Meeting of the Minds: The Role of AI in Broadening Participation in Computing

Date: April 3, 2024
Time: 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Location: Online
Blue and green graphic with circular accents featuring the ncwitorg  Higher Ed Alliance logo and text Meeting of the Minds Discussing the Role of AI in Broadening Participation in Computing April 3 2024 Enrico Pontelli PhD Irene Lee MEd Tom Pearson MS Melanie Moses PhD Amy Eguchi PhD

Hosted by the NCWIT Higher Ed Alliance

On Wednesday, April 3rd at 2:30 pm ET | 1:30 pm CT | 12:30 pm MT | 11:30 am PT, join a Meeting of the Minds discussing the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in broadening participation in computing. Register and attend to learn more about the impact of early exposure to AI among historically underrepresented groups in computing, the role of AI education in 2-year programs, the challenges of AI within the higher education landscape, and conclude with an interactive discussion of the interplay between cultural responsiveness and AI education. The event will be moderated by Enrico Pontelli, Dean of Arts and Sciences at New Mexico State University (NMSU), and he will be joined by panelists from other NCWIT Higher Ed Alliance member institutions:

Meet the Moderator

Enrico Pontelli, Ph.D.
Dean of Arts and Sciences, Regents Professor Leadership at New Mexico State University (NMSU)

Dr. Enrico Pontelli is currently a Regents Professor of Computer Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at NMSU, which is where he received his Ph.D. in 1997 and continued his academic career, moving through the ranks. He is an active researcher with over 300 peer-reviewed publications in the areas of knowledge representation and reasoning; logic and constraint programming; high performance computing; bioinformatics; and assistive technologies. He has been involved in a broad range of efforts focused on broadening participation in computing – including the creation of the NMSU Young Women in Computing program — which has been in place since 2006 and has served thousands of students in southern New Mexico — and serving on the leadership team of the Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) where he is the lead of the CAHSI Southwest region. In addition, Dr. Pontelli and his NMSU colleagues have been ongoing and active participants and contributors to NCWIT’s broadening participation in undergraduate computing programs. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Career award and he is the founding director of the NMSU Center of Research Excellence in Smartgrid Technologies.

Meet the Panelists

Irene Lee, M.Ed.
Research Scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 

Irene Lee is a Research Scientist at MIT and a Distinguished Scholar at the Education Development Center. She earned a B.A. in Pure Mathematics from the University of Chicago and a Master of Education, specializing in Technology Education from Harvard University. She is a leader in AI Literacy education with experience in research and development of AI Literacy curricula, assessment tools, and teacher professional development programs. She also serves as PI/co-PI on three NSF projects investigating AI Literacy education for middle and high school students and their teachers. Lee has contributed 11 publications of AI Literacy education between 2020-present and has played a pivotal role in the field through sharing curricula, PD designs, and a validated AI Concept Inventory assessment instrument. Lee is a regular speaker on the topic of AI literacy, computer science education in the age of AI, and Ethics in AI education at conferences and on expert panels. She sits on the advisory boards of over a dozen NSF funded projects, education foundations, and non-profit organizations.

Tom Pearson, M.S.
Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Maricopa Community Colleges (CGCC)

Tom Pearson is the Interim Associate Dean of Workforce Programs at CGCC. He earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Hawaii Pacific University and a M.S. in Computer Information Systems from the University of Phoenix. At CGCC, he served as the division chair and a faculty member of computer information systems. Mr. Pearson was part of the core team that collaborated with Intel to create the Artificial Intelligence program at CGCC; the first AI associate’s degree in the nation. He also was a presenter at the AI Teaching and Learning Summit at CGCC in October 2023. Prior to joining academia in 2012, Mr. Pearson worked in the Information Technology field for 12 years in desktop support, server administration, and network engineering. He also served in the US Air Force for 22 years, where he worked in electronics on ground-based air defense radars.

Melanie Moses, Ph.D.
Professor of Computer Science at the University of New Mexico (UNM)

Dr. Melanie E. Moses is a Professor of Computer Science and Biology at UNM and an External Faculty Member at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI). She earned a B.S. from Stanford University in Symbolic Systems and a Ph.D. in Biology from UNM. Her interdisciplinary research crosses the boundaries of Computer Science and Biology by modeling search processes in complex adaptive systems such as ant colonies and immune systems, and most recently, the immune response to the virus that causes COVID-19. She also uses bio-inspired designs of swarms of robots which autonomously cooperate with each other and adapt to monitor environmental conditions, currently focusing on monitoring gas emissions from volcanoes. She has mentored dozens of graduate and undergraduate students and led projects, including NM CSforAll, the NASA Swarmathon, and the Google ExploreCSR Swarmathon:TNG to engage thousands of women and members of underrepresented groups in computer science from high school through graduate school. In addition, she co-founded the UNM-SFI Working Group on Algorithmic Justice and is on the leadership team of the UNM ADVANCE program to support the success of women faculty in STEM. Dr. Moses is currently a board member of the Computing Research Association’s Committee on Widening Participation in Computing (CRA-WP), a NSF BPC Alliance which partners closely with NCWIT and other BPC Alliances. In addition, she serves on the board of Reboot Catalyst to increase participation of Black, Latina, and Native American women in computer science. At UNM, Dr. Moses is a Special Advisor to the Dean of Engineering for Educational Initiatives and to the Vice President for Research for Artificial Intelligence.

Amy Eguchi, Ph.D.
Associate Teaching Professor of Computer Science Education at University of California San Diego

Dr. Amy Eguchi is an Associate Teaching Professor of Computer Science Education at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). She holds her Ed.M. in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Ph.D. in Education from the University of Cambridge. She possesses a wealth of experience as a teacher, educator, and leader in technologically enhanced education to promote students’ STREAM (R=robotics) +CS learning, with a particular focus on educational robotics, CS education, and AI in K-12 settings. Her professional background and experience focus on providing better STREAM+CS learning opportunities for all students, including underprivileged and gender-marginalized students. She served as the RoboCup Federation (RCF) vice president representing RoboCupJunior for six years and was a member of the RCF Board of Trustees for 13 years focusing on providing inclusive opportunities for diverse populations of students around the world. Her broadening participation work involves K-12 students, their teachers and parents, and their communities, as well as undergraduate students to broaden participation in the field of CS and AI. She has also served on the advisory board for AI for K-12 initiatives, and is a member of the AI for CA initiative promoting AI literacy in California. Her work in educational robotics through competitions and projects became the foundation of her work in AI for education, with which she has collaborations with UCSD faculty members across departments as well as Google, UNESCO, MathWorks, SONY, United Robotics Group, and more. Dr. Eguchi is one of a number of UCSD faculty who have facilitated important broadening participation in computing conversations as part of NCWIT’s systemic change programs for alliance members. 

About the Meeting of the Minds series

This web-based discussion series is free and open to the public – geared toward post-secondary computing faculty, staff, researchers, graduate students, and those in student-facing roles. By bringing together experienced practitioners and evidence based research, these events take on today’s largest challenges in broadening participation in computing. These problems are commonplace but require unique solutions. Join in to learn and share innovative solutions alongside colleagues.

About the NCWIT Higher Ed Alliance

The NCWIT Higher Ed Alliance is a nationwide coalition of post-secondary institutions that are dedicated to increasing equity and inclusion in computing by broadening participation of underrepresented and marginalized groups. To join the NCWIT Higher Ed Alliance, simply complete this Higher Ed Alliance Membership Form to be sent further details regarding membership. Please direct any questions to [email protected].

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