A short video from CRA’s Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP) is featured in the 2022 STEM for All Video Showcase May 10-17. CRA-WP’s video is entitled “Broadening Participation in Computing Research with CRA-WP” and highlights programs funded through National Science Foundation award #1840724. CRA-WP is a Broadening Participation in Computing Alliance that focuses on community building, career mentoring, information sharing, and effecting systemic change for undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, faculty, and industry and government researchers.
Computing Research News
Articles relevant to the CRA Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP).
When asked about their biggest motivations to apply to graduate school, participants in the first CSGrad4US cohort most often indicated that they wanted to make an impact on society with an advanced degree. Few participants cited reasons related to their current work situations.
In an era of rapidly evolving technology and increasing interconnectedness, full participation in society depends on the successful use of technology. Thus, to ensure equity and participation for people with disabilities, technology must be accessible—we must create and adapt interactive systems to improve access to technology and to the world at large. The University of Washington Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE) is dedicated to propelling accessible technology research and education from incremental improvements to paradigm-shifting breakthroughs that enable greater inclusion and participation for people of all abilities. This article briefly introduces CREATE’s mission and then highlights some of its recent research into the impact of the pandemic on students and best practices for hybrid meetings.
In 2011, my team of six instructors led a yearlong CS course for 120 Black/Latinx middle-school students in Washington, DC. After first-day introductions, we asked them to name a computer scientist. Despite six Black men/women in front of them, we heard only three names: Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. It was then that I realized if they didn’t see us as computer scientists, then how would they ever be able to see themselves as one? We knew we had work to do.
We spent the entire year dismantling the narrative that CS was restricted to White and Asian men and reinforcing how not only were they computer scientists, but also change agents. Students learned much more than what CS was, but also whom it should represent and why these identities mattered.
We were fortunate to have a team that didn’t fit the “traditional” narrative leading that effort. However, this won’t always be the case. As we continue to make strides in CS education, the following strategies can help to ensure that the who and why are prioritized, regardless of the student or instructor.
CRA-WP welcomes your nominations for the Early Career Awards honoring Anita Borg and Clarence “Skip” Ellis. Nominations are due February 15, 2022, at 11:59 PM ET.
Anita Borg Early Career Award (BECA)
The Anita Borg Early Career Award (BECA) is named in honor of Anita Borg, who was an early member of CRA-WP and is inspired by her commitment to increasing the participation of women in computing research.
Skip Ellis Early Career Award (SEECA)
The Skip Ellis Early Career Award is in honor of Clarence “Skip” Ellis; he was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in computer science and the first African-American to be elected a Fellow of the ACM.
As efforts to broaden computing have become more diverse, inclusive, and just, despite increasing enrollments in computer science, the percentages of historically excluded students have not changed much and many institutions are struggling to retain them. Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) are designed to introduce undergraduate students to research and present active training opportunities that may lead to students pursuing advanced academic degrees. Students are exposed early in their academic careers to research as problem solving, and therefore can develop critical thinking skills independently of coding skills. REUs provide an alternative source of funding while engaging with faculty and mentors who can nurture their interests and provide encouragement to persist in their degree program, often prior to declaring a major. In addition to providing early research engagement opportunities for first year and second year students with insufficient experience to compete for cooperative and summer internships, applying to and participating in REUs provide experience navigating application requirements (including writing a personal statement and gaining strong letters of recommendation, which helps them get to know faculty and vice-versa), collaborating on a project, and building a set of skills that would make them an attractive graduate school applicants. REUs are especially beneficial for first-generation, community college, and non-traditional students who may have limited exposure and access to graduate school, the application process, and hands-on opportunities to explore the field more deeply.
We share some key insights that have been gleaned from evaluation reports of mentors and participants in the CRA Committee on Widening Participation in Computing Research (CRA-WP)’s Collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CREU) and Distributed Research Experiences for Undergraduates (DREU) programs and our own firsthand experiences working with and mentoring undergraduate students.
DREU interns have the opportunity to be directly involved in a research project and interact with graduate students and professors on a daily basis. This experience is invaluable for those who are considering graduate school; DREU will provide a close-up view of what graduate school is really like and increase interns’ competitiveness as an applicant for graduate admissions and fellowships. Faculty mentors will have the opportunity to work on their research project with new students from other institutions and to mentor future graduate students.
CRA-WP will host two Graduate Cohort Workshops in 2022. The Grad Cohort Workshop for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Leadership Skills (GC-IDEALS) is designed specifically for graduate school populations underrepresented in computing research. The Grad Cohort Workshop for Women (GC-Women) is designed for women students in their first, second, or third year of graduate school in computing fields.
Grad Cohort participants will have an opportunity to build mentoring relationships and develop peer networks intended to form the basis for ongoing activities during their graduate career and beyond.
Applications accepted October 1 – November 15
We would like to thank Andrea Danyluk for contributions during her service on both the CRA-WP and CRA Board of Directors. Dwarkadas has replaced Danyluk as the CRA-WP representative on the CRA Board.
The Data Buddies Project has been running strong since 2010. This article dives into some of the history of the Data Buddies Project and CERP while also highlighting the project over the years. The article concludes with a look into how the project operates today.
The CRA-WP Grad Cohort Workshops aim to widen the participation, access, opportunities, and experience of individuals in computing research by building and mentoring nationwide communities through their graduate studies.
Applications will open for the 2022 CRA-WP Graduate Cohort Workshops on October 1.
- Grad Cohort IDEALS – March 24-26, 2022 in San Diego, CA
- Grad Cohort Women – April 20-22, 2022 in New Orleans, LA
For more information, visit https://cra.org/cra-wp/.