The Tapia Conference has increased in size by more than 20 percent this year. The attendees included 534 undergraduate and graduate students from 163 universities. The Tapia demographic breakdown of Tapia 2016 included the following:
- 77% First Time Attendees
- 53% Women
- 29% Black/African American
- 23% Latinx/Hispanic
- 21% White/Caucasian
- 13% Asian/Southeast Asian
- 1% Native American/Native Alaskan/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander
- 4% Multi-racial
- 2% Active/Inactive Military Service
- 1% Persons with Disabilities
This growth is tied to the growing focus on diversity within the field of computing. The participation of over 80 universities, national laboratories, non-profits and corporations as conference supporters shows how deep the commitment is to including people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and disabilities in tech.
Program highlights included plenary presentations by Raquel Romano, Senior Software Engineer, Google who spoke on Redefining Inclusion; Melanie Moses, Associate Professor of Computer Science, University of New Mexico who spoke on
Emergence, Cooperation and Diversity: The Evolution of Natural and Engineered Swarms. Plenary Speaker Daniel Sonnenfeld, Technical Program Management Director, Salesforce delivered his talk,
Overcoming Barriers for Careers in Information Technology, in Sign Language.
The Ken Kennedy Distinguished Lecture, titled
Scientific Computing in the Movies and Virtual Surgery, was delivered by Joseph Teran, Professor of Applied Mathematics, UCLA. The Plenary Panel,
Shifting the Paradigm: A Dialogue with Chief Diversity Officers, featured Lesley Slaton Brown, Chief Diversity Officer, HP, Inc ; Gwen Houston, Chief Diversity Officer and General Manager, Global Diversity and Inclusion, Microsoft; Drew Valentine, Vice President, People and Culture, IBM Analytics; and Meghan Welch, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Capital One.
The closing banquet of the conference was highlighted by an inspiring keynote address by Dr. Richard Tapia, University Professor, Maxfield-Oshman Professor in Engineering at Rice University and the conference namesake. The Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing award was presented to Dr. David Patterson, Pardee Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley.
The Tapia Conference featured 18 panels and workshops, 17 birds of a feather sessions, a career fair and a Poster Reception featuring 48 graduate and undergraduate posters. There were 240 scholarship recipients and 14 doctoral consortium participants.
Key results from the Tapia 2016 post conference survey revealed:
- 85% of students strongly agreed/agreed that attending the Tapia Conference increased their dedication to completing their degree in computing
- 93% of students strong agreed/agreed they found the Tapia Conference inspiring with respect to learning about various opportunities in computing
- 97% of students strongly agreed/agreed that attending the Tapia Conference provided an opportunity to make new connections.