CS&E’s Yao-Yi Chiang and Jina Kim Named to First DEI Committee for ACM SIGSPATIAL

Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CS&E) Associate Professor Yao-Yi Chiang was appointed the chair for the first ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee for the Association of Computing Machinery’s (ACM) Special Interest Group on Spatial Information (SIGSPATIAL). The SIGSPATIAL DEI Committee is dedicated to advancing the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the SIGSPATIAL community and beyond.

CS&E Ph.D. student Jina Kim and fellow Ph.D. student Min Namgung co-organized the first networking event for female researchers at the 2022 ACM SIGSPATIAL conference. The first meeting was an informal gathering at the public lounge to make it easy for anyone to attend. Female graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and high school students had the opportunity to connect with each other, share their experiences, and discuss how to build a career. In 2023, Kim and Min organized the second networking event at the SIGSPATIAL with three invited mentors, Professor Li Xiong, Dr. Lexie Yang, and Professor Christine Bassem. Kim and Min have also organized similar events at other conferences in the fields of spatial computing and computer science.

“We want to increase our DEI efforts and have more students engaged with these professional research organizations, especially students from underrepresented groups,” said Kim. “We want to expand beyond just female students and ensure that everyone can feel more engaged. We want to hear from students and implement opportunities that they are excited about. We hope that these networking events will continue to grow.”

After the success of the networking events in 2022 and 2023, John Krumm, the president of SIGSPATIAL, decided to increase DEI efforts moving forward and appointed Chiang as the first chair of this new committee. In addition to Kim, Heba Aly from Amazon has joined as the third committee member. The ACM SIGSPATIAL DEI Committee will address DEI initiatives and meet with the SIGSPATIAL Executive Committee to discuss its efforts.

“We are committed to fostering diversity within spatial computing, computer science and engineering, and throughout all STEM disciplines,” said Chiang. “An immediate objective is to enhance participation in scientific events for researchers who identify as underrepresented, and to support networking opportunities with both peers and established experts in the field.”

Check out the full ACM SIGSPATIAL leadership team at their website.