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Diversity In Computer Science

Students at Tapia Conference with Richard Tapia

Our mission is to foster an inclusive community of students, staff, and faculty. We seek to recruit, welcome, mentor, and educate a diverse group of Computer Science graduate and undergraduate students, including significant numbers of women and underrepresented minorities. Our goal is to be a diverse department that is representative of our society and that uses computing to benefit society through technological innovation.

Diversity and inclusions activities involve all aspects and stakeholders of the department, including alumni and friends who contribute time and resources.  The department was recognized in 2016 by an award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) for progress and continuing commitment to increase the participation of women in computer science.  Funding from this award, along with the generousity of many alumni, helped establish the Barbara G. Ryder Fund for Excellence in Computer Science.  Income from this endowed fund helps support many initiatives in support of diversity and inclusion.

Since 1992, the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) has provided encouragement and support to engineering students, focusing on the under-represented population. Learn more at their website.

TechGirls is an international exchange program designed to inspire and empower high school girls from the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia in STEM. The 60+ girls visited Virginia Tech to learn from faculty experts in coding, programming, and cybersecurity. They also visited local businesses for a job shadowing day.

Their visit was facilitated by the Center for Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED) at Virginia Tech. TechGirls is a program of the U.S. Department of State, administered by Legacy International.

Learn more about their 2019 visit in the video below.

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Group of middle school girls at Women in Computing Day

Since 1998, the Association for Women in Computing (AWC) chapter has sponsored an annual Women in Computing Day for local 6th and 7th graders. This event continues to bring about 100 local girls to Virginia Tech for a day of fun with computers. Activities in the past have introduced girls to coding using Snap, circuits using LEDs and batteries, app design, and biotechnology.

2020 On-Demand Diversity Events

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Diversity in CS Panel
Panelists shared the challenges that the African-American community faces in the computer science field. Panelists include: Briana Augenreich ('15), Victoria Hairston ('17), and Lawrence Warren (MS '18).

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Women in CS Panel
Panelists share their personal pathways and experiences in a male dominated industry, talk about the importance of female networks, and share how they are paving the way for other women in computer science. Panelists include: Margaret Ellis (MS '02), Associate Professor of Practice; Sarah Lee ('18); and Megan Underwood ('08).

The Diversity Committee gives leadership across a broad range of areas and activities.  The committee helps track progress, identify challenges, and carry out initiatives designed to improve diversity and inclusion in the department, as well as foster a positive and welcoming climate for students, faculty, and staff in computer science.

Young Cao

Young Cao (co-chair)
Associate Professor

Melanie Darden

Melanie Darden
Financial Specialist

 

Margaret Ellis

Margaret Ellis
Associate Professor of Practice

Liqing Zhang

Liqing Zhang (co-chair)
Associate Professor

Steve Edwards

Steve Edwards
Professor
Associate Department Head for Undergraduate Studies

Scott McCrickard

Scott McCrickard
Associate Professor