2016 NCWIT Summit – NCWIT Flash Tank Winners

Headshot of Lucy Sanders, CEO and Co-Founder NCWIT
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LUCY SANDERS: All right, welcome back to our final plannery session, for the 2016 NCWIT Summit. I’d also like to welcome back those who are viewing the live stream remotely. How’d your alliance meetings go? Good? Everybody had good [applause] Yay. Our alliances are super important because that’s where organizations that are in similar situations, post-secondary, K-12, corporations, start-ups, meet together to share practices. So it’s super important to do that sharing, and we’ll continue to do more of that in the future. So, I want to give all of you a big round of applause, and you should give each other a round of applause for working so hard at the Summit, and all year long. Thank you. [applause] And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, it’s my pleasure to announce the winner of the 2016 Flash Talk in the Flash Tank. And forgive me if this sounds a little wobbly, because I think I wrote it at 5 a.m. in the morning or something. So, but first, let’s bring Darren Green back, Managing Director, Microsoft Research Outreach, to the stage. Microsoft has generously donated a Surface to today’s winner. Darren, why don’t you tell us about this Surface.

DARREN GREEN: You’re doing that now to embarrass me. The reason being that it’s actually a Surface Book. Which is the new model. And I was gonna sneak this into my backpack, and swap mine into here, so. [laughing]

LUCY SANDERS: Darren says he doesn’t even have one. So, there you go. So as expected, the deliberation was a pretty hard one. The ideas covered by our six top Flash Talkers, covered a very broad range, and a lot of ground. They were also very thought provoking, as I’ve moved around the Summit talking to people. A lot of people saying, I got this idea from that Flash Talk, or that Flash Talk. Or I pulled this out, or that out. And so a lot of the ideas are already percolating, in terms of ideas that you are taking home. Some of the Flash Talks were very specific, about a very specific thing that we should do, as NCWIT. And some were more broad, like a whole area of things. You know, like a whole spectrum of things, that NCWIT should be taking on. So before we name the winner, I think we should give all of our Flash Talker’s and our judges another round of applause. [applause] So, but we did have to choose. Because if we stay too much longer talking, we need to get to the reception. So we did have to choose, and the judges were pretty unanimous in their choices. They chose basically in the area that surfaced a gap. Like a really big gap in our understanding, and in our knowledge. You know, of an area that really could be impacting our work to increase the diversity and inclusion in computing, right? And so, really in some sense a gap in our understanding, and our community understanding. And that we needed to have more information about this particular area. But, they also took this idea and realized because it was so broad and so big, that we needed to in some sense IDA in a particular area. Choose a piece and start there. It doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t take other parts of it once we understood more, but that we needed to study more and because NCWIT is a research based organization, that we needed to sort of apply some front-end analysis of the area that this Flash Talker actually presented to us. And so, I am pleased to announce, that the 2016 Flash Tank winning presentation goes to Alberto Roca, PhD and founder, DiverseScholar. Is he here? [applause] Here he comes. [applause continues] So the judges felt that the broad issues of tech reporting and it’s potential impact on our efforts to make tech more diverse and inclusive, really deserves a look. A qualitative and quantitative study, the demographics of tech reporters, who are they? You know, what are they reporting on? You know, is it really you know, like a white male sort of area? You know like, we don’t really know what the demographics are, we don’t know what they choose to cover, we don’t have any fact checking on what they do present. There’s a lot we don’t know about the tech journalism space, and it stands to reason, that it would have a big impact on our efforts. Either positive or negative. We also want to understand, you know, reporting at tech conferences, and all the other areas that Alberto mentioned. So, the idea will start with a study, qualitative, quantitative study. We’re gonna look at a broad range of things in the tech journalism space, and hopefully move from there, once we understand a bit more. So, congratulations Alberto. [applause] The other talks also brought to the surface, no pun intended, [chuckling] things that we’re going to act on using structures that NCWIT already has in place. Every speaker had great ideas of things that we could put back into our existing NCWIT infrastructures. So, Jill, we had two Jills. So I’m gonna use their last names, Jill Denner, community colleges, yes, we absolutely have to do more to really put intersection between our community college efforts. We need to grow them. And then we need to connect better to our workforce alliance, to internships, to aspirations in computing, etc. So we will definitely be taking that on. [applause] Yay. Jill Wetsler, the idea of advocates program, was one that we thought really deserved some attention, you know. We know there’s a real barrier there in terms of employees bringing forward their concerns to HR, you know? There can be a chasm of understanding between employees and HR sometimes, and that maybe this idea of advocates really deserves a look. So we’re going to put that on the list of something for the workforce alliance, and entrepreneurial alliance to consider for a work team. So thank you very much for doing that. [applause] And Daniella, we heard you loud and clear that we need more resources for differently-abled people. You know, that in fact we need to do a better job of integrating all of that. So last night I talked to Richard Latner, who we will work together with access computing, to make sure that we are looking at resources perhaps more diligently, and moving some of your concerns ahead as well. So thank you for that. [applause] Manuel, your talk on leveraging the existing math infrastructure to further CS education, really brought to the surface the need to bring math organizations into the NCWIT K-12 alliance at the very least. So we will definitely be working on that as well. [applause] And then finally, Ruha, agile methodology and diversity inclusion, what an innovative idea. Like who would have thought about agile, except Ruha of course. Agile as a structure for organizing diversity and inclusions mechanisms on any kind of team. So we will be working, and already have somebody, who is going to go back to their company, and pursue maybe doing a pilot of this idea. Of agile and using agile in terms of structuring diversity and inclusion efforts at their company. I can’t say who that is just yet, ’cause I have to sort of get permission, if you will. But, we do think a pilot is the best approach to move that thinking forward. So thank you for that. [applause]

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