Serving as a DARPA PM: A very long lever arm

The following is a blog post from Kathleen Fisher (Tufts University). Fisher is a former CRA-WP board member and currently serves on the CRA Board of Directors and the Computing Community Consortium Council.

Going to DARPA as a Program Manager (PM) is a great opportunity to make a difference by creating and managing a program much bigger in scope than what an individual faculty member can do at a university. Other PMs are talented and innovative thinkers who come from a broad range of backgrounds. Exposure to them and to the range of problems DARPA is reckoning with can be eye-opening. In the following paragraphs, I describe my experiences serving as a PM to convey a sense of what the job is like and why it might be an attractive career option.

Registration Open for First CRA-Industry Committee Virtual Roundtable: Corporate Responsibility and Computing Research

The CRA-Industry Committee is hosting a series of virtual roundtable meetings focused on issues of interest to our computing research industry partners. The first roundtable, “Corporate Responsibility and Computing Research” will be held on July 14, 2021 from 4:00-5:30 PM ET. In order to attend this event, please register here. Please forward this to your appropriate colleagues and encourage them to attend!

CRA Education Committee Selects New Graduate Fellow

CRA’s Education Committee (CRA-E) has recently selected its 2021 CRA-E Graduate Fellow – Nadia Ady from the University of Alberta. Nadia is a Ph.D. Candidate in Computing Science at the University of Alberta supervised by Patrick Pilarski. She earned her B.Sc. in Honors Mathematics at the University of Alberta in 2014. Nadia is thrilled to have this opportunity to serve CRA and gain experience collaborating towards an important purpose: ensuring that students receive opportunities to discover research and how fulfilling it can be.

Call to Action: Apply Now to the CSGrad4US Mentoring Program!

Are you interested in serving as a mentor or coach?
The mentor and coach application is now available on the CS Grad4US Mentoring Program webpage.

The goals of the CSGrad4US Mentoring Program are:

  1. To guide returning students through the application process towards a successful CS PhD admission and school selection
  2. To mentor them through the transition to PhD graduate study in the first year towards high retention.

Specific topics include the admissions process, preparation of all components of a strong graduate application, differences between graduate programs at different institutions, how to compare programs with respect to the Fellow’s goals and background, and general guidelines on making a selection among admission acceptances.

The CSGrad4US Mentoring Program will provide not only general graduate application advice and guidance, but also provide missing larger context and network to students returning from the workforce. Our intention is to recruit a representative set of mentors and coaches that reflects the diversity of institutions, demographics, and scholarship among the computing research community.

Applications received by June 1st will be given preference.

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.

Nominations Open for the Inaugural IEEE Frances E. Allen Medal – Due June 15

Last year the IEEE announced the creation of the IEEE Frances E Allen medal, recognizing the contributions of Frances “Fran” E. Allen as an American computer scientist and pioneer in the field of optimizing compilers.

The Allen Medal recognizes innovative work in computing leading to lasting impact on engineering, science, technology, or society. It may be awarded to an individual or a team of recipients up to three in number. The award will recognize contributions of substantial, broad impact and/or lifetime achievements and work must demonstrate fundamental impact on fields outside of core computing by creating new areas of investigation, or vastly expanding research in existing areas. An awardees’ contribution will have substantially expanded the scale of computational capability and/or the size of datasets that are exploitable by the worldwide community of engineers, scientists, and others using computing in their work. The prize consists of a gold medal, bronze replica, a certificate, and a cash prize.

The Allen Medal may be presented to anyone whose achievements or contributions satisfy the selection criteria for the award. It is not necessary for the recipient(s) to be a member or members of IEEE, but they must not have been awarded another IEEE Medal for the same work.

Nominations for this award are open now and are due by June 15. Please honor Fran Allen and outstanding members of our research community by submitting a nomination.