Google Supports CMU Outreach to Women Computer Scientists

Grant Program Inspired by Success of SCS's Pioneering OurCS Workshop

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

CMU's OurCS workshop for undergrad women considering graduate studies in computer science has received a Google exploreCSR grant — a program that was actually inspired by the success of OurCS.

The School of Computer Science's OurCS research-focused workshop for undergraduate women considering graduate studies in computer science is among the recipients of this year's Google exploreCSR grants, which were inspired, in turn, by the success of OurCS.

CMU is one of 24 institutions to receive exploreCSR grants this year. Google officials established exploreCSR last year to help institutions run workshops that are modeled after OurCS.

SCS hosted the first OurCS workshop in 2007, introducing more than 60 undergraduates from across the nation and around the world to the type of research they would encounter as graduate students in computer science.

"OurCS has been incredibly successful, so we're delighted that Google is helping to duplicate its success at other universities," said Carol Frieze, director of Women@SCS, an organization that promotes opportunities for women, including the OurCS workshop. "We also appreciate getting additional support from Google to help sponsor this year's workshop."

More than 70 undergraduate women from 32 schools; 19 US states; and countries including Uganda, Mexico, and the United Kingdom are registered for this year's OurCS, which will take place Oct. 18–20. The keynote speakers this year include Sue Black, a professor of computer science and self-proclaimed technology evangelist at Durham University in England; and Lenore Blum, a CMU professor emeritus of computer science, founder of Project Olympus and a leader of SCS's efforts to increase the number of women in computer science.

Through the efforts of Blum, Frieze and many other SCS colleagues, undergraduate computer science enrollment at SCS is now almost evenly split between women and men — unique among leading computer science schools.

OurCS and the exploreCSR workshops sponsored by Google help undergraduate women to enhance their research skills, create a sense of community with peers and faculty, instill confidence to problem solve beyond the classroom, and inspire and motivate them toward careers in research.

Other sponsors for OurCS include Oracle, a major sponsor since 2013.

"Industry sponsors such as Oracle and Google are critical for sustaining workshops like OurCS and exploreCSR. They are taking a leadership position in the global effort to recognize and encourage women in computer science to reach their full potential" Frieze said.

"Making computer science education accessible and available to everyone is an important initiative," said Hejazi Moghadam, senior program manager at Google. "We're excited to provide this grant to Carnegie Mellon to help encourage more women to pursue careers in computer science research."

For more information, Contact:
Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 | bspice@cs.cmu.eduVirginia Alvino Young | 412-268-8356 |