The CRCL attended a collegiate planning workshop co-located with the 41st Annual National Black Data Processing (BDPA) Tech Conference & Career Fair held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Atlanta on August 1-3, 2019. Currently, no notable student organization focuses on increasing the number of Black computing professionals at the undergraduate level. The workshop was used to develop collegiate chapters (primarily at HBCUs and predominantly Black institutions) to serve this purpose. The workshop also included BDPA board members, government agency representatives, and industry professionals. In addition to forming student chapters, the group also examined best practices and seek to articulate strategies for collaborating with the IT industry.
Dr. Kinnis Gosha, Hortenius I. Chenault Endowed Associate Professor and Director of the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab ( CRCL), has joined Dell, Inc. as a Diversity and Inclusion Summer Research Fellow to lead a study to uncover how companies can successful with hiring and retaining diverse candidates. This research will help to inform the direction of strategic investments made by companies to empower and enable the workforce of the future.
Through his expertise in designing conversational agents, Dr. Gosha will lead the development of Dell’s Bias Check Embodied Conversational Agent prototype. In doing so, Dr. Gosha will work closely with Dell’s Director of Global Diversity and Inclusion, Nitcelle Emmanuels , and the CRCL’s very own post-baccalaureate researcher and recent Morehouse graduate, Tristian Pittman, to complete this project.
Dr. Kinnis Gosha has recently been named the Division Chair of Experiential Learning and Interdisciplinary Studies, a new division at Morehouse College. With this new position, Dr. Gosha will have the opportunity to work closely with Academic Program Directors (APDs) to facilitate programmatic, budgetary, and other decision-making within the division. He will also be responsible for participating in student recruitment activities and fundraising for the division. In addition, he will be expected to promote a collegial work climate, facilitate and lead the division towards improved productivity and relevancy.
Dr. Kinnis Gosha, an Assistant Professor and Director of the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab at Morehouse College, has been awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct a study on virtual mentorship and how it impacts underrepresented minority students in the computer science and engineering fields. This grant award is for $299,882 and will span a two-year period. The central purpose of this research is to develop and evaluate a virtual mentoring system that uses a group of embodied conversational agents (i.e., think avatars) to mentor underrepresented doctoral students, majoring in engineering and computer science and who are pursuing a career as a college professor. This NSF award positions the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab to conduct research that can potentially transform the landscape of engineering and computer science, by providing the foundation and support needed to foster diversity through virtual mentorship.
Dell Technologies has recently started focusing on new and innovative ways to reduce unconscious bias in the workplace. In doing so they reached out to Dr. Kinnis Gosha, Director of the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab, to leverage new technology options generated in his research lab. Dr. Gosha was recently featured in a video that was showcased at the 2019 Dell Technologies World Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Link to video coming soon.
Dr. Kinnis Gosha, Culturally Relevant Computing Lab (CRCL) Director, manuscript submission titled, “Improving Computing Science Instruction for African American Secondary School Students: A Focus Group Exploration of Computing Identities of African American Teachers” was accepted into the 2019 ACM SIGMIS Computers and People Research (CPR) Conference. This conference will be held June 20-22 in Nashville, Tennessee.
The ACM Special Interest Group (SIG) on Management Information Systems (MIS) promotes best-practice and research in the management of information systems and technologies in management commerce. SIGMIS is a founder of ISWorld Net at http://www.isworld.org, and a sponsor of several conferences on information systems and technology. As one of the oldest of ACM’s SIG’s, SIGMIS traces its beginnings back to 1961, and for forty years has been instrumental in defining and developing the field of management and information systems.
Researchers from the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab (CRCL) in the Computer Science Department at Morehouse College recently submitted an abstract titled, “Exploring the Needs and Preferences of Underrepresented Minority Students for an Intelligent Virtual Mentoring System” to the 2019 HCI International Conference. Their abstract was accepted as a poster for publication in the conference proceedings and presentation. The authors of this abstract are Naja A. Mack, Research Scientist; Earl W. Huff Research Scientist; Robert Cummings, Postbaccalaureate Researcher; and Dr. Kinnis Gosha, Hortenius I. Chenault Endowed Associate Professor and Director of Non-Traditional Academic Initiatives.
The HCI International 2019 is the 21st International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction. It will take place July 26th-30th at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Orlando area, Florida, USA, under the auspices of 18 distinguished international boards.
Dr. Kinnis Gosha was recently selected as the recipient of the Hortenius I. Chenault Endowed Professorship. He will hold the term appointed Chenault Endowed Professor in Mathematics and Sciences. The purpose of this professorship is to provide salary support that will allow Dr. Gosha to enhance his research at Morehouse College. Dr. Gosha’s primary research interests include expanding computer science education, broadening participation in computing, green computing, and culturally relevant computing. Undergraduate researchers in his lab, the Culturally Relevant Computing Lab, investigate research problems centered on creating innovative computing technologies to solve cultural problems and issues. Applications of his research include robotics, avatars, and video games.
Dr. Kinnis Gosha Director of the Culturally Relevant Computing lab spoke at the University of Georgia Tech’s Graphic Visualization Usability (GVU) Center’s Brown Bag Seminar. The discussion was on the topic of ways to broaden participation in computing. Dr. Gosha introduced the concept of how conversational agents such as Siri and Alexa are already doing this in everyday households. However, these agents also provide a unique opportunity to provide mentoring and advice to individuals in ways that cannot be accomplished by traditional human-to-human interactions. His presentation provided details on multiple projects (in progress and completed) that leverage various types of conversational agents to address issues in the area of broadening participation in computing.
Morehouse College and Alabama A&M University are collaborating on a research project to explore the use of chatbots to provide career mentoring for undergraduate computer science majors who are considering pursuing a graduate degree in computing (Award #1831964). The study will include participating students from ten different Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
African Americans with terminal degrees in computer science are scarce. However, HBCUs have a strong history of producing African American students who go on to get advanced degrees in computing. Research in this field will enable effective mentors in computer science to scale their best practices to a more significant percentage of undergraduate students at HBCUs.
The project will also fund the development of formal collaboration between Morehouse College and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). This groundbreaking program will allow the Principal Investigator, Dr. Kinnis Gosha, to serve as the thesis advisor for Masters students at Georgia Tech while trained as researchers at Morehouse College.
This project will investigate the barriers faced by African American students when deciding on pursuing advanced degrees in computing as well as how intelligent virtual mentors affect their decision. It will examine what the most effective way for an embodied conversational agent to interact with these specific group of students.
The findings from this study will be used to expand to other underrepresented groups to provide career mentoring for an assortment of science careers. Additionally, the conclusions of this research will help to build the research capacity at two HBCUs, Morehouse College and Alabama A&M University.