In 2017 less than 6 percent of PhD degrees awarded were received by African-Americans and only 1% of all doctorates in computer science nationwide were awarded to African-Americans. The graduate degree numbers are just as dismal for other underrepresented minorities like Hispanics and Native Americans.
Computer Science Associate Professor Hakim Weatherspoon is striving to help make academia nationwide more diverse. Weatherspoon, in collaboration with Howard University Computer Science Chair Legand Burge, has developed SoNIC (Software Defined Network Interface) Summer Research Workshop to increase exposure and enhanced research capabilities for minority students. This summer 27 minority college students will be immersed in a week of research on improving the reliability of cloud computing.
This June 17-21, 27 students will receive an all-expenses-paid, week-long workshop on the Cornell University campus. During the workshop the participants will conduct network research with a faculty research mentor and give a written report at the end that may lead to publication. This year students are coming from many diverse universities like Northwestern, Columbia, Puerto Rico and Berkeley.
“We want to introduce underrepresented minorities studying computer science to the world of research and the importance of diversity in academia,” said Weatherspoon. “We have already made an impact and numbers of minority graduating with doctorates are increasing each year.”