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).