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Initiatives & Programs

Latest Initiatives

Each academic year, the College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) undertakes a series of initiatives to support diversity and inclusion in our community. The list below highlights some of our recent projects, as well as new programs and collaborations. 

  • NCWIT Extension Services Undergraduate Programs Grant: CICS is in its second year of working with a consultant through the National Center for Women in Technology (NCWIT) Extension Services grant to develop a strategic foundation for increasing women’s participation in our undergraduate program. We are focused on making systemic changes to our strategies for recruitment and retention.
  • NCWIT Extention Services Grad Grant: CICS is proud to be the pilot institution for the NCWIT Extension Services Grad grant program. We are working with a small team of consultants to improve all students’ experience in our PhD program, from application to graduation.
  • HackHer413: With financial and staff support from the college, students established HackHer413, a hackathon for women and non-binary students. In its first year, HackHer413 brought 300 students to the UMass Amherst campus from all over the United States! 
  • "Great Ideas of Women in Computer Science" First-Year Seminar: Postdoctoral Fellow Brittany Johnson collaborated with the CICS Diversity Committee to develop a first-year seminar focused on the great ideas of women in computer science.
  • Massenberg Summer Institute: A one-week STEM experience focused on uplifting talented rising 10th graders of color and/or economic disadvantage, supported by the Samuel E. Massenberg Sr. Foundation. 
  • Undergraduate Mentorship Program: As a part of our work with NCWIT, the CICS Diversity Committee launched an undergraduate mentorship program that pairs junior and senior students with first-year students for social support.

Ongoing Programs

The College of Information and Computer Sciences (CICS) offers a number of ongoing programs and events designed to increase participation in computing and foster a welcoming and inclusive environment. 

  • CICS Community Discussions: We host a series of facilitated discussions about life and the different intersectionalities we all have. Our discussions are open to the campus community and bring us all together to learn, talk, and engage. These are opportunities for community members to develop their ability to have difficult, respectful, substantial discussions about many of the identities that separate us from each other.  
  • Student Organizations in Computer Science (SOCS): CICS has many student-led organizations that enrich our college and provide opportunities to explore and learn. The annual SOCS celebration, typically held in the spring, is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the leaders of these organizations in a festive environment.
  • Travel Funding for Conferences: CICS provides travel funding for students to attend various conferences related to diversity in computing, including Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, WeCode, CRA-W Grad Cohort Workshop, and CRA Grad Cohort Workshop for Underrepresented Minorities and Persons with Disabilities. 
  • Rising Stars in CS: The college's Rising Stars in Computer Science lecture series highlights the stellar work of young female computer scientists about to launch into careers in academia. 
  • Northampton Pride March: Our college's faculty, staff, students, and family members march in the Northhampton Pride Parade. This annual event brings our community together to support LGBTQIA+ members of our community.
  • Women in Engineering and Computing Career Day: We collaborate with the UMass Amherst College of Engineering to bring young women from high schools all around Massachusetts to campus for a day. Participants hear keynote speakers, talk with industry professionals, and participate in workshops on engineering and computing topics.
  • CRA Data Buddies: In an effort to improve computer science programs across the nation, CICS provides climate and outcome data to the Computer Research Association's Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP) Data Buddies program.