NCWIT 2012 Summit – Flash Talks Introduction, Jeff Forbes

JEFFREY FORBES: Thank you. So I’m Jeff Forbes. I’m going to be the emcee for the Flash Talks. I’m from the National Science Foundation. And NCWIT is really excited to bring you something new and different this afternoon. Something they’ve never tried before and they’re calling them Flash Talks. So just to give you a little bit of background about the Flash Talks. So these Flash Talks are short, thought-provoking presentations which are designed to inspire, teach, or just make you think about something in a different way. Flash Talks are modeled after the popular IGNITE presentations that you may have seen around the country, but, unfortunately, without all the beer. [audience laughter] So unlike most other presentations, where the speaker is in full control and advances the slides and determines how many slides they’re going to have, in this case, the speakers are, you know, very pioneering people and they are going to cede control in a very fixed format. You’re going to… For each talk, there will be 20 slides that automatically advance every 15 seconds. So, 20 times 15, that gives you 300 seconds, or five total minutes, and that’s it. It’s going to move regardless of what they do. [audience laughter] So prior to the Summit, NCWIT put the call out to the community to submit a talk about your passions, interests, experience, or research, and related to NCWIT’s broader mission to increase diversity in computing. And some great topics were submitted. And then you, the community members, were asked to vote on them. The talks you’re about to see reflect the winners of your votes as well as a few talks that were selected by NCWIT. Speaking in a format like this, in front of an audience like you, is frankly pretty challenging. You know, about as challenging as publishing research in a big peer-reviewed venue, but unfortunately, again, without getting all the academic credit, so… [audience laughter] You really need to give these speakers a lot of credit, because they’ve put an incredible amount of work into their presentations. I can tell you that having to set aside, you know, and just watch the slides move, is a really tough thing to do. So we really hope that you appreciate what they’ve done, and I want you to get ready to open your minds.

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