Broaden the diversity of education, outreach, and training activities

CISL supports underrepresented researchers
CISL Diversity, Education, and Outreach Specialist, AJ Lauer, with Yegeta Zeleke, the CISL-sponsored student travel scholarship recipient at the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.

Many of NCAR’s outreach efforts are aimed at increasing diversity. In the areas of computational and data science, CISL conducts outreach at conferences that focus on the overlap of diversity and computer science by attending events like the Rocky Mountain Celebration of Women in Computing, the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, or the ADMI Symposium on Computing at Minority Institutions. NCAR advertises internship and employment opportunities at the IEEE Supercomputing Conference Job Fair and at conferences such as AMS and AGU, as well as on email lists, professional society sites, and university career centers that serve underrepresented groups. NCAR and UCAR internship programs collaborate in outreach activities and have established a reciprocal arrangement for distributing each other’s brochures at events. Diversity outreach and engagement activities in the computational and data sciences are designed to foster strategic diversity-enhancing conversations and collaborations in mutually beneficial areas in general and at NCAR specifically.

CISL programs enhance the quality and diversity of CISL interns, apprentices, and job applicants, and increase awareness of opportunities for students, faculty, and collaborators among target institutions, underrepresented communities, and EPSCoR states. These programs also promote diversity, enhance CISL’s culture of teaching and mentorship, and stimulate collaborations with the university community, all in support of NCAR’s strategic imperative to educate and entrain a talented and diverse group of students and early-career professionals.

For the fourth year in a row, CISL has participated in the Association of Computer/Information Sciences and Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions (ADMI) Symposium on Computing at Minority Institutions. This year the Symposium was held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina from 31 March through 2 April, 2016. ADMI was founded in August 1989, with the mission of exploring and providing remedies to the educational issues in computer/information science and computer engineering that confront minority institutions of higher education. The 2016 ADMI Symposium highlighted undergraduate and graduate research with particular interest in data science. An important facet of the symposium is the opportunity to explore collaborations between major research institutions, industry, and minority institutions. Faculty and students present research papers, discuss poster presentations, and explore graduate school options. This year the CISL representatives at the ADMI Symposium did outreach to the attendees on behalf of the NCAR-UCAR-Wyoming partnership by distributing information about NCAR/UCAR/University of Wyoming internships, graduate research, and other educational and career opportunities. About 20 student attendees signed up for the SIParCS information email listserv. CISL staff also judged ADMI’s student poster competition. A CISL collaboration with Intel brought Todd Singleton, VP of Sales at Mashery, as a keynote speaker. Mr. Singleton gave a well-received talk that tied his life experiences to a powerful technology message.

In FY2016 CISL provided funding to support the biennial Rocky Mountain Celebration of Women in Computing. CISL sponsored travel for two female staff members and one female SIParCS intern to attend the conference. One hundred sixty college-age women attended the conference, as well as some high school students and early-career professionals. The CISL attendees provided mentoring to younger women at the conference and staffed a job fair booth where they provided information about the SIParCS program and other internship opportunities through NCAR and UCAR. About 30 of these attendees signed up for the SIParCS information email listserv.

CISL also provided funding to support travel for one student to attend the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. The Tapia Conference was held in Austin, Texas on 14-17 September and had about 900 attendees. Travel scholarship recipient Yegeta Zeleke is a Ph.D. student studying Sensor Networks and Autonomous systems at the University of California at Santa Cruz. CISL’s Diversity, Education, and Outreach Specialist attended the conference accompanied by the UCAR Senior Recruiter to staff a booth at the Job Fair. About 30 students signed up for the SIParCS information email listserv, and several students were identified as candidates who may be interested in participating in the CISL Visitor Program.

These and other diversity-enriching activities were funded by NSF Core travel funds.