In March of 2018, I attended the Computing Research Association (CRA) Graduate Cohort Workshop for Underrepresented Minorities and Persons with Disabilities in San Diego, California. AccessComputing was one of the workshop’s sponsors.

The workshop aimed to increase the ranks of underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities in computing research by allowing graduate students to meet mentors and build nationwide communities that can persist through their graduate studies and beyond.

Having the opportunity to go to San Diego for the CRA Graduate Cohort was a truly amazing experience. The inclusive environment and the commitment to accessibility were phenomenal and far beyond most of the conferences, workshops, and academic events I have participated in previously.

Throughout the event I made meaningful connections with numerous peers and leaders in my specific research area. The advice and guidance that I received was incredibly helpful. They provided me with new information that affects my graduate school, research, and conference focuses.

Additionally, the information provided within the workshop sessions was geared to my graduate timeline. Participants were allowed to pick one of three tracks based on where they were in their grad program, as well as fluctuate between sessions of all three. These tracks allowed me to understand the populations the particular workshops were targeting. All information provided within the sessions were presented in accessible formats.

I highly recommend that graduate students who are a minority or underrepresented within the computing field attend the CRA Graduate Cohort. The experience allows for graduate students at any stage of their graduate studies to participate in useful information sessions, build community, and grow their professional network.