Several computing organizations work at the national level to increase women’s participation in computing, but few seek regional level transformation. Regional events overcome impediments to women’s broad and deep engagement in computing. Read full article.
Computing Research News
“Expanding the Pipeline” is a regular column in Computing Research News. The column serves both as a vehicle for describing projects and issues related to women and underrepresented groups in computing. The column is guest-authored by individuals who share their insight and experiences from their active participation in programs designed to involve women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in education and research. Patty Lopez is the column editor.
The first ACW was conducted in the fall of 2005 on a shoestring budget and the beneficence of Texas A&M University. There were 16 attendees (mostly assistant professors and late-term graduate students) and four senior computer science/computational mathematics faculty. The panels included navigating the tenure process, starting a research program, and managing work/life balance; in addition, a major component involved research proposal development. The latter component consisted of a presentation on proposal development by a former NSF program officer, as well as a mock review panel. We obtained permission from proposers to use their awarded and declined NSF proposals in a mock NSF proposal review panel.
Throughout the United States, many initiatives are underway to engage youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). There are also a large number of organizations seeking to increase diversity and gender equity in STEM. The National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) occupies a unique role among these activities in that it facilitates collaboration with all stakeholders focused on increasing diversity and engagement in STEM, connects them to girl-serving STEM programs, and provides access to information and resources that enhance the impact and effectiveness of these initiatives.
It is well recognized that increasing the diversity of the workforce is very important to the field of computing. In this article we focus on diversity within doctoral programs because it has a significant impact on diversity among both faculty members and researchers in industry and government labs. In particular, we focus on the source of minority students for graduate programs in computer science with respect to the following underrepresented groups: African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indian or Alaska Natives.
The Collaborative Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU) program encourages and supports undergraduate women and minorities in computing research. It was started by CRA-W under the name “CREW” in 1998, and since 2004 has been administered collaboratively by CRA-W and the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC). The goal of CREU is to increase the number of women and minorities who continue on to graduate school in computer science and computer engineering. Teams of undergraduates work with faculty member sponsors at their home institutions on research projects during the academic year and optionally the following summer.
Women in Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) face particular challenges in pursuing and maintaining academic careers at primarily undergraduate academic institutions. Women academicians in CSE typically have few female colleagues to provide critical information about the culture and content required for successful academic careers.
CRA-W and CDC have been working since the mid 1990s to encourage women and underrepresented minorities, respectively, toward graduate school and research careers in the computing field. In 2005, the two organizations collaborated on a proposal to the National Science Foundation’s Broadening Participation in Computing (BPC) program and in 2006 they were awarded funding. The result was the Widening the Research Pipeline Alliance, one of 16 Alliances currently funded by the BPC program. Our alliance manages programs that encourage individuals to begin and remain on the path to a research career.
The goal of the Tapia conferences is to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, professionals, and faculty in CS&E from all backgrounds and ethnicities to: 1) Celebrate the diversity that currently exists in CS&E; 2) Create communities of CS&E people with diverse backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities that extend beyond the conference; 3) Receive advice from and make useful contacts with CS&E leaders in academia and industry; and 4) Be inspired by great presentations and conversations with successful people in CS&E who have similar backgrounds, ethnicities, and gender as the attendees.
How does your organization contribute to building a better future for and through computing? Are you having a broad positive impact? NCWIT can help with that. NCWIT, the National Center for Women & Information Technology, was founded in 2004 as a non-profit coalition of organizations that develops and amplifies efforts to diversify computing. NCWIT’s leadership team consists of the co-founders—Lucy Sanders, Robert Schnabel, and Telle Whitney—along with elected leaders and support staff from each of the NCWIT Alliances…
The Computing Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) continued its central role in the Grace Hopper Celebration of Computing this year. CRA-W provided mentoring across the pipeline in a series of workshops targeted at undergraduates, graduate students, and early career researchers. In conjunction with AT&T, CRA-W sponsored a luncheon for researchers in industrial and government laboratories.
To bring a fresh perspective, the founders of the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity Conference chose a General Chair for the 10-year anniversary who had never attended the conference. When Richard Tapia himself called, it was such an interesting opportunity that I couldn’t decline. After highlighting the program – to be held April 3-5 in San Francisco – I’ll explain the process that led to it.