The Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) partnered with ten other leading computer science programs (California Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Purdue University, University of California Los Angeles, University of Maryland, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Yale University), under the leadership of CMD-IT (Center for Minorities and Disabilities in IT), to establish Cohort 2 in the LEAP Alliance.
The LEAP Alliance is an NSF-funded Broadening Participation in Computing collaboration that includes four cohorts of research universities with the common goal of increasing the diversity of PhD graduates in computing and further diversifying the field of computer science as a whole. The shared vision of the LEAP Alliance is to increase the representation of those who identify as Black/African American, Native/Indigenous, and/or Hispanic/Latino/a/x, as well as people with disabilities in the professoriate. These groups, who have been historically excluded from the computer science field, make up less than 5% of those awarded with PhD and less than 3% of the computer science professoriate (Taulbee, 2020).
Cohort 2 LEAP Fellow
Each year the objective is to have two or more graduate students become LEAP fellows at the start their studies at UNC-CH. Being recognized as a LEAP Fellow provides the following opportunities:
- Community of LEAP Fellows: The LEAP Alliance provides opportunities for the LEAP Fellows at the institutions within a given cohort to meet in-person at events such as the Tapia Conference, as well as virtually via webinars and other activities. In addition to getting to know the LEAP Fellows within a cohort, the LEAP Alliance provides opportunities to get to know other LEAP Fellows across all three cohorts focused on computing doctoral programs.
- Professional Development Activities: The LEAP Alliance works with companies such as Google and Microsoft to provide professional development activities to learn about research in industry as well as academic career paths via the CMD-IT Academic Careers Workshops, organized in collaboration with CAHSI and AccessComputing.
- Mentoring Program: The LEAP Alliance will develop a mentoring program that goes across the individual institutions within Cohort 2.