The Computing Research Association’s Executive Director, Tracy Camp, presented three prestigious awards this June at the ACM Awards Banquet in San Francisco. Tracy was assisted by Dean of the Baskin School of Engineering, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz and CRA Board Member, Alex Wolf.
One of the awards presented was the CRA-WP Skip Ellis Early Career Award. The CRA-WP “Skip” Ellis Early Career Award (SEECA) is our newest award, it was established in 2020 to distinguish researchers who are underrepresented in computing research. Clarence “Skip” Ellis was chosen for this award title for his efforts in encouraging students of all backgroundsto stretch their academic abilities and to consider careers in computer science.
The SEECA is an annual award given 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 populations and broadening participation.
The 2022 Skip Ellis Early Career Award winner was Christina Harrington, Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the HCI Institute in the School of Computer Science. Christina is a researcher who specializes in human-computer interaction and design research, with a focus on health and racial equity. Her work involves co-designing technologies to meet the needs of historically marginalized groups, particularly Black and Brown individuals and those with disabilities. She has published and presented her work at top conferences, highlighting her expertise in equitable participatory design with Black elders and youth. Christina’s educational background in electrical engineering and industrial design informs her approach to universal, accessible, and inclusive design. She is dedicated to centering underrepresented communities in design processes, employing methods such as design justice and community collectivism. Christina is also committed to mentoring students, supporting outreach programs, and collaborating with community organizations to advance social equity. Currently, she serves as the director of the Equity and Health Innovations Design Research Lab, which focuses on community-based participatory research and advocating for the elimination of social inequities.The next award that was presented is the CRA-E Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentoring Award. This award is to acknowledge an individual in computer science and/or engineering for providing exceptional mentorship, undergraduate research experiences, and, in parallel, guidance on admission and matriculation of their students to research-focused graduate programs in computing. This year, there were three winners, Yi-Chieh (Jessica) Wu and William Wang, who received the award at the ACM Awards Banquet shown, and Nanette Veilleux who received her award at SIGCSE.
Dr. Wu is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College (HMC). Her research develops and applies computational and mathematical models to study evolutionary biology. Currently, she focuseson reconstructing gene histories across multiple species, with the goal of understanding differences within and across species, particularly in how genes form and function. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including an NSF CAREER award. She has mentored 29 undergraduate research students since joining the Harvey Mudd faculty in 2014, 28 of whom have already graduated and 10 of whom have gone on to PhD programs at schools including MIT, UC Berkeley, University of Washington, and Penn, among others. Wu’s passion for undergraduate research mentoring extends beyond her own research program by empowering other faculty to become better undergraduate research mentors.
Dr. Wang is an Associate Professor at the Computer Science Department at UC Santa Barbara. He is also the Mellichamp Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Designs and Director of UCSB’s Center for Responsible Machine Learning. He co-directs the campus academic initiative on Mind and Machine Intelligence and the Natural Language Processing group. He received multiple awards including NSF CAREER and DARPA Young Faculty Awards. He has mentored over 60 undergraduate students at UCSB, including 13 female and under-represented students. Among those, 32 mentored students entered a graduate research program in computing, and 12 were enrolled into top Ph.D. programs at Carnegie Mellon, UIUC, Duke, ETH, Michigan, UPenn, UCSB, and USC. His undergraduate students have received major awards, including two Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, three CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Award finalists and two honorable mentions, an NSF Graduate Fellowship in Machine Learning, and others.
[Photo Credit: Photographer Misti Layne © Association for Computing Machinery]