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Seminar Series on DEI in CS

The School of Computer Science will launch a seminar series focusing on the impact of issues surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion in computer science. During the spring 2021 semester, we plan to host three or four seminars exploring such topics as broadening participation and access in computing and STEM, ethics and bias in AI, and justice and health as they relate to computer science. The series will feature speakers from academia, nonprofits and government to provide a broad perspective. Talks will be simulcast and available to all, and will be recorded for later viewing.

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

Upcoming Seminars

The seminar series has ended for the spring 2021 semester, but you can watch recordings of the events below. Check back for our fall 2021 schedule.

Past Seminars

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 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.


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.

Have a suggestion for a future SCS DEI seminar?

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SCS DEI Seminar Series Committee 

Brad Myers, HCII, Faculty (Chair)
Rachel Burcin, Robotics, Staff
Judeth Oden Choi, HCII, Ph.D. Student
Melisa Orta Martinez, Robotics, Faculty
Bryan Parno, CSD & ECE, Faculty
Ashley Williams Patton, CS Pathways, Staff