About Tapia Conference
The CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference is the premier venue to acknowledge, promote and celebrate diversity in computing.
The goal of the Tapia Conference is to bring together undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers, and professionals in computing from all backgrounds and ethnicities to:
- Celebrate the diversity that exists in computing
- Connect with others with common backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities, and gender to create communities that extend beyond the conference
- Engage with computing leaders in academia, industry, and government labs
- Be inspired by great presentations and conversations with leaders with common backgrounds
The Tapia Conference brings together CMD-IT’s target communities:
- African Americans/Blacks,
- Native Americans/Indigenous People,
- Hispanics/Latinxs and
- People with Disabilities
Tapia Conference: How It Began
In the 1990s, there were several discussions about having a conference focused on diversity. At that time, in tech there was the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, organized by Anita Borg and Telle Whitney. In 2000, Valerie Taylor, Bryant York, Richard Alo and a few other computing professionals strategized about launching a conference focused on diversity, modeled after the Grace Hopper Conference; they had close ties with Anita Borg and Telle Whitney. The group brainstormed and agreed that the event’s title should emphasize the “Celebration of Diversity in Computing” aspect to celebrate the current diversity as well as advocate for increased diversity in tech.
During this strategy meeting, it was agreed to name the conference after Richard Tapia, because of his strong record of accomplishments in the sectors of science and diversity. This meeting was held in Chicago as part of a leadership meeting for the Coalition to Diversity Computing (CDC), which was a joint organization of ACM, CRA and IEEE-CS. CDC merged with CMD-IT in 2016, at the request of the CDC leadership.
The first Tapia Conference was held October 18-20, 2001 in Houston, Texas with 164 attendees. Valerie Taylor and Richard Alo served as the first General Co-Chairs with significant involvement from Bryant York, Ann Redelfs, Theresa Chatman, and Cynthia Lanius. The conference has grown to include thousands of diverse attendees, with strong engagement from academia, industry, and government labs.
Tapia Conference: Now
The Tapia Conference provides an opportunity for attendees to hear about current topics in tech, learn about effective strategies for success in professional careers from diverse perspectives, pursue career opportunities in tech, seek opportunities for graduate studies, and work together to increase diversity in computing.
The Tapia Conference includes the following key components:
- Panels and Workshops covering current technical topics, such as AI, quantum computing, and cybersecurity as well as topics related to broadening participation in computing and professional development for diverse communities
- Industry Leadership and Networking Workshop which provides an opportunity for attendees to learn leadership skills and to be prepared to apply these skills immediately to advance their careers
- CMD-IT Student Professional Development Workshop which provides a safe space for undergraduate and masters students to ask questions about resume writing and effective interview skills, receive valuable feedback on resumes and gain insights from industry and government professionals
- Student Poster/ACM Student Research Competition (SRC) presentations where undergraduate and graduate students present their latest research results
- Doctoral Consortium presentations where PhD students discuss their research plan with a panel of established researchers
- Scholarships for students at U.S. universities and faculty at Minority Serving Institutions
- Career Fair with industry, government, academic and nonprofit supporters