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Charlotte Professor Joins Elite Computing Board, Aims to Boost Diversity

In a significant move for diversity and inclusion within the computing industry, Manuel Pérez Quiñones, a distinguished professor from the University of North Carolina Charlotte, has been elected to the prestigious Computing Research Association (CRA) Board of Directors. This notable organization is at the forefront of computing research and policy in the United States, advocating for advancements and equitable participation within the field.

Pérez Quiñones, a seasoned member of the CRA, brings a wealth of experience from his involvement in several critical committees within the organization, including his pivotal role as the former chair of a committee focused on widening participation in computing research. His election marks a continued commitment to enhancing diversity across the computing sector.

“As a member of an underrepresented group in computing, I feel like I’m entering a room where few people like me have entered before,” Pérez Quiñones shared, highlighting the significance of his appointment. “Not in a million years would I have imagined this. It feels very special, because historically I have not seen people like me in those positions.”

Pérez Quiñones’s advocacy for inclusivity in computing isn’t new. With his rich background in human-computer interaction and computer science education research, the Latino and Puerto Rican professor is poised to leverage his unique insights and experiences to foster a more inclusive and equitable computing industry.

The CRA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., collaborates with over 250 organizations across North America, including academic departments, research centers, and professional societies, to promote computing research and policy. The organization plays a crucial role in expanding computer science research funding and runs various mentoring and outreach programs, in partnership with entities like the National Science Foundation.

Starting July 1, Pérez Quiñones, along with other newly elected and re-elected board members, will embark on a three-year term to guide the CRA in its mission to enhance the computing research landscape.

Before his tenure at UNC Charlotte, which began in 2015, Pérez Quiñones made significant contributions at Virginia Tech University, the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, and had stints as a visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and Northeastern University. His impressive academic journey also includes a program officer role at the National Science Foundation, coupled with his early career as a computer scientist at the federal Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.

Bojan Cukic, dean of the College of Computing and Informatics at UNC Charlotte, expressed immense pride in Pérez Quiñones’s achievement. “Manuel represents the best of CCI and our University. His tireless efforts towards equitable participation of women and underrepresented minorities in computing and thoughtful mentorship have influenced many, not only at UNC Charlotte but across the world of computing.”

Pérez Quiñones’s election to the CRA Board of Directors signals a promising step forward in the pursuit of diversity and inclusion within the computing research community, reinforcing the belief that a more diverse industry leads to richer, more innovative outcomes.

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