Seminar Series on DEI in CS

In 2021, the School of Computer Science established a diversity, equity and inclusion seminar series. The seminar series contributes to the depth of ongoing, university-wide discussions on dimensions of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging by highlighting the work of researchers, educators, advocates and industry in CS & STEM-related organizations.

The SCS DEI Seminar Series aims to educate, inspire and encourage discussion among SCS members about diversity, equity and inclusion in general and about DEI(B). The seminar series is open to all members of the SCS, CMU and wider communities.

Seminar speakers are intentionally chosen as a mix of local and nationally recognized experts to inspire reflection, promote conversation, expose new approaches and create opportunities for collaboration. The speakers are drawn from across CMU and industry.

Other seminars in SCS and CMU also focus on DEI topics, including the HCII Seminar Series and CyLab Seminar Series.

Upcoming Seminars

Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023 | 4:30 p.m. |  Watch the video

One Can of Carrots: A Conversation About Poverty Trauma

Tammy Thompson, Founder and Executive Director, Catapult Greater Pittsburgh

In "One Can of Carrots," Thompson shares her experience of food insecurity and connects it and other poverty experiences to trauma and how that trauma influences decision-making, self-perception and the ability to recognize opportunity.

Past Seminars

Friday, March 31, 2023 | 12 p.m.

AI in the Aviation Ecosystem of Drone Technology: Build With Diverse Voices, Inclusive Thought and Representation

Ernanda M. White, Founder and Executive Director, Black Girls Drone Inc.


Learn how drone technology — an emerging tech industry using AI and computer vision — requires diverse voices, research and inclusive thought leadership to advance further societal needs and human-centric approaches developed by various representatives from all backgrounds that can provide academic research in a range of scientific fields and technical disciplines.


  1. Learn how to leverage the AI technology needed to solve complex drone ecosystem problems.
  2. Identify interdisciplinary prompt-based research-creation for drones using AI.


Use cases of AI-enabled drone technology. AI tools and resources for effective research, the voice of the research community. Roles, responsibilities and representation to build and develop an inclusive thought drone ecosystem based on scientific and technological research practices to bridge the gap between science and technology.


I.         AI evidence-based drone research projects

Societal and environmental impacts of AI open source research practicalities. Develop AI drone technology research areas (examples).

II.         Putting CS equity solutions into practice

Inclusive research communities. Peer, academia and scholarly support. Career development and opportunities within the aviation/drone industry for CS scholars. AI initiatives. Drone industry initiatives to build inclusive research and development.

Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022 | 4:30 p.m. |  Watch the video

Broadening Participation in Computing by Opening New Pathways to the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D.

Carla Brodley, executive director of the Center for Inclusive Computing; former dean, Khoury College of Computer Sciences, Northeastern University

For the last two decades, professors, nonprofits, philanthropists, the NSF and other agencies have been working to broaden participation in computing (BPC) in higher education at all levels. Some progress has been made, but often it is incremental and takes place in small pockets. To accelerate the rate of progress in diversifying computing nationally requires that we as a field understand and remove institutional barriers at every level of higher ed and rethink the invitation to create systemic sustainable change. Launched in 2019 with funding from Pivotal Ventures LLC, an investment and incubation company created by Melinda French Gates, the Center for Inclusive Computing (CIC) is partnering with colleges and universities across the country to increase the representation of women — of all races and ethnicities — in computing. A key focus is to identify and remove institutional barriers and create new pathways to the B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in computing. In her talk, Carla Brodley, the CIC’s executive director and former dean of Northeastern’s Khoury College of Computer Sciences, will explore the most common institutional barriers the CIC sees across its portfolio. She will discuss the concrete measures that can be taken to address barriers to retention and the need to open new pathways to computing, such as creating a B.A. in computing, making CS1 a general education requirement, handling the distribution of prior computing experience in the intro sequence, creating interdisciplinary B.S./B.A. degrees, rethinking Ph.D. admissions, and creating and scaling the M.S. in CS for non-computer science majors.

April 29, 2021 |  4:30-5:30 p.m.  |  Watch the video

Panel: SCS Ph.D. Student DEI Research and Activities

Title: Promoting Justice and Equity in Computer Science

Judeth Oden Choi, moderator

Judeth is a Ph.D. student at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII) at CMU. Using a mixed-methods approach, she researches social justice activism on Twitter. Drawing from her background in theatre, she applies a dramaturgical lens to investigate the relationship between on-the-ground movement processes and networked protest. Her research interests also include theatre-based design methods, and playtesting methods for game and experience design. 

Erica Principe Cruz

Erica is an ARCS Scholar and Ph.D. student in the HCII at CMU, where she studies how digital games and immersive technology experiences can be designed to empower marginalized communities. She investigates computer-mediated play as a potential tool for practicing playful resistance as personal methods of combating oppression. Erica also studies how countercultures and counterspaces within academic research can be designed to support the joy and rest of her communities.

Priya Donti

Priya is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science and Public Policy at CMU, and a U.S. Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellow. She is also a co-founder and chair of Climate Change AI, an initiative to catalyze impactful work in climate change and machine learning. Her work lies at the intersection of machine learning, electric power systems and climate change mitigation. Specifically, her research explores ways to incorporate domain knowledge (such as power system physics) into machine learning models.

Bailey Flanigan

Bailey is a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department theory group at CMU. In her research, she studies social and democratic systems through lenses of fairness, equity and social welfare. She co-founded and now leads the development of a course designed to teach STEM Ph.D. students about privilege, bias, allyship and inclusion. In her spare time, she likes to read novels and do experimental cooking. Her focus for this panel will be teaching anti-bias in a mandatory setting.

Joshua Williams

Joshua is a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department at CMU. His research area focuses on machine learning and its social impact. Primarily, he is interested in understanding the long-term social ramifications of data-driven decision systems, especially as they relate to the criminal justice system. Joshua is funded through the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. His focus for this panel will be on the need for community engagement in AI research.

April 22, 2021 |  4:30-5:30 p.m.  |  Watch the video

Jeffrey Forbes

Program Director for the Education and Workforce program in the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (NSF CISE)

Talk title: "Exploring the National Science Foundation’s Work in Broadening Participation in Computing"

The National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) is committed to addressing the long-standing underrepresentation of various populations — including women, Black Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and persons with disabilities — in computing disciplines. CISE encourages principal investigators to develop and submit plans to detail how they will broaden participation in computing (BPC) as part of their CISE research projects. This talk will provide an overview of CISE’s efforts in BPC; inform participants about the components of a meaningful BPC project and departmental plan; highlight ongoing and successful BPC activities; and discuss opportunities for funding of BPC, including supplements, demonstration projects, and alliances.

About the Speaker

Jeff is the lead program director for the Education & Workforce Program in the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering, managing programs that address the critical and complex issues of education and broadening participation in computing. He is the director of research and policy for the Constellations Center for Equity in Computing at Georgia Tech. From 2001 to 2019, Jeff was on the faculty of Duke University, where he was an associate professor of the practice of computer science. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, respectively. His research interests include computer science education, social information processing and learning analytics.


April 21, 2022 | 4:30 p.m. | Watch the video

Data-Driven Diversity with Kody Manke and Kevin Jarbo

The Data-Driven Diversity Lab uses data and insights from psychology and behavioral economics to understand how different groups experience student success, thriving and a sense of belonging at Carnegie Mellon University. Kody Manke and Kevin Jarbo, co-directors of the D3 Lab, will share their approaches and experiences around diversity and inclusion at CMU.

April 14, 2022 | 5 p.m. | Watch the video

Centering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Impact With Kerri Fetzer-Borelli

Kerri Fetzer-Borelli, executive program manager at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), designed and launched a range of diversity, equity and inclusion programs at TRI. These programs provided an opportunity for TRI to review each aspect of its organization and product development.

April 1, 2021  |  4:30 - 5:30 p.m.  |  Watch the video

Kelauni Jasmyn

Founder and CEO, Black Tech Nation

Talk title: “Black in Tech”

Kelauni Jasmyn is the Founder and Executive Director of Black Tech Nation (//BTN) - a digital network of Black technologists, innovators, and entrepreneurs headquartered in Pittsburgh. She’s also the Founder & CEO of Olivia Wayne - a Black tech talent and recruiting agency, and one of three General Partners at Black Tech Nation Ventures (//BTNV).

After noticing the lack of Black involvement in the tech industry, Kelauni built Black Tech Nation aka #DigitalWakanda, in 2018 to serve as a digital community and much-needed resource for the Black tech unicorns in Pittsburgh and beyond. //BTN now supports over 1200+ members and allies across the country and internationally, and works in partnership with several Pittsburgh foundations, local institutions, global tech companies, and successful venture firms who are dedicated to diversifying the color of tech.

In 2020, Kelauni formed Black Tech Nation Ventures with Partners David Motley and Sean Sebastian, a $50 million fund to support Black entrepreneurs and startups led by Black executives and people from diverse backgrounds. //BTNV has been featured by Bloomberg, TechCrunch, and AfroTech and has garnered pending investments from several Fortune 100 companies. She also founded Olivia Wayne in 2021, a recruiting agency for Black tech talent which serves as a sister recruiting company to the global Black Tech Nation network.

Kelauni is a native Chicagoan and a summa cum laude graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of Science in biology and chemistry. She currently serves publicly as the Vice Chair of the policy and entrepreneurship committee for IEEE-USA - the largest tech organization in the world.


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