In the first half of 2020 the United States was rocked by highly publicized incidents of police brutality which resulted in the deaths of black men and women. While many universities and public organizations were making statements condemning such acts, few were overtly providing resources to affect change to their black students and employees. Over the summer of 2020, members from Clemson University’s school of computing, Assistant Professor Dr. Julian Brinkley, doctoral candidate Earl Huff Jr., and undergraduate student Kwajo Boateng approached the CU School of Computing administration about the prospect of creating a support group for computing students who identified as black. Receiving the blessing of then department chair Dr. Amy Apon, the International Society of Blacks in Computing (ISBIC) was formed.
While the initial goal of the organization was to provide a source of support and resources for black Clemson University students, the decision was made early on to make the ISBIC available as an organization for all those in the black computing diaspora interested in coming together within a single organization while sharing experiences, resources, and expertise. Drawing inspiration from organizations like the National Society of Blacks in Engineering (NSBE) and the National Society of Blacks in Computing (NSBC) conference, an initial infrastructure was established by ISBIC’s first 00 members. It is from this small membership that a large, multi-university organization was imagined.
Headquartered in Clemson, South Carolina , the ISBIC serves as a repository of information for blacks in computing looking for scholarships, internships, networking opportunities, fellowships, and peers with whom to collaborate. Our goal is to become the premier organization of blacks in computing while providing a mechanism with which to enable the many black professionals in the computing profession to affect change both politically, technically, and socially.
ISBIC’s mission is to, “increase the number of socially and culturally responsible and responsive computing professionals with the goal of making a positive impact in the community”.
Members, Friends and Followers of the International Society of Blacks in Computing,
As the Interim National Chair I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve as the first National Chair of what we hope will become the premier organization for Blacks in Computing. 2020 has proven to be a time of great turmoil but I firmly believe that from the chaos that has been the past year we have the opportunity to embark on what may become a rewarding enterprise for all in the Black computing diaspora.
In my role as the Interim National Chair my mission is to spearhead the development of the ISBIC from a foundational level; solidifying the organization at Clemson University and establishing a firm foundation from which the organization can grow into a united voice for Blacks in computing. Together with our student leadership and advisory board the goal is to develop a platform and community for Blacks in computing that will serve as both a repository of information as well as voice to affect positive change in the United States and beyond.
This year I call on you, whether you are a member of ISBIC or simply an interested follower of what we’re doing, to take affirmative steps to connect with other members of the growing ISBIC community. If we all make one new connection, we will quickly realize that we have formed a firm foundation for the ISBC organization. There is strength in numbers and many of us who have the experience of being Black in computing have been isolated from one another for far too long.
I believe that 2020-2021 is an ideal time for us to lay the foundation for future growth while establishing networks that we all may leverage for career advancement, social support, and simply friendship. I look forward to meeting and working with you all as we collaborate to grow this amazing new organization. Remember, the only constant is change, and in change we can take determined action.
Julian Brinkley, Ph.D.
2020-2021 Interim National Chair
International Society of Blacks in Computing
Dr. Chris S. Crawford is an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama’s Department of Computer Science. He directs the Human-Technology Interaction Lab (HTIL). His research focuses on human-robot interaction and Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs). He has investigated systems that provide computer applications and robots with information about a user’s cognitive state. He previously developed a brain-drone racing system that was featured on over 800 news outlets including Discovery, USA Today, and the New York Times, and Forbes. Along with investigating brain-robot interaction applications, Dr. Crawford also developed Neuroblock, a tool designed to engage K-12 student in neurofeedback applications development. He recently won a NSF CAREER award for his research.
Siobahn is the first woman Computer Science Ph.D. graduate from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (2018). She is an Assistant Professor of Information Science/Systems in the School of Library and Information Science at North Carolina Central University, an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador, and an e-Learning Faculty Fellow at NCCU. Her research focuses on utilizing machine learning to identify sources of misinformation on social media and toward improving fault-detection in autonomous vehicles. Dr. Grady advocates increasing the number of women and minorities in computer science. She believes that "The STEM workforce has both gender disparities and that of historically disenfranchised groups. As an ambassador, she affects change by examining girls' perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors, helping them gain confidence in curating and developing a STEM identity." Technology is the way of the future, and Dr. Grady has a vision for minority girl's and women's futures. She realizes that vision by providing educational opportunities through community organizations and the college courses she teaches, and research grants and publications.
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