Award honors the late Clarence “Skip” Ellis, who was the first African-American to both earn a Ph.D. in computer science and be elected a Fellow of the ACM. This award is given annually by CRA-WP to a person who identifies as a member of a group underrepresented in computing (African-American, Latinx, Native American/First Peoples, and/or People with Disabilities), who has made significant research contributions in computer science and/or engineering and has also contributed to the profession, especially in outreach to underrepresented demographics.

This year, recognition was warranted beyond the award winners and additional nominees are receiving the Distinction of Honorable Mention.

  • Cindy Rubio González of the University of California Davis is recognized by both the Anita Borg Early Career Award and the Skip Ellis Early Career Award committees for a joint Honorable Mention.

CRA-WP is proud to celebrate the growing representation in computing research by highlighting the recipients for their significant contributions and outreach in the field. It is encouraging to see the growth in the excellent computing researchers from diverse backgrounds committed to scholarly excellence and equal opportunity. Thank you to everyone who took the time to submit a nomination for this year and we hope to see many more in the next cycle.

Olga Russakovsky Receives the 2020 Anita Borg Early Career Award 

CRA-WP is honored to announce Olga Russakovsky of Princeton University has been selected as the 2020 Anita Borg Early Career Award recipient.

The Anita Borg Early Career Award honors the late Anita Borg, who was an early member of CRA-W (before it became CRA-WP), and is inspired by her commitment to increasing the participation of women in computing research. The annual award is given to a woman in computer science and/or engineering who has made significant research contributions and who has contributed to her profession, especially in the outreach to women.

This year, recognition was warranted beyond the award winners and additional nominees are receiving the Distinction of Honorable Mention.

  • Cindy Rubio González of the University of California Davis is recognized by both the Anita Borg Early Career Award and the Skip Ellis Early Career Award committees for a joint Honorable Mention.
  • Carole-Jean Wu of Arizona State University is recognized by the Anita Borg Early Career Award committee.

CRA/CCC Computing Innovation Fellows Program 2020: Deadline June 17

Applications are now open for the Computing Research Association (CRA) and Computing Community Consortium’s (CCC) Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) Program for 2020. This program recognizes the significant disruption to the academic job search caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic uncertainty and aims to provide a career-enhancing bridge experience for recent and soon-to-be PhD graduates in computing.

The goal of the CIFellows program is to create career growth opportunities that support maintaining the computing research pipeline. Computing research is defined as any area included under the National Science Foundation (NSF) Computing and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate. This effort takes inspiration from CRA/CCC’s NSF-funded Computing Innovation Fellows Programs with cohorts starting 2009, 2010, and 2011.

The current program is actively seeking researchers who will encourage Broadening Participation in Computing through their research or other activities. There is no requirement that the mentor be at a PhD granting institution; however, we actively seek mentors whose mentoring will serve to broaden participation in computing.

Awards will support an individual for 2 years as a postdoctoral fellow (“CIFellow”) at a host institution of their choosing. CRA will issue subawards to the Host Institution to cover an annual postdoc salary of $75,000, plus fringe and indirect costs (capped at 35%). Fellows will have the ability to select a September, 2020 or January, 2021 start date for their Fellowship. CRA and CCC held an informational webinar on the program on May 26th — a video recording of the webinar is available hereLearn more about the program and apply now on the CIFellows website. The deadline for submission is June 17.

Important notice to all applicants: the application deadline has been extended by 5 days to Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT in recognition of the unrest and protests across the nation. If possible, please try to begin your application through Task 2, Academic Information, by the initial deadline of June 12, 2020 at 11:59 pm EDT.

CRA-WP Board Member Nancy Amato Elected ACM Member-at-Large

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) recently announced the election of new officers and members at large. CRA-WP Board Member and CRA Vice Chair Nancy M. Amato has been elected for a four year Member-at-Large term. She will serve from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2024. Amato is a robotics expert and Head of the University of Illinois Department of Computer Science. She is a CRA-WP board member and served as co-chair from 2014- 2017. Amato is a also a member of the CRA Education committee and received the CRA A. Nico Habermann award in 2014 for her efforts to increase diversity in computing.

Computing Researchers Respond to COVID-19

By CCC Staff

The Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is publishing a series of posts on the CCC Blog about ways in which computing researchers are working to adapt and help with the COVID-19 situation. We hope that you find something that may inspire you in these blog posts, either now or in the future:

  • Running a Virtual Conference
    • Working with Kyle Johnsen, an associate professor in the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering, Professor MacIntyre “transitioned the IEEE VR 2020 Conference to an all-virtual event…Working non-stop for two weeks, with the help of the entire conference committee and support from Mozilla and dozens of volunteers, they pulled together the technology to support a full scale virtual conference.”
  • Misinformation
    • Recognizing and responding to misinformation during this emergency: “Rumoring can help to alleviate anxiety during information voids and acts as a form of collective sensemaking, but it can also lead to the spread of misinformation. False rumors (or misinformation) are dangerous, because they can cause people to make the wrong decisions, including decisions that endanger themselves or others.”
  • Staying Connected
    • “As difficult as the current Covid-19 situation is, at least we can use the Internet to support the global collaboration of scientists, keep abreast of the latest developments, teach our students and children, stay in touch with friends and family, and even find much-needed moments of levity.”
  • Decontaminating N95 Masks
    • “Fu is a co-organizer of N95DECON, a volunteer-based organization made up of esteemed scientists, engineers, clinicians, and students seeking to provide information and develop guidance for medical facilities that need to decontaminate face masks for reuse by healthcare workers. Fu explains that the group’s overarching mission is to provide a rigorous scientific assessment of decontaminating N95 masks for reuse by healthcare professionals during this crisis shortage.”
  • Personal Protective Equipment Fabrication 
    • “Recently, UW Medicine launched an effort to harness the University of Washington’s extensive network of maker spaces and fabrication expertise to address the shortage of PPE.”
  • Voxel51; A Means of Tracking Social Distancing
    • “Leveraging the startup’s existing video analysis technology, Voxel51 developed the Physical Distancing Index to help track how COVID-19 and preventative measures to contain its spread have impacted human activity around the globe in real time.”
  • Automated Contact Tracing for Fighting the Coronavirus: A Short-Term Effort with Long-Term Repercussions
    • Automated contact tracking uses “Bluetooth Low Energy phone-to-phone transmission. Phones constantly broadcast a system-provided identifier, and collect identifiers received from nearby phones. Once a user tests positive, their phone uploads its transmitted and collected identifiers to a central database along with other location information.  The center then contacts users who were collocated with the infected individuals for potential quarantine and treatment.”

CRA Director of Programs Erik Russell Receives AccessComputing’s 2019 Capacity Building Award

CRA Director of Programs Erik Russell was recently announced the winner of the AccessComputing 2019 Capacity Building Award. The award recognizes individuals whose work and accomplishments have changed the way the world views people with disabilities and their potential to succeed in challenging computing careers and activities. As Director of Programs at CRA, Erik provides […]