Fifteen grants to support computing research for undergraduate women

August 23rd, 2018

Ayanna Howard, Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, wouldn’t be where she is today without her undergraduate research experiences at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Growing up, Ayanna seemed to have a knack for math, puzzles, computers and gaming. By the time she started college, she had figured out her passion for robotics, and became a summer intern at JPL. The hands-on research experiences, the formation of a strong network of peers and advisers while at JPL helped motivate Ayanna to pursue her PhD and eventually a career in academia.

Studies show that undergraduate exposure to hands-on research experiences can profoundly influence a student’s academic and career path. This is particularly true for women who are underrepresented in computing and who may see research careers as “not for them” because of the lack of support when pursuing research careers and pathways to computing.

To get more women involved in research and computing, we’re providing 15 exploreCSR (Computer Science Research) grants to support universities running CS research-focused workshops for undergraduate women. These workshops, modeled on, and inspired by Carnegie Mellon University's, OurCS, will help undergraduate women to enhance their research skills, create a sense of community with peers and faculty, instill confidence to problem solve beyond the classroom, and inspire and motivate them toward careers in research

Here are the recipients (including Ayanna Howard!) who collectively plan to reach ~1,200 undergraduate women in 2018-2019:

Georgia Institute of Technology Ayanna Howard, Professor and Chair Improving the Academic Matriculation of Undergraduate Women in Graduate Computing (I.AM.GradComputing) Workshop

Howard University Latifa Jackson, Assistant Professor Broadening Participation in Data Mining (BPDM) Workshop

Indiana University - Bloomington Suzanne Menzel, Senior Lecturer OurCS: Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science

Louisiana Tech University Benjamin Drozdenko, Assistant Professor Cyber Research for Empowering Women Experimenters (CREWE)

Michigan Technological University Jean Mayo, Associate Professor Exploring Computer Science Research

The University of Texas at El Paso Martine Ceberio, Associate Professor Building Pathways to Graduate School as a Way of Recruiting and Retaining Undergraduate Female Students in Computing

University of Maine, Orono Penny Rheingans, Director, School of Computing and Information Science ResearchME: Maine Research Focused Workshops and Mentor Networks

University of Maryland, Baltimore County Danyelle Ireland, Associate Director, Center for Women in Technology The CS-Impact Workshop Series: Exploring Opportunities for Undergraduate Computer Science Research & Graduate study

University of Michigan Rada Mihalcea, Professor and Co-Director Girls Encoded Building a Diverse Research Community: Introducing Women to Computer Science Research

University of Minnesota Twin Cities Maria Gini, Professor Exposing students to undergraduate research opportunities, while guiding and mentoring them through the process

University of New Mexico Lydia Tapia, Associate Professor Becoming a Robot Guru Workshop

University of Pennsylvania Chris Callison-Burch, Associate Professor SPUR WOMEN: Support and Promote Undergraduate Research for Women

University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Nayda G. Santiago, Associate Professor Increasing Hispanic Women participation in Undergraduate Computing Research

University of Washington Richard Ladner, Professor Emeritus OurCS@UW + AccessComputing

The selected group of grantees represent a diverse mosaic of faculty and institutions that brings a clear focus on cultivating and retaining a “critical mass” of women in computing, and a commitment to exposing undergraduate women in computing to foundational research training. As the workshops take flight in the new school year, we hope to share updates on each workshops’ progress and results.