What should you know about Ability and Accessibility in AI and responsible technology development? Dive into an interview with Meredith Ringel Morris. Meredith is a computer scientist conducting research in the areas of human-computer interaction (HCI), computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), social computing, and accessibility. Her current research focus is on accessibility, particularly on the intersection […]
The 2020 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing conference celebrated the technical contributions and career interests of diverse people in computing fields. The conference’s goal is to help all attendees — especially students —build vital connections that will serve them well both professionally and personally. The conference aims to provide an educational and supportive networking environment for underrepresented groups across the broad range of computing and information technology, from science to business to the arts to infrastructure. The Tapia 2020 conference theme, Inclusion Drives Innovation, highlighted the critical role that diverse perspectives play in driving innovations in computing and technology. Creating teams, organizations, and societies that are inclusive and respectful of differences leads to greater innovations that benefit the world.
To identify and broadly engage the next generation of computer science researchers, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI), an NSF INCLUDES Alliance, piloted a national virtual Research Experience for Undergraduates (vREU) during the summer of 2020. Funded by an NSF RAPID grant, the pilot provided undergraduate research experiences for 50 students and 20 faculty drawn from 20 colleges and universities widely distributed throughout the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico. The program used the Affinity Research Group (ARG) model to guide faculty mentors throughout the experience. ARG is a CAHSI signature practice with a focus on deliberate, structured faculty and student research skills development. At weekly meetings, Drs. Morreale, Villa, and Gates discussed and provided resources for specific skills that were appropriate at a specific point in time of a student’s research experience. Faculty mentors put skills development into immediate practice throughout their summer research program.
Housed at Northeastern’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences, the Center for Inclusive Computing (“the Center”) serves as a catalyst in helping universities take the lead in educating more women in computing, both to meet a significant economic need and to address the issues of social inequity and exclusion. The Center awards funding to colleges and universities to scale best practices known to increase the representation of women in undergraduate computing. While these best practices are well documented and widely known, stagnant percentages indicate that uptake has been slow.
The Computing Research Association (CRA) is hosting the third workshop in its series of Departmental BPC Plan workshops starting on October 29, 2020. All departments with faculty submitting CISE proposals are welcome to attend this workshop.
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:
- Accessibility and Universal Design of Online Meetings
- Slides from the University of Washington Undergraduate Research Program with advice about mentoring
- Best Practices for Mentors
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.
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.
To support departments developing a Departmental BPC Plan, the Computing Research Association (CRA) will host a series of workshops funded by NSF. The first two workshops in this series will be held virtually on July 13-14, 2020 and August 6-7, 2020.
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 BPCnet.org portal as a resource for the community to assist in developing Departmental BPC Plans and Individual BPC Plans.
New Resources on BPCnet.org:
The community has been developing additional resources on BPCnet.org 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
BPCnet.org Steering Committee
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.