IST students honor diversity in computing at virtual TAPIA conference

Emma Riglin
October 07, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In mid-September, 17 College of Information Sciences and Technology students attended the annual ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, an event celebrating diversity in the technology field.

Named after mathematician and scientist Richard Tapia, the conference has been held annually since 2001. This year, the conference was virtual, which made it possible for more College of IST students to participate than in previous years. These students experienced presentations by industry leaders, computing workshops and networking opportunities with other students and professionals.

“The Tapia Conference brings together students, faculty, researchers and professionals in technology fields from all backgrounds to celebrate the diversity that exists in technology,” said Madhavi Kari, assistant director of the College of IST’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity Engagement. “Students who attend come back with pride, confidence, a community and a sense of belonging. It is truly an amazing experience for our students.”

Joseph Tumwebaze, a senior majoring in information sciences and technology, attended Tapia for the second consecutive year.

“Not only was I able to reconnect with both recruiters and fellow students I met in person last year, but I was also able to make new connections at the conference this year,” he said. “I was inspired by tech experts from various backgrounds with such a passion for technology and appreciation for diversity.”

Selected speakers included Jeff Dean, senior vice president for Google AI; Nashalie Sephus, applied science manager at Amazon AI; and numerous computer science professors from universities around the country.

Each year, the College of IST financially supports students’ participation in the conference, in collaboration with the college’s Office of Inclusion and Diversity Engagement.

"I feel blessed and grateful to have been given the opportunity (to attend),” said Tomi Oluwaseun-Apo, a first-year student studying information sciences and technology. “The conference allowed me to see an unfiltered preview of my future and receive the best advice from people of diverse professions and backgrounds.”

Last Updated April 15, 2021