In a field as fast-moving as computer science, it can be easy to focus only on current research and contemporary breakthroughs. But as exciting as such news-worthy innovations can be, those invested in the advancement of technology have another equally important responsibility: supporting the next generation of computer science researchers. To enable a future of diverse, ethical, and inclusive technology, it’s important to sustain a pipeline of students and postdocs from a wide range of backgrounds who can bring their unique perspective and talent to computer science and technology research. Through the support of $250,000 gifts by forward-thinking companies, the following programs are made possible:
METEOR is a postdoctoral fellowship program specifically designed to foster diversity in academia.
- Sponsors 3-5 postdocs from groups traditionally underrepresented in computer science, including ethnic or racial minorities, gender orientations or identities, those with disabilities, first-generation college students, single parents, veterans, and DACA recipients.
- Wide application pool, including academic centers across the US and historically Black colleges and universities.
- Funds postdocs for one year at a time, helping outstanding individuals focus on their research and prepare for careers in academia or industry.
- Has reached its goal every year since its inception 3 years ago.
- METEOR sponsors, in addition to supporting the inclusive future of computer science, are also invited to actively participate in mentorship by hosting ‘lunch and learn’ talks at CSAIL and attending cohort-specific events.
Find out more here.
“I'm very thankful for the support of the METEOR program and also the sponsors because they have been incredibly generous with the opportunity to both visit here before starting my postdoc and also by supporting me going to conferences and meeting people, which all helps in the goals that I have for my career.”
~ 2023 Fellow in the METEOR Program at CSAIL
Summer programs focused on AI and computing can offer high school, undergraduate, and graduate students an invaluable chance to delve into a rapidly evolving field that is shaping the future of technology and society. These programs provide hands-on experiences in areas such as machine learning, data science, robotics, and computer vision. By working on projects and solving real-world problems, students gain a deeper understanding of AI concepts and develop programming skills that are highly sought after in today's job market. The AI and computing summer programs often feature guest speakers from industry and academia. These interactions expose students to the latest advancements in the field and offer unique networking opportunities that can open doors to internships, research positions, and potential career paths. In addition to technical skills, students learn about the ethical and societal implications of AI technologies. By engaging in discussions on topics such as bias in algorithms, data privacy, and the impact of automation on jobs, students develop a more holistic and responsible approach to AI development and deployment.
CSAIL summer programs may include:
Summer Geometry Institute (SGI)
SGI is a six-week paid summer research program run by Associate Professor Justin Solomon.
- Created in 2021 to introduce both undergraduate and graduate students to the dynamic field, long history, and important applications of geometry processing.
- Dedicated to the inclusion of individuals from all backgrounds at all levels of relevant experience, including women and students from underrepresented and under-served groups.
- Sessions include 30-40 fellows, a dedicated leadership team of 2-3 faculty members, and additional geometry processing experts invited as speakers & researchers.
- Of the 34 fellows in each of the previous two sessions, 76% were underrepresented minorities.
Find out more here.
"SGI actively encouraged the application of minority groups in maths and computer science, which (speaking as part of minority group myself) is crucial for motivating them to continue down an academic path, if they so wish.”
~ 2021 Fellow in the SGI Institute at CSAIL
MIT App Inventor
MIT App Inventor is a project led by Professor Hal Abelson which seeks to democratize software development.
- Makes an effort to empower everyone, especially young people and those from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, to move from technology consumption to technology creation by inventing applications to solve problems in their lives.
- Proudly features projects by young women and developers from around the globe using phone apps to tackle all kinds of real-life issues, such as accessing safe water and helping blind classmates navigate complicated school hallways.
- More than 85M apps have been designed using App Inventor, and the platform has over a million unique monthly visitors from 195 countries.
Find out more here.
“MIT App Inventor is having an impact well beyond Massachusetts, making coding accessible to everyone from U.S. Marines to refugees. They’ve lowered the technical barriers, enabling people around the globe to innovate, solve problems, and capture new opportunities.”
~ MassTLC CEO Tom Hopcroft
As CSAIL Director Professor Daniela Rus explored in her TedxMIT talk about Great Women in Technology, diversity in a work environment encourages people to anticipate different perspectives, work harder to reach a consensus, and often achieve better outcomes. In the cultivation of future scientists, it is more important than ever to support those voices and perspectives that have not previously been given a chance to shine. Inviting new insight and talent into the impactful field of computer science will benefit not just academia and participating industry sponsors but all who depend on the incredible advancements and innovations coming out of places like MIT CSAIL.
To get involved in one of these programs, contact your CSAIL Alliances CRC or reach out to Managing Director of Global Strategic Alliances Lori Glover at firstname.lastname@example.org.