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New Diversity and Inclusion Projects Powered by the IEEE Computer Society Diversity and Inclusion Fund

Computer D And I

In 2021, the IEEE Computer Society (IEEE CS) launched its Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Fund of the IEEE Foundation, with a primary objective of supporting projects and programs that positively impact diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the computer engineering and computer science communities. The first call for proposals launched in Q4 2021, to support 2022 activities, and a wide range of strong submissions made for a competitive selection process. 

Ultimately, the first round of funded proposals included programs that introduced new ways to bring together BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) high-school students, teach computer literacy in rural communities, produce mentoring circles and inclusive teaching spaces, and enable workshops and courses for underrepresented communities in four countries around the world. At the close of 2022, these programs reported that having access to D&I Fund resources allowed them to expand computer science and engineering opportunities for historically underrepresented populations. 

For example, at the University of Washington Bothell, the D&I Fund grant enabled the launch of a summer high school internship program designed to assimilate BIPOC high schoolers into the university research environment. Through a targeted, direct recruiting process that included outreach to an American Indian tribal organization, graduates of color, and a Japanese-American Society, four BIPOC high school students were selected to participate in the program where they gained an understanding of parallel programming, ran parallel-computing libraries, participated in a comparison among C/C++ agent-based parallel simulators or a parallelization of computational geometry programs using MASS and data-streaming tools in Java. They also learned how to use graph-generating tools such as gnuplot and have them visualize their measurements. 

“Our intent was to assimilate our interns into computer science as well as into parallel and distributed computing. We planned to not only give the high school students internship experiences but also mentor them toward their university study in computer science,” said Munehiro Fukuda, professor and chair of the distributed computing laboratory at University of Washington Bothell, and the project leader. 
By all accounts, that goal was achieved. One of the program’s interns received an AP Scholar Award, another took early actions for university application in October 2022, a third is now taking running-start courses, and the fourth has begun working on university applications as part of their senior year. 

With the initial year’s success as a backdrop, in October of 2022, IEEE CS issued its second call for D&I proposals with the intent to quadruple the amount of funding provided. Nita Patel, 2023 IEEE CS President explained, “In our first year, we received many grassroots proposals. This year, we’re striving for a balance of larger-scale programs and continued investment in grassroots initiatives.” IEEE CS will announce the newly funded programs during the first quarter of 2023.

The next call for proposals will open in October 2023 for projects to be implemented in 2024, and anyone interested in submitting can find out more by contacting inclusion@computer.org.For more information on IEEE CS D&I initiatives, visit https://www.computer.org/about/diversity-inclusion



On the last day of their program, University of Washington Bothell interns summarized performance measurement, visualized measurements with Excel and gnuplot, and wrote up their final reports under the guidance of Professor Munehiro Fukuda (back left). 

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