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Sloan Davis

Sloan Davis

I work toward equity in computing research and education by designing and studying interventions that meet the needs of students and educators from historically marginalized groups.

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Authored Publications
Google Publications
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    Equitable student persistence in computing research through distributed career mentorship
    Audrey Rorrer
    Cori Grainger
    Proceedings of 54th Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE’23), ACM (2023)
    Preview abstract Google’s CS Research Mentorship Program (CSRMP) cultivates pursuit and persistence in the computing research trajectory for students from historically marginalized groups through virtual career mentorship from industry professionals, a peer community, and just-in-time resources. Since 2018, 287 Google mentors have engaged 1,018 students from 247 institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The program employs socioemotional support and advocacy to navigate systemic barriers by validating students’ intersectional identities in order to improve outcomes in core constructs for students: self-efficacy, sense of belonging, research skills, motivation to pursue graduate school and research careers, and intersectional capital. Evaluation outcomes from 400 matched respondents (68% response rate) indicate that CSRMP affects positive, statistically significant change in those constructs that largely persists across demographic subgroups. 80% aim to pursue computing research careers, and significantly fewer students are undecided about their future career. We were also able to identify disaggregated learnings: Black, Indigenous, and Latinx students are significantly less likely to submit to a research conference, and students from Historically Marginalized Groups (defined within) are significantly less likely to apply to a CS graduate program. We discuss key design elements of the program, how the findings are informing future iterations, and the potential for the model to scale. View details
    Growing an Inclusive Community of K-12 CS Education Researchers
    Monica McGill
    Proceedings of 54th Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE’23), ACM (2023)
    Preview abstract A recent study found that there is a litany of unmet needs that are serving as barriers for the CS education research community to grow in depth and breadth, including ensuring that the community is representative of the teachers and students that are studied. Cultivating a diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible CSEd research community requires simultaneous bottom-up and top-down alignment on practice standards, professional development, and wellbeing for all constituents that is rooted in politicized trust and collective impact. For this position paper, we engaged in an expository writing process using a confirmatory and elucidating research design to contextualize quantitative and qualitative data reported from our previous study within related work. Our results indicate that there is a variety of researcher-centered, researcher-adjacent, and research-centered barriers in CS education that affect researchers’ practice, and personal and professional identities. These results were validated by findings from research in other fields, such as education, psychology, and organizational change. These findings highlight the need for intentional changes to be made, both top-down and bottom-up, to sustain and grow the CS education research community in a way that equitably supports the evolving needs of a diverse set of students as well as the diverse set of researchers who study interventions. View details
    Understanding Immersive Research Experiences that Build Community, Equity, and Inclusion
    Audrey Rorrer
    Breauna Spencer
    Deborah Holmes
    Cori Grainger
    SIGCSE '21: Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (2021)
    Preview abstract In this experience report, we describe the rationale and need for immersive research experiences (IREs) in computer science (CS) that are designed to foster an inclusive community that encourages pursuit of graduate education for undergraduate women. Google’s exploreCSR supports institutions across the US to execute IREs in computing throughout the academic year. We describe the program design and framework, the evaluation model, and present outcomes from two years of implementation across 29 institutions, with 1,983 (92% female) student participants collectively. The unique features of the program are that it aligns goals, measurements, and best practices across a national network of hands-on, localized IREs, resulting in peer communities and a sizable sample of undergraduates who identify as women and/or African-American/Black, American Indian/Alaska Native/Native American, Hispanic/Latinx, and/or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (AAHN). We discuss recommendations for effective IRE programming based on our evaluation and the features found to be particularly salient for AAHN women. The contribution of this work is in describing how a national initiative for IREs builds community and creates conditions known to support persistence of women in computer science. View details
    Preview abstract Google’s CS4HS is an annual funding program for education nonprofits who design and deliver Computer Science (CS) professional development (PD) to educators in their local community. As CS education is an emerging field, many education stakeholders can be ill-equipped to identify CS PD needs, evaluate options, and assess educator and student outcomes. As a result educators may participate in CS PD that fails to address their needs, which worsens equity gaps in CS education. Therefore, models of evaluating CS PD programs and outcomes are critical to equitable CS education. This paper provides an update on earlier research findings from 2014 with data from the 2015 and 2016 cycles, as well as updates to our evaluation measures and methodology. View details
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