Study on Black Women in Computing Receives Best Paper Award

iSchool Assistant Professor Dr. Yolanda Rankin received the Best Paper Award in the Computer Science Education Research track for the 52nd ACM Technical Symposium for Computer Science Education (2021 SIGCSE) and presented her findings at the symposium on March 18th.

Her co-authored paper, titled “Real Talk: Saturated Sites of Violence in CS Education,” investigates the computing educational ecosystem by interviewing 18 Black women about their experiences.

“Intersectional analysis of Black women’s experiences reveals that CS education consists of saturated sites of violence in which interconnected systems of power converge to enact oppression.” According to the paper’s abstract, “Findings reveal three saturated sites of violence within CS education: 1. Traditional k-12 classrooms; 2. predominantly White institutions; and 3. Internships as supplementary learning experiences.”

The paper’s abstract states that “without honest conversations about power relations within the field of Computing, one cannot expect to engender social change that equates to equity for all CS students.”

The study is a part of her work in the McKnight Fellowship which allows Dr. Rankin to participate in a one-year research sabbatical with full salary and benefits in order to further engage in research and training projects.

In addition to the 2021 SIGCSE, Dr. Rankin was the keynote speaker for the 2021 Advanced Research Conference on March 11th. Her presentation provided multiple examples of how to apply Black feminist epistemology as a critical framework for equitable design for historically excluded groups.

To learn more about Dr. Rankin’s McKnight Fellowship, check out CCI’s story on it here.