Academic Alliance Awardees, 2021

Academic Alliance Seed Fund Recipients

The College of St. Scholastica Computer
Information Systems Department

Project Principal Investigators: Tom Gibbons and Jennifer Rosato

The Georgia Gwinnett College School of
Science and Technology

Project Principal Investigators: Lorraine Jonassen, Hyesung Park, and Wei Ji

The department will develop resources to strengthen the community college pathway for underrepresented students in computing. They will offer two workshops to support faculty and staff in creating welcoming online environments, both in the recruiting process and within undergraduate computing classes. The department will also work to decrease obstacles for students transferring from two-year to four-year computing programs by building partnerships with area community colleges.

The team will establish a virtual peer mentoring program to retain underrepresented minority students in Information Technology. The program will support students by fostering a sense of belonging within the discipline and developing the skills and knowledge that help students to persist and progress in computing classes. In addition, the program will allow upper-level students who are serving as mentors to practice communication and leadership skills.

Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award Recipient

Dr. Barbara Ryder, Virgina Tech

Dr. Barbara Ryder, J. Byron Maupin Professor Emerita of Engineering in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech, has been named the recipient of the 2021 Harrold and Notkin Research and Graduate Mentoring Award.

The award, sponsored by the NCWIT Board of Directors, recognizes faculty members from non-profit institutions who distinguish themselves with outstanding research and excellent graduate mentoring, as well as those who recruit, encourage, and promote women and minorities in computing fields. It is bestowed in memory of Mary Jean Harrold and David Notkin, in honor of their outstanding research, graduate mentoring, and diversity contributions. Read more.

Mentoring Award for Undergraduate Research Recipients

Damla Turgut
Senior Faculty Member
Charles Millican Professor of Computer Science
University of Central Florida

Dr. Turgut served as PI for an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in which 50 percent of the participants were women, and more than 75 percent were Hispanic, African American, and/or first-generation college students. The program produced such projects as smart mobility devices and ScaledHome, a reconfigurable model of a suburban home and its external environment. Of the students who co-authored papers as a result of this program, 38 percent were women. 

Diba Mirza
Junior Faculty Member
Associate Teaching Professor in Computer Science
University of California (UC) Santa Barbara

In 2018, Dr. Mirza established an Early Research Scholars Program at UC Santa Barbara, expanding a program already in operation at UC San Diego. More than 50 percent of program participants have been women, and three student teams (including eight women students) have published four first-author papers at peer-reviewed conferences. In addition to teaching an undergraduate research methods course, Dr. Mirza has co-mentored 28 students. She also organizes an annual student research showcase. 

Haiyan Cheng
Senior Faculty Member 
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Willamette University

Dr. Cheng’s approach to mentoring is to immerse students in real-world problems by integrating computational science and data science into interdisciplinary research. Her students have participated in cross-disciplinary projects in such areas as numerical methods for forecasting weather and computational social science. Fifteen of her students, including five women, have presented posters at local conferences. She has also mentored students through upper division courses that combine computational thinking, data-driven problem solving, project-based learning, and research.

Gloria Washington
Junior Faculty Member 
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Howard University

Dr. Washington has mentored numerous students through a DHS/DOD-funded grant designed to expose undergraduates to research in biometrics and cybersecurity. She is also Co-PI for a program called I-RISE Scholars, in which undergraduate students have the opportunity to work directly with her graduate students on research in biometrics, computer science education, and augmented reality. In addition, Dr. Washington teaches an undergraduate research class in which students pursue independent research projects of their own.

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