Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology
Text | Link
August 2019
Volume 9, Issue 8
Welcome to the August 2019 issue of the CMD-IT newsletter.  This month we are focused on accessibility.  We are pleased to feature an interview w ith  Tapia 2019 plenary speaker Jennifer Mankoff, Richard E. Ladner Professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington.  Jennifer's talk, titled Making Accessibility  is scheduled for Thursday morning, September 19th.

We look forward to seeing you in San Diego for Tapia 2019, scheduled for September 18-21.

Best Regards,
CMD-IT Leadership   
Tapia 2019 Plenary Speaker
 Jennifer Mankoff

Jennifer Mankoff, Richard E. Ladner Professor, Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington, will be a plenary speaker at Tapia 2019 on Thursday, September 20. Her talk is titled Making Accessibility. We spoke with Jennifer about her background to learn about how she became interested in making computing more accessible.

Who inspired you to enter computer science? My mother had a knitting machine that she programmed using punch cards. My father was interested in mathematics, but he chose to enter medicine because he wanted a strong financial base. Both of them encouraged me to go into computer science. I was totally intrigued by computers. During the summers in college, I applied for various jobs and research internships. I ended up working with computer scientists at Argonne National Lab to design one of their first websites. I also interned at Bell Labs in the data visualization group. I attended a symposium on Women in Computing, and became so excited by the research everyone was discussing. I also volunteered at a CSE conference in Arizona and really loved going to the research talks.

You had a broad range of experiences, what came next for you? I applied to graduate schools and was accepted to Georgia Tech in HCI (Human Computer Interaction). While I was doing my PhD I experienced a bad repetitive strain injury and became unable to type more than two hours a day and could not do simple tasks like opening a door. I also had vocal problems that made it difficult to speak. At that time I realized I had a disability and began to think about making computer more accessible.

What did you do after completing your PhD? I got my first faculty position at UC Berkeley and continued to have issues with my strain injury and voice. I learned to make accommodations in class. I was lucky to have come to the one of the few universities with a disability studies department. Over time my husband made a career move and we both ended up at Carnegie Mellon University in tenure track positions.

What happened while you were working at Carnegie Mellon? After having my second child I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. I was very ill with all kinds of neurological symptoms  - memory issues, clumsiness, and fatigue to name a few. And it took over a year to be diagnosed. After many months I was able to find a doctor who was able to treat me and I began to get better.  In dealing with all of this, I was lucky to have a unilaterally supportive department.  My department chair generously gave me a teaching leave, and faculty friends gave me rides, co-taught classes with me, and were generally very supportive.  I am also grateful for my family; my husband supported me every step of the way and my brother even flew in for a week and took over to give me a break. I completed treatment, three years after my diagnosis, gave my first plenary at the Grace Hopper Celebration, and got tenure all at the same time. However, finishing treatment was just the start of my Lyme Disease journey, which still continues today

How have your experiences impacted your work? Many of my projects have come from what I have experienced that is frustrating or challenging, which has led to the broad diversity in my projects. I'm very excited about my current projects including a paradigm shifting change to screen reader interaction and a big project around new fabrication technology that is changing the way for assistive technologies to be designed and produced.

Be sure to join us September 18-21st at Tapia 2019 to hear Jen Mankoff and our other great speakers.
Creating a More Accessible Conference
For Tapia 2019, we initiated an Accessibility Committee, led by Brianna Blaser from AccessComputing. Brianna and her team members Jerri Barrett (CMD-IT), Richard Ladner (University of Washington), Synge Tyson (Accessibility/Usability Consultant), and Rua M. Williams (University of Florida) reviewed comments and feedback from previous conferences and researched best practices for making conferences more accessible. 

For Tapia 2019 we have made the following changes:
  • We have asked all our speakers to post their presentations on our Google Drive so that they are accessible to session attendees.  We have also asked that presenters repeat any questions they are asked to make sure everyone hears them.
  • There will be an accessibility enhanced version of our program posted on the Google Drive as well prior to the conference thanks to the support of AccessComputing.
  • A Quiet Room has been set aside for our attendees who feel the need for a break from the hustle and bustle of the conference. We will also have a Lactation Room again this year.
  • We will have reserved seating in the front and back of each room for anyone who needs it.
  • Extra training is being provided for our student volunteers who will be available to support our attendees.
  • We have added information on our website about accessibiity and listed some resources for our attendees.
  • We will continue to provide CART and American Sign Language Interpreters for our attendees who request them during registration.
  • We will include questions on our post conference survey about our accessibility and solicit more input for next year.
How can you help us make the conference more accessible for everyone?
  • When you are leaving a meeting room please be sure to push in your chairs to make the path out of the room clear.
  • Be sure to engage with everyone and remember not everyone has the same style of communication that you do.
  • If you are presenting please be sure to describe what is on your slide or poster so everyone can enjoy the information.
  • Help us make sure that every attendee has a wonderful time at the conference.
  • Review our Accessibility website page for even more tips.

We know that creating an accessible conference requires continuous improvement.  We encourage anyone interested in participating on our Tapia 2020 Accessibility Committee to let us know via email  or when you complete your post conference survey.


In This Issue
#Tapia2019 Deadlines and Action Items
Registration: Be sure to register today! 

Hotel:  New hotel room blocks have been added.  Book your hotel today!

Submit your resume to the Tapia 2019 Resume Database.  Our sponsors are scheduling interviews with conference attendees now!
#Tapia2019 Hotel Blocks Closing
#Tapia2019 hotel room blocks with our negotiated rates are closing next week.  Please book your hotel room for the Tapia conference today!

September 3 - Embassy Suites Room Block Closes 

September 5 - Manchester  Grand Hyatt San Diego Room Block Closes.

Please go to our website for hotel booking information.
Job Postings
National Center for Supercomputing Applications

Reed College

Khoury College of Computer Sciences,  Northeastern University

Assistant and Associate Professors
University of North Texas

Tenure-Track Faculty Positions in Computer Science
Williams College

Email job postings to .
Community Calendar

18 October 2019

22 October 2019

22 October 2019
30 Oct - 3 Nov 2019

4 November 2019

5 November 2019

6-8 November 2019

7 - 9 November 2019

14 - 17 November 2019

Want us to l
ist your events or due dates, please email us.
Stay Connected with CMD-IT
CMD-IT Supporters