CRA’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) held its 2005 edition of the Grad Cohort Workshops over the weekend in San Francisco. If you’re not familiar with the program, it aims to increase the ranks of senior women in computing by building and mentoring nationwide cohorts of women through their graduate studies as they make the transition from student to researcher. Here’s how CRA-W describes the workshops:
At the Workshop, [we] welcome Cohort participants – Computer Science and Engineering students in their first or second year of grad school – into the community of computing researchers and provide them with a variety of professional role models. The Grad Cohort Workshop [are] modeled on the CRA-W’s very successful Academic Careers Workshop. Students meet for two days with 10-15 senior researchers who share pertinent information on the transition from student to researcher as well as more personal information and insights about their experiences. The rewards of a research career [are] emphasized. The workshop includes a mix of formal presentations and informal discussions and social events. All participants – students and researchers – [are] present for the whole time, making it possible for students to build mentoring relationships and develop peer networks.
Jim Horning points to a nice writeup of the event in Campus Technology. This is just one of a number of important programs CRA-W runs aimed at addressing the underrepresentation of women in computing research — a complete list is here. And it isn’t the first time they’ve received recognition for their efforts. Just last year, CRA-W was honored by President George W. Bush as “exemplars” for their role as leaders in the national effort to more fully develop the Nation’s human resources in science, mathematics and engineering. Though this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in the discipline, as CRA-W has been doing great work since 1991.
While CRA-W put this particular event together, they couldn’t have done it without the generous support of Microsoft, Google, and Lucent, as well as federal support from agencies and programs like NSF, EOT-PACI and others.