iSchool Professor Elected as Member-at-Large for the ACM SIGCSE Executive Board

This summer, Dr. Yolanda Rankin was elected as a Member-at-Large for the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE) Executive Board. In her new role, she will manage the ACM SIGCSE Special Projects and Travel Grants programs.

As a member of the ACM SIGCSE Executive Board, she will work with her colleagues to advance computing education research that provide support to anyone who wants to pursue a career in the field of computing. “Even in 2022, minoritized communities often lack access to computing education and resources prior to college,” said Rankin. “This is problematic at the college level as minoritized students realize that they are at a disadvantage in introductory computing courses compared to their peers who have been exposed to computer science in middle school and high school. This contributes to the negative perception that the field of computing is not for them and, as a result, some minoritized students switch their majors or leave the field altogether. We need to think of alternative pathways into the field of computing that leverage students’ lived experiences as assets rather than deficits, challenging this notion that there is something wrong with the student.”

One of the main goals of the newly elected SIGCSE board is to establish SIGCSE as an inclusive and supportive community for all members with channels to seek the resources that they require to be successful.

“Our membership includes people of diverse backgrounds,” said Rankin. “I believe in creating safe spaces where everyone can thrive. For example, I have been doing research that centers the experiences of Black women in computing and SIGCSE is a community that cares about this work.”

When asked about her decision to become the Member-at-Large, Rankin said, “My initial response when I was asked to run for office was ‘no’, but I think there comes a time when you have to think beyond what is beneficial to you as an individual and think about what is going to help propel the community forward. No one can say yes to everything, but being strategic about when you do say yes becomes an opportunity to help others.”

To learn more about ACM SIGCSE, click here.