Cultivating a Diverse Community in Computer Science

As an institution, Johns Hopkins University is deeply committed to the dignity and equality of all persons, regardless of who you are or where you come from. The university has formulated an ambitious Roadmap on Diversity and Inclusion to articulate a shared understanding of the university’s focus and priorities (https://diversity.jhu.edu). Similarly, the Whiting School of Engineering values a diverse and inclusive community (https://engineering.jhu.edu/about/diversity-inclusion/).

Within the Department of Computer Science, we believe that a diverse and inclusive community is critical to the success of our educational and research missions. A diverse department is necessary for making our educational programs accessible by a wide range of students, bringing multiple perspectives to our research program, and creating a supportive and welcoming culture that is critical to student success. Awareness of the need for diversity and inclusion is especially critical in Computer Science, a discipline with a long track record of underrepresentation of by women and minorities.

We have created several groups and programs with the goal of cultivating a diverse community in Computer Science. This page describes some of these efforts, and answers common questions that are related to building a diverse department.

Groups

The Department of Computer Science, the Whiting School of Engineering, and Johns Hopkins broadly host multiple groups that support minority and underrepresented students and encourage diversity.

  • Women in Computer Science (WiCS) (https://www.cs.jhu.edu/undergraduate-studies/undergraduate-student-groups/wics/) is an undergraduate student group for women in computer science. Throughout the semester they host a variety of speakers and engage in coding circles to try and foster community among CS students.
  • Graduate Association of Women in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (GRACE) (https://gracejhu.github.io/)GRACE was founded in the fall of 2015 to foster networking and support between the graduate women of ECE and CS. The weekly lunches provide a supportive environment for mentoring and support between graduate students.
  • Women of Whiting (https://wow.students.jh.edu/) is a group of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows dedicated to providing women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields with community building, networking, mentorship, and professional development opportunities.
  • Johns Hopkins hosts a chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) (https://www.facebook.com/jhunsbe), a professional engineering organization whose mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible and academically excelling African American engineers.
  • The Society of Professional Hispanic Engineers (SPHE) (https://johnshopkins.campuslabs.com/engage/organization/shpe) chapter at Johns Hopkins is a professional organization of Latino engineers.
  • Graduate Queer/Straight Alliance (https://www.facebook.com/JHU.GQSA) (https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/lgbtq) is a social group aimed at fostering a community of inclusion and diversity on the Hopkins campus.
  • The Women Faculty Forum at Homewood (https://womenfacultyforum.wordpress.com/) is a group of Hopkins faculty of all genders who work together to expand collaboration and leadership opportunities for women, advocate for equitable practices and policies, and continue to address gender equity issues and challenges to the full participation of women faculty at Hopkins.


Student Diversity

Johns Hopkins actively pursues programs to diversify the student population. At the undergraduate level, Hopkins is a national leader in aggressive financial aid programs aid at making a Hopkins education available to everyone. Thanks to a historic $1.8 billion dollar gift from Michael Bloomberg (https://hub.jhu.edu/2018/11/26/bloomberg-gift-hopkins-student-impact/), Hopkins financial aid eliminates the need for student loans among numerous Hopkins undergraduates (https://hub.jhu.edu/2018/11/26/bloomberg-gift-hopkins-student-impact/).

Further information on the undergraduate population can be found here:

https://apply.jhu.edu/discover-jhu/get-the-facts/

Detailed statistics on the makeup of PhD programs can be found here:

https://provost.jhu.edu/education/graduate-and-professional-education/phd-program-statistics/ 

Outreach

Across the University there are multiple programs that work with the local, national and global community on educational programs. Within the Whiting School of Engineering, many of these efforts are housed in the Center for Educational Outreach (https://engineering.jhu.edu/outreach/), whose vision is to increase the number of underrepresented youth pursuing STEM careers.

The Department of Computer Science also organizes several outreach programs. For example, the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO) (https://naclo.clsp.jhu.edu/) is a competition for students in grades 6-12 that educates students on the exciting challenges in the field of computational linguistics.

We also send students and faculty to diversity focused computing conferences, including the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.

Our students and faculty participate in several programs focused on elementary and high schools in the Baltimore area. For example, we participate in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program (https://engineering.jhu.edu/outreach/get-involved/women-in-science-and-engineering-wise-program/) which connects with Baltimore City Public Schools. This has led to our students and faculty teaching lessons about CS concepts to elementary school students (https://www.cs.jhu.edu/2014/12/15/for-baltimore-first-graders-learning-computer-coding-basics-is-elementary/#.XZqq0OdKjUJ). Our faculty also mentor students from area high schools in semester long research internships on the Johns Hopkins Campus.

Graduate Admissions

The PhD admissions committee actively encourages a diverse PhD student body. The committee runs an admissions process that seeks the most talented students with the highest potential for research success. Since prior achievements directly relate to available opportunity, and opportunity varies considerably by background, our process emphasizes achievement relative to available opportunity. Additionally, we work towards an accessible PhD application process by waiving GRE requirements for students who are unable to take the GRE tests, and by having low application fees, which can be waived for first-generation college students or participants in programs such as NNE or SACNAS (among many others). Any applicant can request a GRE or fee waiver by emailing admissions@cs.jhu.edu.

To learn more about our admissions process, please contact Darlene Saporu, Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion (https://krieger.jhu.edu/about/diversity-inclusion/).

To learn about the Hopkins diversity recruitment program (https://ehop.jhu.edu/).

Check out the  FAQ on admissions (https://www.cs.jhu.edu/graduate-studies/graduate-admissions-information/graduate-admissions-faq/).

Additional Information

Visit these sites to learn more about diversity initiatives at Johns Hopkins:

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