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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Computer Science and Society (Pilot)


Bailey Flanigan she/her
course development lead

Bailey is a PhD student in the Computer Science Department’s theory group. Her research focuses on algorithms and learning theory, and on applying theoretical tools from these areas to real-world problems like mass incarceration, fair democratic representation, and online polarization.

Bailey co-founded this course to help equip students with the tools to actively make computer science and of academia more inclusive, and to make social and economic systems more equitable.

Catalina Vaijac she/her

Catalina is a PhD student in the Computer Science Department working on graph mining problems. Her research focuses on creating explainable anomaly detection algorithms in close collaboration with domain experts. Her projects include finding human trafficking cases in online escort advertisements, and clustering to better predict churning users in time-evolving transaction networks.

Catalina co-founded this course to be a driving force towards a healthier and more equitable environment not just in academia, but in computer science as a whole.

Sara McAllister she/her

Sara is a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department in the systems group. Her research focuses on designing scalable storage and caching systems to allow quick and efficient access to large amounts of data. Before starting her PhD, Sara completed her BS in Computer Science at Harvey Mudd College where she saw first-hand the benefits of systematically working toward a more inclusive environment across STEM disciplines. Outside of research, Sara enjoys playing board games and performing comedy improv.

Sara co-founded this course because she wants the next generation of computer science leaders to be better equipped to create diverse, equitable, and inclusive spaces where they did not exist before so that all computer scientists can reach their dreams.

Course Development Working Group

Alex L. Wang he/his

Alex is a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science department working on problems at the intersection of theory and continuous optimization. His research has recently focused on understanding semidefinite programs and their ability to solve quadratically constrained quadratic programs.

Alex joined this working group to spread awareness of DEI issues in academia with the hope of engendering a more inclusive environment within the department and field.

Anson Kahng he/his

Anson is a PhD student in the Computer Science Department working on problems at the intersection of theory and artificial intelligence, particularly in algorithmic game theory and computational social choice. His research focuses on theoretical foundations of novel democratic paradigms. He joined this group because he wants to help fight for a more diverse and inclusive culture in computer science where members of underrepresented groups have equal access to success.

Judeth Oden Choi she/her

Judy is a PhD student at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon. Using a mixed methods approach, she researches social justice activism on Twitter, with a focus on the relationship between on-the-ground actions and networked protest. Her research interests also include playtesting methods for game and experience design (, and embodied design methods. With a background in theatre, she is interested in marrying elements of dramaturgy, play and performance with participatory and community-based design methods to support more equitable relationships with collaborators and the design of technology grounded in social justice principles.

Liv Zane she/her

Liv is an administrative assistant in the Computer Science department and the Outreach Programs manager for Women@SCS. She graduated from Vassar College in 2019 with a BA in Jewish Studies. Her coursework and extracurricular activities used an intersectional lens to research and combat discrimination against women, POC, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other marginalized groups within the larger Jewish community; she also studied the history of anti-Semitism on a global scale. Liv joined this committee to further Women@SCS and SCS4All’s mission to cultivate a more tolerant, equitable, and inclusive atmosphere at SCS and equip students and alumni with the knowledge and skills to be allies and agents of positive change in academia or industry.

Pallavi Koppol she/her

Pallavi is a PhD student in the Computer Science department working on human-in-the-loop learning, with an emphasis on collaborative learning processes for value-aligned systems. Her work focuses on soliciting and leveraging richer human feedback, enabling more interpretable models, and making ML development more accessible to all. She joined this working group in order to contribute towards a more inclusive community, where everyone feels welcome.

Tim Lee they/them

Tim is a Ph.D. student at the CMU Robotics Institute. Their research leverages causal structure and transfer learning for robot manipulation in challenging, real-world settings, such as homes, hospitals, and public places. They have developed automation technologies for various industrial applications, such as self-driving cars and nuclear reactors. Similar to their interests in robot applications that provide positive societal impact, their contributions to this course are motivated by a desire for greater fairness and equity in society.

We would additionally like to thank the following people for lending us their expertise:

  • Dr. Alexis Adams (Postdoctoral Teaching Consultant @ Eberly Center)
  • Dr. Joanna Dickert (Assistant Dean for Educational Experience Assessment)
  • Dr. Chad Hershock (Director of Faculty & Graduate Student Programs @ Eberly Center)
  • Ashley Patton (Founding Director @ CS Pathways)
  • Dr. Maggie Hannan (Simon Initiative Associate Director for K-12 @ CS Pathways)
  • Shernell Smith (Executive Director @ CMU Center for Diversity and Inclusion)
  • Professor Geoff Kaufman (HCII)
  • Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Andra Gailis
  • Dr. Daniel Ostick (Assistant Director for Student and Staff Development, Department of Resident Life, University of Maryland) and EDCP/HESI 470 (“Introduction to Student Personnel”)