Hope for 2021 ... You Belong @ CICS
Hope for 2021 ... You Belong @ CICS
You Belong At CICS: Diversity & Inclusive Community Newsletter
Kamala Harris

Hope for 2021

Happy New Year! I have hope for a better year in 2021, despite the terrifying growth of the COVID-19 pandemic and the horrific white supremacist attack on our voting rights that killed five people in our nation’s capital, including two police officers. I have hope because doses of the COVID vaccine are being administered, and Kamala D. Harris is about to be sworn in as the first African American, first Asian American, and first woman vice president in the United States of America’s history.
But I also want to point out that it took more than one man’s presidency to build up the hate, fear, and aggression displayed on January 6. The attackers wore anti-Semitic messages on their clothing, brought an operational noose to the capitol, as well as guns, plastic restraint cuffs, and pipe bombs.
As a community, it is important that we recognize the collective trauma that we have been undergoing. The violence and death that we have been experiencing can have an effect on our attitude, community, and worldview. Understand that you are not alone, and hope is still on the horizon.
We absolutely have the collective ability to overcome anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy. If it is safe for you, I encourage you to have a conversation with someone that has a different political, racial, or religious viewpoint. Use your conversation to recognize your similarities and learn about your differences. If we find commonalities and listen to each other, it will bring us all closer together. My plan is to channel the sadness and pain I am experiencing during this horrific time in our history into antiracist action, and I hope that you will join me. 
Erika Lynn Dawson Head
Director of Diversity and Inclusive Community Development

Voices of Data Science

Doctoral students Pracheta Amaranath and Cecilia Ferrando are the co-chairs for Voices of Data Science 2021, a conference featuring talks from accomplished and emerging data scientists of diverse backgrounds. This year, they are celebrating and showcasing the success of women (cis and trans) and non-binary data scientists. The staff sponsor for the conference is Jennifer Page, CICS associate director of communications and marketing. Page is helping the co-chairs with organizational support and overall governance.  “I’ve always been interested in supporting women and non-binary people succeed in areas that have traditionally been male-dominated,” she said. “I’m excited to see this conference elevate the voices of a diverse group of data scientists.”
Join Voices of Data Science February 19–20 to celebrate and amplify the voices of data scientists, specifically those from populations underrepresented in computing, as they discuss how they use their work for the common good.
Register now
Voices of Data Science team photos
Marvin Cable

Lecturer Limelight:
Marvin Cable 

Marvin Cable, a practicing attorney in Northampton, teaches two courses at CICS, COMPSCI391: Computer Crime Law and COMSCI563: Internet Law and Policy. Cable finds that teaching provides one of the most fulfilling parts of his professional life, allowing him to engage in conversations with students and promote discussions and debates. He advises his students to practice analyzing facts while staying empathetic to individual circumstances, noting that when clients seek out help from an attorney, they're in serious and sensitive situations.
He also highlights the importance of persistence. "Some people say that your job in life is to figure out who you are, and be that person. But during times like this COVID-19 pandemic, that may be hard to do. To that end, I say: Stay strong and press on," Cable says. He quotes Calvin Coolidge: "Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."
In his free time, Cable enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two daughters, especially hiking, canoeing, and kayaking down the Connecticut River.
HackHer413 2021: Feb. 13, Virtual. Apply now at HackHer413.com
Deborah Bergeron

Staff Spotlight:
Deborah Bergeron

Deborah Bergeron is a grants and contracts coordinator who has worked at UMass since 1998, a tenure that has given Bergeron a feeling of security based on being part of the community and knowing what to expect in her day-to-day life. She has seven grandchildren, and recently became an “empty nester.” She currently enjoys spending her time with her husband on four-wheelers in the woods.
During the pandemic, Bergeron sees herself as lucky to work in CICS and is grateful for her colleagues. "It is a great group of people to work with," she says, "I almost always feel respected and appreciated, and it's nice to have the people [you work with] make you feel that way." Although the transition into remote working and loss of personal contact with her co-workers was hard on her, she is optimistic that the pandemic may come to an end soon.
Three people at a table working on a problem

Running Through January 22—Diversity in Social Data Science Leadership Academy

Presented by the Data Analytics and Computational Social Science Program at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, this academy is a free multiday event with alumni roundtables, featured speakers, and intensive skills development workshops. The program is focused on students who are interested in careers in data analytics and computational social science.
Career workshops will offer the opportunity to practice professional skills such as writing effective cover letters, interviewing, and contract negotiation for data science positions. Workshops will be tailored to address specific issues faced by women and other underrepresented groups pursuing careers in the field.
Apply now
Cover: Black, Brown, Bruised

STEM Reading Group:

Black, Brown, Bruised
Over January break, The College of Engineering is hosting a STEM reading group and wants to extend an invitation to students, faculty, and staff at CICS to join in! The group will be studying Black, Brown, Bruised: How Racialized STEM Education Stifles Innovation by Ebony Omotola McGee. In a powerful and highly recommended reading that draws on narratives from hundreds of Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people, McGee examines the experiences of students and faculty from underrepresented populations who have succeeded in STEM, along with the toll that achieving such success can exact. McGee advocates for structural and institutional changes to address racial discrimination, stereotyping, and hostile environments, in order to make the STEM field more inclusive.
The group will be meeting on the following Tuesdays: January 19 and January 26 at 5:00pm.
Sign up

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

In honor of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the causes for which he joined and led struggle, consider spending some moments learning more about the man from the King Center.
Monday, January 18

Microaggressions Workshop for Staff

Join us for a training on how we can make our community a more welcoming & inclusive place. Facilitated by Dr. Kirsten Helmer of the UMass Center for Teaching and Learning and Dr. Neena Thota of CICS. This workshop will be offered on two dates.
Thursday, January 21, 2:30–4:00pm
Wednesday, January 27, 10:00–11:30am

CICS Social Justice Idea Jams

Join Erika Dawson Head, Brian Krusell, and Dale Osef at this session to collaboratively brainstorm how CICS and industry partners can improve diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Friday, January 22, 1:00–2:30pm

Q&A with Philip Thomas: Why are AI Systems Racist, Sexist, and Generally Unfair, and Can We Make Them Fair?

This Q&A is part of the Computing and Social Justice Series, which brings CICS researchers and the public together to critically assess how computing innovation intersects with vitally important issues like structural bias, civic participation, economic inequality, and citizen privacy.
Thursday, January 28, 4:00–5:30pm


Over the course of 8 hours, come learn and develop new technical skills, network with sponsor company representatives, and innovate with passion. This hackathon is entirely student-organized and aims to increase diversity and inclusion in the technology industry.
Saturday, February 13

What Should We Include Next?

Know someone with a great story? Or someone you just want to put a spotlight on for their great work? Here at CICS, we love being able to highlight those around us who make every day a bit better. This is an opportunity to get more involved in our newsletter by nominating an organization/faculty/staff member to be interviewed.
Nominate someone!
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