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Group of computer science and engineering students and two professors with thumbs up sign. Students in the middle hold maroon banner with department name and university logo on it. They are in conference room with red carpet with yellow polka dots.

Twenty-five students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University attended the 2017 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. The three-day event, held in Atlanta, Georgia Sept. 20-23, is dedicated to providing a space of collaboration for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, researchers and professionals in computing.

This year’s theme “Diversity: Simply Smarter!” was a reminder that with a diverse set of perspectives, experiences and people comes greater outcomes.

“The Tapia Conference has been an incredibly insightful experience for me as a computer science major,” said graduating senior, Brian Ta. “A big part of the conference is celebrating the notion of diversity -- something that we cannot take for granted in a growing population. I had the opportunity to speak to students, faculty and employers from different parts of the world and listen to unique perspectives on how they got into the field of computing. One of the memorable experiences I had from the conference was listening in on the various workshops, lectures and speeches given by wonderful engineers from different companies, such as ESPN, General Electric, Google and much more. This was my first time going to this conference and I would love to go again if I had the chance.”

The goal of the event is to celebrate the diversity that exists in computing; connect with others with common backgrounds, ethnicities, disabilities and gender so as to create communities that extend beyond the conference; obtain advice from and make contacts with computing leaders in academia and industry; and be inspired by great presentations and conversations with leaders with common backgrounds.

The computer science and engineering department has been a long-time supporter of the annual conference. The Tapia Conferences are sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery, presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology and are in cooperation with the Computing Research Association.