2020 Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing

Richard Ladner, AccessComputing PI

The 2020 Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing was held virtually from September 16-18. AccessComputing supported 27 students from its AccessComputing team to attend. AccessComputing project manager, Brianna Blaser, chaired the accessibility committee that helped make the conference accessible. AccessComputing staff member, Terrill Thompson, helped evaluate and advise on the accessibility of the online platform. The online AccessComputing booth had plenty of visitors during the three days. AccessComputing Partner representatives Rob Parke, representing the University of Southern California, was the program chair and Patti Ordóñez, representing University of Puerto Rico – Río Piedras, served as program deputy chair. Other partner representatives, Stephanie Ludi, from University of North Texas, and Samuel Rebelsky, from Grinnell College, also played important planning roles for the conference. And, partner CMD-IT (Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Computing and Information Technology) is the presenter of Tapia.

Zoom room during the 2020 Tapia celebration of diversity in computing

Four AccessComputing Team members gave presentations at the conference:

  • Barış Ekim, “A Randomized Parallel Algorithm for Efficiently Finding Near-optimal Universal Hitting Sets”
  • Ramin Ayanzadeh, “Can Artificial Intelligence Advance Quantum Information Processing?: A Study Case on AI Hybrid Quantum Annealing”
  • Milind Agarwal, “Multiplotlib: a multi-view visualization and analytics library”
  • Huy Tu, “The Changing Nature of Computational Science Software”

JooYoung Seo, who is finishing up his PhD dissertation at Penn State, gave a talk in the Tapia Doctoral Consortium titled: “Discovering Knowledge Sharing Patterns of Blind People Pursuing STEM Disciplines: Data Science and Computational Linguistics on Large-Scale Email Corpora.”

AccessComputing sponsored multiple sessions at the conference:

  • Birds of a Feather: “Diversity Includes Disability” led by Brianna Blaser and Richard Ladner
  • Birds of a Feather: “Mental Health in Computing Students and Professionals” led by Brianna Blaser, Adam Blank, Kendra Walther, Nicholas Lytle, and Kayla Brown
  • Panel: “Disability Disclosure in Education and Employment” moderated by Brianna Blaser with panel members Jeanine Cook, Lauren Gaber, Anna Kirkpatrick, and Adrian Trejo Nuñez
  • Panel: “Inclusive Hiring Practices for People with Disabilities” moderated by Brianna Blaser with panel members Neil Barnett from Microsoft, Catherine Nichols from Salesforce, and Lorne Needle from Google

There were also other sessions that addressed disability and/or accessibility:

  • Panel: “Increasing Diversity in Computing: Sharing Good Practices” that featured the Broadening Participation in Computing Alliances, including AccessComputing
  • Panel: “It Takes a Village: Creating and Implementing an Autism to Work Program for Students” 
  • Plenary: “Tapia Student Attendees, Now Early Career Professionals” whose speakers included former AccessComputing Team member Ivan Brugere
  • Panel: “Executing a Commitment to Disability Inclusion and Accessibility for Employees and Customers” that focused on industry commitments to diversifying their workforces with people with disabilities
  • Workshop: “Dark Patterns Through the Lens of Accessibility” that examined how websites trick people into clicking on links making them do actions unintentionally; these tricks can be especially onerous for people with some kinds of disabilities.

This year was the first year that the Tapia Conference went virtual and from our perspective it was successful. Congratulations to CMD-IT and the organizers in making it all work.