The Advanced Computing for Social Change Program (ACSC) held their inaugural event November 13-16, 2016 in conjunction with SC16. The event hosted by XSEDE, TACC, and SC16 identified 20 graduate and undergrad students to participate in a week-long event.
The goal was to capture the imagination of millennial and post-millennial students by engaging them in a data centric computing challenge using computation, data analysis, and visualization to produce a view of police violence and rhetoric surrounding the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Identifying students historically underserved in STEM, create a group that will become ambassadors for future SC conferences, and encourage them to continue their path in advanced computing careers was a supplemental goal.
An external evaluation published in December 2016 showed that the program accomplished its goals. Specifically:
• The connection between computing and being able to do something about social change was established. Students expressed their confidence in being able to tackle social issues using their STEM knowledge.
• The students found value working as a team to address a complex social issue. Although it was stressful for some at first, they found as they came together with their opinions and knowledge, they created a stronger team.
• 94% reported it was meaningful to engage with other students in the program. 87% indicated they plan on keeping in contact with the other students in the program.
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Kim McMahon has performed sales and marketing for more years than she cares to count. She writes frequently on marketing, life, the world and how they sometimes all come together.
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