Meet the 2021-22 CS-IDEA Committee

In both the workforce and educational pipeline, computer science remains one of the least diverse fields, particularly in terms of the involvement of women and underrepresented minorities.

Launching in 2019, the Computer Science Inclusiveness, Diversity, Equity, and Advocacy (CS-IDEA) Committee is committed to supporting and recruiting a diverse community of students, staff, and faculty and helping everyone in this community to thrive. This requires deliberate work to build an inclusive and supportive environment for those from historically underrepresented and non-traditional backgrounds in the Department of Computer Science & Engineering.

Each year, students, faculty and staff are elected to the CS-IDEA Committee based on their passion for inclusiveness and willingness to do the work to build a better environment within the department for diverse voices. Learn more about the 2021-22 Committee and why they joined!

Dan Keefe - IDEA Committee Chair/Faculty (he/him) 

It is important to know that this committee was not the starting point for "IDEA" work within our department. We have students and staff who have received university-level recognition for their work and faculty who have even received international-level recognition for their leadership in broadening participation across the larger field of computing. The goal of the committee is, in large part, to better support these champions. Why a committee? Well, students may not be aware, but the way that academic departments work is that new policies, admissions decisions, curriculum changes, webpage redesigns, and many other big initiatives get worked on in "committees". Faculty rotate and share the responsibility of serving on various committees--it's an official responsibility of the job. So, a few years ago, I proposed during a faculty meeting that we should form a committee to help us learn about and implement best practices for policies, curriculum, and training; advocate with a collective voice; and do more across the entire department to help our champions who have been doing amazing IDEA work for years. The timing coincided with (and the committee's work has been greatly assisted by) national-level efforts to broaden participation in computing (e.g., at NSF and, college-level efforts to create the CSE D&I Alliance, BIPOC-led Twin City uprisings in support of racial justice, and discussions within our department about changes to our culture, policies, and more.

Debarati Das - Graduate Student (she/her)

The CS-IDEA committee works collaboratively to encourage students and staff to grow in their own understanding of diversity and promote equal opportunity for all and this is something I am very passionate about.

Sean Dorr - Graduate Student (he/him)

Both my mother and grandmother dedicated their lives to creating opportunities for Native American children to thrive. Being raised by these women instilled in me the importance of having Native American voices present wherever our people are, and more importantly, where we are not. Walking in alignment with these teachings, I joined the CS-IDEA committee to ensure opportunities are in place for underrepresented bodies to flourish in computing, both today and tomorrow.

Favonia - Faculty (any pronoun)

Because DEI cannot protect itself.

Mohamed Mokbel - Faculty (he/him)

Believing that diversity, equity, and inclusion are keys to go forward, I would like to play a role in pushing and deploying our efforts of diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels.

Luc Nelson - Staff (he/him)

I wanted to serve on the CS-IDEA Committee to expand the equity, inclusion, and justice work we've already been doing on the CS&E student services team. Working directly with CS&E students, staff, and faculty on various projects to remove barriers and create a more welcoming environment for everyone within the department has been one of my most rewarding professional experiences. There is still much more work to do!

Eman Ramadan - Graduate Student (she/her)

As part of an underrepresented group myself, I have always knew what it felt like and the issues such groups suffer from. When I see something, I always say/do something about it to fix it if I can, that's why I was so excited when I knew the department was starting its own committee for inclusion, diversity, equity, and advocacy. I felt there are many things we could do to have a better environment and culture for everyone to feel better and be supported during their study. Through the past years, I have seen how the department's leadership is eager, passionate, and ready to do what they can to support the same goal. We managed to accomplish few steps over the past couple of years, and we know there is still more to come, but we are on track.

Morgan Turner - Postdoctoral Associate (she/her)

I joined the CS-IDEA committee to better understand current issues in the field of computing and to learn more about what can and should be done towards making meaningful progress on these issues.