February 24th, 2014 by kira No comments »

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Each year, Americans observe African-American History Month also known as Black History Month during the month of February, by paying tribute to the generations of African Americans who struggled with adversity to achieve full citizenship in American society.

The observation was started in February 1926 as Negro History Week by Carter G. Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) and was expanded by Gerald R. Ford in 1976 to cover the entire month of February. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Learn More about Black History Month

September 24th, 2013 by kira No comments »

National Hispanic Heritage Month

About National Hispanic Heritage Month

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

National Hispanic Heritage Month is brought to you by:

The Library of Congress
National Endowment for the Humanities
National Gallery of Art
National Park Service
Smithsonian Institution
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

To find out more about National Hispanic Heritage Month visit the official site.

August 30th, 2013 by kira No comments »

CMD-IT received $30,000 as part of the Innovation Generation grant program from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the charitable arm of Motorola Solutions, Inc. Through the grant, CMD-IT will utilize the funds to support a Code-a-thon for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate computer science students at the 2014 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference.

Since 2007, the Innovation Generation program has provided $3.4 million in support of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs, supporting more than 400 school, museum and nonprofit programs across the United States and Canada. The program awards funds to organizations, such as CMD-IT, that foster and support STEM initiatives for teachers and U.S. students at the level of preschool through university – especially girls and underrepresented minorities.

CMD-IT’s Innovation Generation grant will provide opportunities for diverse groups of undergraduate and graduate students to apply their software skills in a code-a-thon that will feature multiple themes. This is a new event for the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference.

ACM Richard Tapia Conference is attended by over 550 participants each year and is organized by the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC), sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT). The 2014 ACM Tapia conference is also generously sponsored by organizations such as the National Science Foundation, Microsoft, Georgia Tech, Google, Texas
A & M University, Virginia Tech, University of California, Berkeley and many others.

Innovation Generation is a part of Motorola Solutions’ larger commitment to engaging youth in STEM education. For additional information about their grants programs, visit the Motorola Solutions Foundation website and for information on the 2014 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference please visit the Tapia conference website.

Read more about CMD-IT’s Innovation Generation Grant.

August 30th, 2013 by kira No comments »

CMD-IT held its second Student Professional Development Workshop (SPD) on August 9-10, 2013 at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The workshop is designed to prepare undergraduate and masters level students for the fall industry recruitment season. The workshop specifically focuses on building students’ interviewing skills.

This year’s workshop serviced 36 student participants and featured keynote talks and panel discussions focused on the following topics: the interview process, resume writing, professionalism, networking, and how to take advantage of the first year on the job/summer internship.

The workshop also provided a unique opportunity for each participant to participate in two mock interviews with industry representatives. Students were able to get immediate feedback from industry representatives–many of whom are recruiters–to help students improve their interviewing skills. Mock interviews were conducted by industry representatives from Schlumberger, Microsoft, Rockwell Collins, Google, NSA, VMWare and NetApp.

Industry keynote speakers for the 2013 SPD workshop included Yaning Zhang, from Schlumberger, who discussed best practices for building interview skills; Lee Smith, from Rockwell Collins, who shared strategies for resume and correspondence writing and professionalism in the workplace; and Brandon Plost, from Schlumberger, who shared his career path and described how to take advantage of internships and the first year on the job. Industry keynote speakers joined the SPD panels following their engaging talks.

Industry representatives who shared their professional development expertise and knowledge on the SPD panels included Nicole Blyther, NSA; Amber Daniels, VMWare; Tyron Fitzgerald, Rockwell Collins; Kat Leung, Google; Brandon Plost, Schlumberger; Lee Smith, Rockwell Collins; Toni Smith, Schlumberger; Casiya Thaniel, Microsoft; Sabrina Williams, Google and Yaning Zhang, Schlumberger.

The SPD Workshop was generously funded by the following organizations:










Further details about the 2013 SPD Workshop can be found on the SPD website.

April 15th, 2013 by kira No comments »

The Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT) which develops national-scale projects to ensure that underrepresented groups are fully engaged in computing and information technologies, announced today that it held an Academic Career Workshop (ACW) at Northwestern University on Thursday, April 11, 2013 – Saturday, April 13, 2013. This was the eighth workshop to date. The goal of the workshop was to provide unique, tailored experiences about the academic career ladder for underrepresented ethnic minorities and people with disabilities at the levels of assistant and associate faculty, post-docs, and senior doctoral students. 31 participants were selected to attend this year’s workshop.

Since 2005, the Academic Career Workshop has serviced 201 underrepresented (African American, Native American, Latino and People with Disabilities) junior faculty and graduate students. The ACW workshops have demonstrated impressive results in helping underrepresented professionals achieve success in their careers by focusing on the promotion and tenure process. Since attending the workshop, all of the first 2005 cohort of ACW participants who were at the assistant professor level during the workshop have received tenure promotions and three participants have received the prestigious National Science Foundation Career Award.

The success of the ACW workshop is largely due to its unique focus on the proposal writing process, including a mock proposal review panel, which helps to increase participants’ self-efficacy in proposal writing. As a result of focusing on the proposal process, Academic Career Workshop participants also have garnered an incredible 53% proposal acceptance rate and a 47% National Science Foundation proposal acceptance rate over the past eight years. The typical NSF proposal acceptance rate is 25%.

Other sessions at the workshop supporting faculty development included launching a research program, teaching, entrepreneurship and a funding panel featuring representatives from the Department of Energy (DoE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

The Academic Career Workshop is funded by the National Science Foundation and organized by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT), the Coalition to Diversify Computing (CDC), a joint organization of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), the Computing Research Association (CRA), and the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE-CS), the Computing Alliance of Hispanic-Serving Institutions (CAHSI); and the Alliance for Access to Computing Careers (AccessComputing).

About the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT)
The vision of CMD-IT is to contribute to the national need for an effective workforce in computing and IT through inclusive programs and initiatives focused on minorities and people with disabilities. CMDIT’s vision is accomplished through its mission to insure that underrepresented groups are fully engaged in computing and IT and promotes innovation that enriches, enhances and enables underrepresented communities.

February 15th, 2013 by kira No comments »

2013 Tapia Diversity in Computing Conference Celebrates Most Successful Meeting to Date

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The 2013 Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference concluded the largest meeting in its 12 year history, with 550 students, academics and computing professionals attending the three-day conference.

The conference program included plenary speakers, panel discussions, hands-on workshops, birds-of-a-feather meetings, professional networking and hundreds of informal conversations in the hallways and over meals.

“This was truly an amazing three days in which we celebrated the diversity that each one of us brings to the field of computing,” said Tapia 2013 General Chair Juan Vargas. “Looking out at the attendees, their energy and enthusiasm was both gratifying and inspiring. Many are already looking forward to next year’s conference in Seattle.”

According to Vargas, the Tapia conference is clearly one of the most diverse in the computer science community. At Tapia 13, 51 percent of the attendees were women, Blacks and African Americans made up 43 percent, Hispanics and Latinos constituted 26 percent and Caucasians comprised 19 percent. Students, from freshman to Ph.D. candidates, made up 60 percent of all attendees. For 69 percent of those attending, this was their first time at the Tapia conference, and for many of them it was their first professional conference.

Attendees heard from an all-star lineup of speakers, including Prof. Annie Anton of Georgia Tech, Vinton Cerf of Google, Theresa Maldonado of the National Science Foundation, Prof. Jeanine Cook of New Mexico State University, Prof. Hakim Weatherspoon of Cornell University, Prof. Armando Fox of the University of California, Berkeley, Prof. Anita Jones of the University of Virginia, and Dot Harris of the U.S. Department of Energy.

After Cerf gave a thought-provoking talk on whether our digital documents of today will be readable 1,000 years from now, one student introduced herself and then touched him to confirm that he was real, reminiscent of a scene from the film, The Matrix, in which the Architect character is based on Cerf.

A record number of students (twenty-one) presented their research and received advice from nine panelists during the 2013 Doctoral Consortium., a one-day workshop to support Ph.D. students as they work toward their doctorate degrees. Sixty students also presented their own research in a special poster session. Awards for the best undergraduate posters went to Joseph Crawford, Morehouse College; Jhensen Grullon Sanabria, University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras; and Raul Viera, University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo. Awards for the best graduate posters went to Grace Silva, University of North Carolina; Omar U. Florez, Utah State University/Intel Labs; and Sidafa Conde, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. The Most Engaging Poster award went to Jessica Jones of Clemson University.

Also at the concluding banquet, Juan E. Gilbert, Chair of Human-Centered Computing in the School of Computing at Clemson University, was presented the 2013 Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science, and Diversifying Computing.

The Tapia conference has a tradition of providing a supportive networking environment for under-represented groups across the broad range of computing and information technology, from science to business to the arts to infrastructure. The Tapia conference is organized by the Coalition to Diversify Computing, sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery, and in cooperation with the IEEE Computer Society and the Computing Research Association.

The Tapia conference series enjoys the support of a number of academic, research and business organizations, including:

About the Tapia Conference

The Tapia conference honors the significant contributions of Richard A. Tapia, a mathematician and professor in the Department of Computational and Applied Mathematics at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and a national leader in education and outreach programs. The Tapia Conferences brings together people in CS&E from all educational levels, backgrounds and ethnicities to celebrate and support the accomplishments of this diverse community.

January 14th, 2013 by kira 1 comment »

AccessComputing has created a new 15 minute video titled “IT Accessibility: What Campus Leaders Have to Say,” that features university and campus technology leaders talking about the value of accessible technology. University of Washington President Michael Young kicks off the presentation. Watch the video here.

November 9th, 2012 by kira No comments »

The lead article in this month’s Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) is by it’s President Vint Cerf. It is titled “Why is Accessibility so Hard?”. In the article Cerf discusses the various barriers that block accessibility to computing and technology for those who ” are challenged to interact with computing systems in one way or another” such as people with disabilities. To read the full text click here.

September 10th, 2012 by kira No comments »

The objective of this competition is to have students develop descriptions of computing projects that they find exciting, inspiring, and appealing to students from underrepresented groups (African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and People with Disabilities). The projects can be artistic (for example using motion detection to make music with body movement) or practical (for example using embedded microchips to help in emergency situations). Medical, cultural, economic – the projects can focus on any topic so long as it includes computing. The competition does not require implementation of the proposed project. The scope of the project should be consistent with what a team of two students can implement in a two week time-frame for an introductory computing course. The deadline for project submissions is December 10, 2012. Award recipients will present a poster at the 2013 SIGCSE Conference. The competition is held every other year. For more information please visit the project webpage.

September 7th, 2012 by kira No comments »

According to the recently released, congressionally mandated report, “Higher Education: Gaps In Access and Persistence Study,” a myriad of socio-economic factors — persistent poverty, lack of resources and access to educational support systems — continue to hinder the rate in which minorities enter higher education. Read more here.