Google Research

Understanding Immersive Research Experiences that Build Community, Equity, and Inclusion

SIGCSE '21: Proceedings of the 2021 ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (2021) (to appear)


In this experience report, we describe the rationale and need for immersive research experiences (IREs) in computing that are designed to foster an inclusive community that encourages pursuit of graduate education for undergraduate women. The IRE program supports institutions across the US to execute research engagement throughout the academic year. We describe the unique program design, scope and innovation of creating a computer research community that is more targeted toward and inclusive of women. We describe the program design and framework, the evaluation model, and present outcomes from two years of implementation across 29 institutions, with 2,153 (74% female) student participants collectively. The unique features of the program are that it provides undergraduate women with early engagement to hands-on, collaborative research, faculty mentorship, graduate school advising, and a large community of peers. We discuss recommendations for effective IRE programming based on our evaluation and the features found to be particularly salient for women from traditionally marginalized groups. The contribution of this work is in describing how a national initiative for experiential research workshops build community and creates conditions known to support persistence of women in computer science.

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