AccessComputing News - November 2021

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Below are the articles of the AccessComputing News - November 2021 newsletter. These articles can also be seen all on one page at the Full Newsletter option.

AccessComputing Funded for Three More Years

By Sheryl Burgstahler, Co-PI
A woman works at a computer at a conference table.

AccessComputing is one of DO-IT’s longest running projects, starting in 2006. AccessComputing helps students with disabilities successfully pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees and careers in computing fields, and works to increase the capacity of postsecondary institutions and other organizations to fully include students with disabilities in computing courses and programs. AccessComputing promotes a growth in computing fields that benefits the nation by helping to improve the ability of its technology workforce to respond to national needs that depend, more and more, on computing technology. AccessComputing partners with over 75 academic institutions, computing organizations, and tech companies to achieve its common goals.

AccessComputing will be led by PI Richard Ladner; co-PIs Sheryl Burgstahler, Stacy Branham (UC Irvine), Raja Kushalnagar (Gallaudet), Elaine Short (Tufts University); senior personnel Amy Ko (UW Information School) and Associate Director Brianna Blaser. DO-IT is excited to welcome new co-PIs to the project. 

Building on previous work, the grant will include new activities such as

  • expanding the leadership team beyond the University of Washington to include emerging leaders from three new institutions;
  • expanding the academic partners to include more community and technical colleges;
  • expanding the AccessComputing students and the services available to them;
  • collaborating with other BPC (Broadening Participation in Computing) Alliances to coordinate and synergize BPC efforts related to gender, race, ethnicity, and disability;
  • expanding the industry partners and interactions with them;
  • expanding the organizational partners to include more subdisciplines in computing fields; and
  • developing a comprehensive and adaptable e-book for teaching accessibility and disability topics in computing courses.

New Funded Projects Serve to Increase Accessibility and Inclusion in Computing Fields

By Brianna Blaser, AccessComputing Associate Director
A group of students look at a computer with an instructor.

In addition to an Extension of our AccessComputing project, DO-IT is excited to announce two new computing-related grants from the National Science Foundation. These grants build upon our history of making computing fields more welcoming and accessible to people with disabilities.

AccessCSforAll is a continuing collaboration between the University of Washington and the University of Nevada Las Vegas with the goal of including more K-12 students with disabilities in computing classes. The project aims to decrease barriers such as inaccessible tools and curriculum while improving access to quality computer science education for students with disabilities. Building on our previous work with developing an accessible version of AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) and leading the professional development for teachers who specialize in students with disabilities, AccessCSforAll will develop new tools and curricula that can be adopted by a variety of development and curriculum providers. In addition, AccessCSforAll will extend its researcher practitioner partnership (RPP) to include CS curriculum providers, in-service and pre-service providers, and organizations that support K-12 CS teachers. This partnership will lead to the adoption of more accessible tools and curricula in the teaching of computer science nationally. AccessCSforAll is led by PIs Richard Ladner and Andreas Stefik and co-PI Sheryl Burgstahler.

This project includes partnerships with developers of accessible tools and curricula for K-12 students and will work as a national resource for CS teachers to help them better include students with disabilities in their classes. The primary goal of the project is to scale up past efforts to make computer science classes equitable and welcoming to all students in the United States. It will create and deploy an age-appropriate accessible blocks-based programming environment for the web called Quorum Blocks. Quorum Blocks will allow students to engage in accessible coding in blocks mode or text mode. Curriculum providers and teachers can embed it into any curriculum of their own design. This expansion will work towards reaching the approximately 16% of high school students who have a disability. AccessCSforAll represents one of the first comprehensive steps to provide that scaling up to include these students in computer science.

Our other newly funded computing-related project is brand new—Creating and Testing Data Science Learning Tools for Secondary Students with Disabilities. PIs include Andreas Stefik (University of Nevada Las Vegas), Nicholas Giudice (University of Maine), Jenna Gorlewicz (University of St Louis), and DO-IT’s Brianna Blaser. The main goal of this collaborative project is to create and evaluate a universally accessible data science infrastructure for high-school-aged learners, with a focus on students with disabilities. Data science is critical in the development of industry-relevant computational thinking skills. Computing initiatives, including data science, are rapidly growing because of the compelling career pathways that data science skills provide. A careful investigation into already-at-scale data science initiatives shows that such tools and curriculum are largely not accessible to individuals with disabilities, nor do they have a strong foundation of human factors evidence supporting their designs. These issues are crucial and must be resolved for workforce equity and a diverse science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) pipeline.

This project will bring together investigators in computer science, mechanical engineering, education, social science, and cognitive neuroscience to rethink the tools that support the teaching and learning of data science at the high school level. The overarching goal will be to create and evaluate data science tools and curriculum that are not just in legal compliance for accessibility, but that carefully take into account the needs of learners, including those with disabilities. By creating, deploying, and rigorously evaluating the first data science tool and curriculum that is accessible to all, the project intends to help create equitable pathways for all students to enter the field of data science.

New Co-PI Profile: Stacy Branham

Stacy Branham

Stacy Branham is an assistant professor at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), where she dedicates her research, teaching, and service activities to advancing social inclusion of people with disabilities through technology innovation. She has been an AccessComputing Partner since 2019, and, in 2021, she joined the AccessComputing leadership team to oversee new initiatives that strengthen the pipeline from postsecondary school to industrial careers for our students with disabilities.
As a researcher, Stacy contributes to the fields of human-computer interaction and accessible computing, investigating how technologies mediate social inclusion in settings where one or more people has a disability, often specifically a vision-related disability. Drawing primarily on qualitative and design research methods, her research documents the crucial role of social interdependency in technology design and engages people with disabilities in co-developing novel technologies, yielding actionable guidance and prototypes. Her work has been recognized by four Best Paper Awards and it has been supported by over $15,000,000 in external funding from non-profits, technology companies, and government agencies. She is a recent recipient of the National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award in support of early-career faculty. In 2021, she was recognized by Popular Science as one of their “Brilliant 10,” or “the most innovative up-and-coming minds in science.”
As an educator, Stacy seeks to create inclusive spaces where students learn accessibility skills that will enhance our world. She uses evidence-based pedagogical techniques––active learning, team-based learning, service learning––to develop next-generation technologists who not only study, design, and build technology, but who also critically engage with social, political, and ethical implications of their work. In 2017, Stacy was recognized for her work with underrepresented students in computing as an Honor Roll Member for the Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate Award, and in Spring 2022, she will be presented UCI’s first Celebration of Teaching Award for Digital Accessibility Innovator, to recognize her efforts to make technology classes both accessible and accessibility-focused. In her research lab, she recruits students from AccessComputing and UCI’s Disability Services Center to ensure that people with disabilities and other marginalized identities continue to be the subjects, not the objects, of technology innovation.
As a volunteer in her community, in her field, and at her University, Stacy leverages her expertise in accessible computing to have high impact. In the greater Orange County region, between 2020 and 2021, her research group provided more than 200,000 minutes of free, unlimited AIRA access to support over 450 blind community members with pandemic-related struggles. In her research field, she serves on the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Special Interest Group for Human-Computer Interaction Executive Committee (SIGCHI EC), as the Adjunct Chair for Accessibility. Since joining the committee in 2020, she has played an integral role in establishing the Accessibility Committee, a group of 14 experts who assess the status of accessibility and develop new policies to make the research community inclusive of people with disabilities. At UCI, Stacy is an active member of both the campus-level IT Accessibility Committee and the Physical Accessibility Committee, which develop policies and practices to ensure that the university’s information technology and physical campus infrastructures can be equitably accessed by people with disabilities.
When asked what drives her work, Stacy shared: “I have an invisible disability, and I identify as a woman in computing. My experiences in this regard drive all aspects of the work I do. I appreciate AccessComputing’s approach to including people with disabilities at all levels of the organization, and I look forward to working with our partners to place our students with disabilities in high-impact computing careers.”

New Co-PI Profile: Elaine Schaertl Short



Elaine Schaertl Short is the Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Tufts University. She completed her PhD under the supervision of Prof. Maja Matarić in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Southern California (USC). She received her master of science in computer science (CS) from USC in 2012 and her bachelor of science in computer science from Yale University in 2010. From 2017-2019 she worked as a postdoctoral researcher in the Socially Intelligent Machines Lab at the University of Texas at Austin. At USC, she received numerous awards for her contributions to research, teaching, and service, including being one of very few PhD students to have received all three of the CS department Best Teaching Assistant, Best Research Assistant, and Service awards.

Elaine’s research seeks to improve the computational foundations of human-robot interaction by designing new algorithms that succeed in contexts where other algorithms’ assumptions frequently fail, such as in child-robot interaction, in minimally-supervised public space deployments, and in assistive interactions. She is equally committed to human-centered research practices as she is to algorithm and robot design: she has co-authored more than 50 works on human-robot interaction spanning from designing a low-cost open-source open-hardware robot platform, to understanding family group interactions with socially assistive robots, to designing new neural network architectures for sim-to-real model transfer in robot learning. Recently, Elaine led a team of researchers at Tufts who received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) National Robotics Initiative 3.0 with the goal of transforming our understanding of assistive robotics as a largely one-directional process in which the robot provides assistance to the user to a bi-directional process of mutually assistive robotics, in which assistance flows equally from user to robot and from robot to user. Since establishing the Assistive Agent Behavior and Learning (AABL) Lab at Tufts in 2019, the group has grown to include four PhD students and numerous undergraduate and master's students. Elaine is building a track record of encouraging and supporting her advisees in connecting with careers in research: all three of her research mentees who have graduated since 2019 have gone on to PhD programs.

As a disabled faculty member, Elaine is particularly passionate about disability rights in her service work. In addition to having recently joined the new AccessComputing Leadership Corps, she is the communications chair and community liaison of AccessSIGCHI, an advocacy group that works to increase the accessibility of the 24 SIGCHI conferences. Elaine is also the vice Chair of the Tufts CS Department committee on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and has served as the 2021 and 2022 accessibility chair for the ACM/IEEE Conference on Human-Robot Interaction.

New Co-PI Profile: Raja Kushalnagar


Dr. Raja Kushalnagar, Professor and Director of the Information Technology program at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC., has joined the AccessComputing leadership team as a co-PI. With research interests focusing on the intersection of disability law, accessible and educational technology, and human-computer interaction, as well as over ten years of experience working in accessible computing and his own experiences as a deaf individual, Raja brings a wealth of information with him to help lead our organization. 
Raja earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Master of Laws (LLM) in Intellectual Property and Information Law from the University of Houston in 2010 and his Juris Doctor (JD) in 2008 from Texas Southern University. He worked at Rochester Institute of Technology for over six years before joining Gallaudet. His responsibilities at Gallaudet include strategic planning, local industry, and alumni relations, and faculty mentoring for Information Technology. 
As a Deaf professor, he advocates in bringing consumers, industry, and policymakers together on accessibility issues, advocating for a deaf/hard of hearing perspective, as well as developing prototype technologies for improving the accessibility of such systems. He also passionately believes that deaf and hard of hearing people have only scratched the surface of accessible computing, and that the most exciting technological developments are still to come. His research interests encompass the fields of accessible computing and accessibility/intellectual property law, with the goal of improving information access for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. In the accessible computing field, he investigates information access disparities between hearing and deaf. and advocates for updates in accessible and intellectual property law and to incorporate accessible computing advances such as automatic captioning/subtitling. He has mentored over 100 undergraduates, including over 60 who are deaf or hard of hearing. He has received over $4 million in grants and has published over 75 peer-reviewed publications. 

Raja focuses on increasing the numbers of people with disabilities in the computing pipeline through community involvement. In addition to serving on the AccessComputing Leadership Corps, he serves on as a board member for the New York School for the Deaf, Computing Research Association Widening Participation (CRA-WP) and Global Alliance of Speech-to-Text Captioning. 

OurCS@AccessComputing+Create Research Workshop for Undergraduates with Disabilities


OurCS@AccessComputing+CREATE was a research-focused workshop for undergraduates with disabilities in computing fields that was held virtually on Wednesday, January 13 through Friday, January 15, 2021. UW's CREATE (Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences), aims to make technology accessible and to make the world accessible through technology. CREATE is an AccessComputing partner. 

Forty-six undergraduate students from around the nation participated in the workshop along with ten mentoring faculty members from a variety of research areas. The keynote speakers were Elaine Short from Tufts University, Nicholas Giudice from the University of Maine, and Jeanine Cook from Sandia National Laboratory. There were plenary presentations on applying to graduate school and succeeding in graduate school. A panel of senior and recently finished graduate students with disabilities talked about their own experiences in graduate school. Each of the mentors led a short course on research in their area of expertise. There was also time for networking among students and mentors. 

Eddith Figueroa from the University of Texas at Austin appreciated hearing about the panelists’ experiences. “I really enjoyed the panel of people who were in grad school. It gave me a lot of perspective into what it would be like to try and go to grad school with a disability,” Figueroa said. 

Cameron Cassidy from Texas A&M University highlighted the information about graduate school, saying, “Professors Milne and Ladner shared a lot of good information about graduate school, which made me more comfortable in my decision to pursue an advanced degree.” 

Nayha Auradkar of the University of Washington found the networking opportunities valuable. “I learned a lot through networking with research leaders and engaging in interactive research workshops,” Auradkar said. 

Funding for this workshop was provided by Google Explore CSR with additional support from AccessComputing and the UW Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE). 

New Book Focused on Computer Science and Diversity

By Amy Ko, AccessComputing Senior Personnel
Invisible Hand

My collaborators and I will be publishing a new book this December called Critically Conscious Computing: Methods for Secondary Education. The book covers the entire scope of computer science (CS) concepts from a social justice perspective, connecting technical ideas in CS to disability, gender, and racial justice. It also provides a survey of CS teaching methods and offers example unit plans for teaching CS in ways that develop students’ critical consciousness about CS. The book will be published freely as an online, fully accessible website. While it speaks directly to middle and high school teachers, the content is also relevant to faculty in higher education who are interested in teaching CS from a social justice perspective.



2021 Tapia Conference


The 2021 CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference (Tapia Conference) was held virtually September 15-18, 2021. There were 126 sessions over the three days, with 22 containing disability or accessibility-related topics. Of the 22, three were led by AccessComputing staff, and another nine were led by AccessComputing Partner representatives. 

AccessComputing Partner representatives were also active in the leadership of the conference. Patti Ordonez from University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras was the program chair, Brianna Blaser from the University of Washington was the accessibility chair, Raja Kushalnagar from Gallaudet University was the academic and workshop deputy chair, Stephanie Ludi from the University of North Texas was the technical panels and workshops chair, and Elaine Short was the scholarship deputy chair. It was wonderful to see so many of our partners involved in the success of the conference.

Highlights of the conference were the keynote addresses by Jenny Lay-Flurrie, chief accessibility officer at Microsoft and Cecilia Aragon, professor in the Department of Human-Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington, both of whom have disabilities. Lay-Flurrie described her work at Microsoft to help make the company more accessible and welcoming for employees with disabilities and Microsoft’s commitment to making its products and services accessible. Aragon, who is also Latina, described her youth as a very shy person without much confidence, who, with encouragement from her family, gained the confidence to become a pilot of the US Aerobatics Team. Both were very inspirational. 

We congratulate Aboubakar Mountapmbeme, a graduate student of Stephanie Ludi (the representative from University of North Texas as an AccessComputing Partner), who won the Tapia 2021 Doctoral Consortium Best Presentation Award for his work “Understanding and Addressing Accessibility Barriers Faced by People with Visual Impairments on Block-based Programming Environments.” ​​We also congratulate AccessComputing Research Experience for Undergraduate participant and student at Western Washington University, Erin Howard whose “Leveraging Statistical Analysis to Develop Classification Labels for Astronomical Time Series Data” took second place in the poster competition.

A theme of five of the sessions related to disability was on the mental health of students. This reflects the added stress on students, and all of us, during the long COVID-19 pandemic and since the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. It is good to see mental health being part of the Tapia agenda and part of the conversation about diversity. 

The session by Christine Chai on “My Autism Journey: From Self-Doubt to Acceptance” described her experiences from learning she was autistic to finding a satisfying position working in data science at Microsoft. Her path was not a straightforward path but one of self-discovery and self-advocacy. Congratulations to Dr. Chai on her wonderful session.


By Richard Ladner, PI

The Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Graduate Fellowships (CSGrad4US) was created by the National Science Foundation with the goal of increasing the number of diverse, domestic graduate students pursuing research and innovation careers in the fields: computer science, computer engineering, or information science. CSGrad4US targets people who are bachelor’s degree holders and may be working in industry or other sectors and who may be interested in returning to academia to pursue research-based doctoral degrees. The program is being administered by the Computing Research Association (CRA). Participants in the program attend a series of professional development webinars and are assigned coaches to help them prepare their application materials for Ph.D. programs. The coaches also help with strategizing which schools to apply to. This year the program is funding 35 participants and is expected to continue for several more years. This first year of the program is working well, but as problems arise changes will be made to improve the program. I am proud to be one of eleven coaches in the program where I am working closely with three participants, two of whom have disabilities. 

For former AccessComputing students who are now in the workforce, if you are thinking about going for a Ph.D. someday, please look into the CSGRAD4US program. For computing faculty, think about becoming a coach in the program to help individuals in the workforce successfully transition to Ph.D. programs. 

DO-IT Included in Two New NSF INCLUDES Grants

By Scott Bellman, DO-IT Program Manager, and Brianna Blaser, Associate Director of AccessComputing

The University of Washington DO-IT Center is a partner organization in two different INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) Alliances recently funded by the National Science Foundation.


The first is for $800,000 to lead West Coast activities of the NSF INCLUDES Alliance of Students with Disabilities for Inclusion, Networking, and Transition Opportunities in STEM, also known as the NSF INCLUDES TAPDINTO-STEM Alliance. The nationwide project will employ a collective impact approach with dozens of partnering organizations to increase the number of students with disabilities who complete associate, baccalaureate, and graduate STEM degrees and enter the STEM workforce.

Auburn University is leading this NSF INCLUDES Alliance’s primary partnerships with five institutions of higher education (IHE) that will direct regional hubs of collaborating IHEs to address this national need. The hubs will be championed by Auburn University, Northern Arizona University, The Ohio State University, the University of Hawaii-Manoa, the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and the University of Washington.

On the University of Washington team, DO-IT Program Manager Scott Bellman will serve as the UW project director and lead activities of the West Coast Hub. The UW's Eric Chudler will serve as a lead mentor and STEM educator. The West Coast Hub, which currently includes San Diego State University and the University of Alaska Anchorage, will provide support to students with disabilities and provide training and engagement with postsecondary educators and administrators. A research component will compare information from the NSF INCLUDES TAPDINTO-STEM Alliance students with data from an ongoing DO-IT longitudinal study to examine which interventions students regard as most valuable, investigate patterns linking student demographics or interests with the interventions used, and study suggestions for improving or expanding interventions.

Learn more about this project through the Auburn news announcement.

The Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AIICE)

DO-IT is also a partner in the Alliance for Identity-Inclusive Computing Education (AIICE), which is led by Nicki Washington and Shaundra Daily at Duke University. AIICE was awarded $10 million to develop tools and strategies in computing education that increase the entry, retention and course or degree completion rates of high school and undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups. As a partner organization, DO-IT will work closely with members of the Alliance to ensure that activities are accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities. DO-IT staff member Brianna Blaser, who serves as associate director of AccessComputing, will lead DO-IT’s engagement. 

AIICE will focus on creating more equitable computing spaces, which will encourage technology creators from a diverse range of identities to occupy development and leadership positions in order to avoid creating potentially harmful technologies such as facial recognition and predictive policing. However, this possibility will take an investment from the entire community--bringing together a large group of computer science educators at the high school and post-secondary level.

AIICE will create systemic change by blending aspects of social science with computer science to increase student and educator knowledge of identity and related topics; support computer science educators and leaders nationwide in fostering academic cultures that are more inclusive of non-dominant identities; and increase policy-driven changes to computer science education in K-12 schools and higher education that infuse identity-inclusive strategies.

Learn more about AIICE through the Duke news announcement.

AccessComputing Student Profile: Alison Kim

Alison Kim Headshot

My name is Alison Kim (they/she), and I am a current junior at Swarthmore College, a liberal arts college near Philadelphia, studying computer science, science technology studies (STS), educational studies, and religion. This past spring semester, I had the fortunate opportunity to design a curriculum with Professor Edwin Mayorga from the Educational Studies Department about the introductory principles of science technology studies. The curriculum covers a myriad of subjects, ranging from tech colonialism, technofeminism, tech orientalism, and more. This semester, I am teaching a course from the curriculum that I constructed called the Critical Theory of Technology with student facilitator Sidhika Tripathee, supervised by Professor Kevin Webb from the Computer Science Department. This course, officially registered through the Computer Science Department, is a seminar-style course that holds 12 students—some with computer science backgrounds, some without.
Furthermore, because of the transient nature of the student-led course, I have also been working on an STS website, one that features different modules within STS and showcases a narrative-style introduction to canonical readings, available courses at Swarthmore regarding each specific topic, Swarthmore faculty who specialize in these fields, and external resources. This initiative is originally aimed for students in computer science to reexamine their relationship with their work and critically explore the societal implications of their attributions to the tech industry. By encouraging students to become autodidacts and take charge of their own educational trajectories, both the course and the website embody the true essence of a liberal arts education.
Through designing and implementing curriculums related to computer science, I believe that it is an apt starting point for following my dreams of becoming a computer science professor and revolutionizing the computer science pedagogy offered in undergraduate institutions.
For all inquiries about my work, please feel free to contact me at

2021 ASSETS Conference

By Richard Ladner

The 23rd International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2021) was held virtually October 18-22, 2021. AccessComputing partner representatives served as general chair (Jonathan Lazar), program co-chair (Heidi Feng), and treasurer/registration chair (Kristen Shinohara). The conference celebrated two 50 year anniversaries, ACM SIGACCESS and the Trace Center. SIGACCESS has been the sponsor of the ASSETS conference since its inception in 1994. The Trace Center, started by Gregg Vanderheiden in 1971 is a major contributor to technology and technology policy related to disability (see the accompanying article in this issue). Two panels of “old timers” discussed the history of SIGACCESS and the contributions of the Trace Center. There was also a rich program of keynote addresses, technical papers, experience reports, panels, posters, demos, artifact competition, and a doctoral consortium. 

The ASSETS doctoral consortium was held on the Friday before the conference. There were 424 people registered for the conference. Participation was by Zoom and Discord. All sessions had captioning and American Sign Language translation. Most presentations were prerecorded with live question and answer sessions following the recordings. There were two keynote presentations, one by Axel Leblois, a well-known speaker on ICT accessibility, and Annalu Waller, Professor at the Dundee University, Scotland, who is well known for her work on augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). There were 35 technical papers, 6 experience reports, 14 presentations of Transactions on Accessible Computing papers, 68 posters and demos, and 14 submissions to the Artifact Award. Among the many presentations at the conference there are authors who were current or former AccessComputing students and AccessComputing partner representatives.

On the last day awards were announced for Best Paper, Best Student Paper, and the winners of the Artifact Competition. In addition, the 2021 SIGACCESS ASSETS Paper Impact Award was also announced at the conference (see the accompanying article in this issue). As a personal note ASSETS 2021 was the best online technical conference that I have attended so far during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only was it highly accessible with high quality content, it was fun. There was a 1970s Zoom dance party and a 1970s-themed singalong. Congratulations to all the organizers for making ASSETS 2021 so successful.

2021 AccessComputing Capacity Building Awards

By Richard Ladner, PI

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 AccessComputing Capacity Building Awards go to longtime friend of AccessComputing Rob Parke and AccessComputing partner Patricia Ordoñez for their work advancing the inclusion of disability and accessibility in the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.

Rob Parke

Rob Parke is an associate professor of information technology practice in the Information Technology Program in the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California. He has a strong interest in inclusive teaching practices and has been actively involved in addressing issues of inclusion and equity, both within USC and externally. He served as general chair of the 2021 CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference which encourages and supports diversity within computing. Outside of academia, Rob has a lifelong love of technology from the technical to the creative, with professional experience in software development, information technology, web design, audio engineering, film and TV post-production, and digital media.

Patricia Ordonez

Patricia Ordóñez was the first Latina to graduate with a Ph.D. from the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the first female associate professor to earn tenure in the Computer Science Department at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras (UPRRP). She is a former National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She is serving as general chair at the 2022 Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference as well as co-chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Council of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). She is the recipient of the Great Minds in STEM 2021 HENAAC Award in Education. She is passionate about creating a more inclusive culture in computing and STEM and about bridging the digital and data divide in global healthcare and education.

Jennifer Mankoff, Gillian Hayes, and Devva Kasnitz Win the 2021 SIGACCESS ASSETS Paper Impact Award

AccessComputing partners, Jennifer Mankoff, representing the Center for Research and Education on Accessible Technology and Experiences (CREATE) at the University of Washington, and Gillian Hayes, representing the University of California, Irvine, along with their co-author Devva Kasnitz, are winners of the 2021 SIGACCESS ASSETS Paper Impact Award. The award is given out every two years to an ASSETS paper published at least 10 years ago and has had a significant impact on computing and information technology that addresses the needs of persons with disabilities. The award recognizes work that presents a significant innovation or contribution to knowledge that has proved influential over time. The paper titled “Disability Studies as a Source of Critical Inquiry for the Field of Assistive Technology” appeared in the 12th international ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS 2010). The paper points out the connections between the field of disability studies and accessible computing by examining several case studies where the concepts from disability studies influenced that work in accessible computing. The paper gives advice to accessible computing researchers on how to employ the concepts of disabilities studies in their work.

50 Years of the Trace Center

By Richard Ladner, PI

The Trace Research and Development Center started in 1971 at the University of Wisconsin under the leadership of Gregg Vanderheiden. In 2016, It moved to the University of Maryland (UMD) to take advantage of its strong College of Information Studies with its history of working at the intersection of people, information, and technology, with a history of commitment to universal access, user-centered design, and real-world impact that fosters community and empowers individuals. Trace has a long history in the development of accessible technologies and in the support of various government policies related to disability and technology. It pioneered accessible ATMs, voting machines, and many accessibility features found in computer systems. The Trace Center Unified Web Accessibility Guidelines in 1997, was a precursor to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 1.0) that was released in 1999. WCAG 2.0, published in 2008, was also led in-part by Trace. Congratulations to the Trace Center for 50 years of excellence and to Gregg Vanderheiden, its founder and director that entire time. As Trace celebrates a remarkable half century of impact, Jonathan Lazar, long-time AccessComputing Partner, has become the new director of Trace. Congratulations to Jonathan Lazar for his new role as director of the Trace Center.

AccessComputing Leader Highlighted

By Brianna Blaser, Associate Director of AccessComputing

Congratulations to co-PI Stacy Branham for her recent award. Popular Science magazine has named AccessComputing co-PI Stacy Branham as one of its Brilliant 10 for 2021. According to the magazine, "These US-based engineers, psychologists, chemists, and more are taking on society's biggest challenges across the world. " The profile highlights Stacy's work to adapt technology for people with disabilities. Read The Brilliant 10: The most innovative up-and-coming minds in science.

2021 State of Computer Science Education

By Richard Ladner, PI

On November 3rd,, the Computer Science Teachers Association, and the Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance, released the 2021 State of Computer Science Education: Accelerating Action Through Advocacy. Published annually, the report provides the most comprehensive analysis of national progress in computer science education, featuring national and state-level policy and implementation data with a focus on equity and diversity.
Last year's report had data on the participation of students served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in computer science in 11 states. This year's report has data on the participation of students served under both IDEA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act in computer science in 19 states. Both of these categories are needed to count all K-12 students who have a disability and receive accommodations. In summary, students with 504 plans are slightly overrepresented in foundational high school computer science courses, but students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs) under IDEA are underrepresented. Data listed for each of the 19 states shows the percentage participation of students with disabilities in those states.  
One table on page 107 shows the demographics of K-12 students in all 50 states in eleven categories including race/ethnicity categories, English language learners, economically disadvantaged, students with 504 plans, and students under IDEA. This remarkable table can be useful to all states in understanding their population of K-12 students. In total, 2.7% of K-12 students have 504 plans and 14% of students have IEPs. 


Share Your Work

by Sheryl Burgstahler, Co-PI
Pranav Guest Lecture

Are you teaching a computing course? If so, do you teach about accessible and/or universal design? If you answered “yes" and “yes,” consider writing up a promising practice or research-oriented paper for the Journal of Postsecondary Education (JPED).

I will be a guest editor in spring 2022, driving the purpose of the issue to promote promising practices and lessons learned in incorporating accessible and/or universal design into curricula. This will encourage future professionals to learn about accessibility challenges for individuals with disabilities and how to design more inclusive IT projects and environments.

Check out information about the journal and author guidelines. I expect the deadline for submission to be early spring 2022. Feel free to contact for more information about this special issue of JPED.