In the Cornell Chronicle, Melanie Lefkowitz provides an account of the ninth session of SoNIC—Software Defined Network Interface—convened at Cornell University under the direction of Hakim Weatherspoon, founder and Associate Professor of Computer Science.
The program draws underrepresented minorities who are completing their undergraduate studies and encourages them to consider a future in computer science. As Weatherspoon, who founded the program in 2010 in collaboration with Howard University, remarks: “The word has gotten out that Cornell is the place to be if you want to get a Ph.D. in computer science, and it’s friendly to underrepresented minorities—friendly meaning not only that people are nice, but there are other people here from underrepresented backgrounds." Weatherspoon admits: “The altruistic goal is to get them into any Ph.D. program, but the selfish goal is to get them to come to Cornell.”
Lefkowitz provides orientation on the statistics, which bear out the positive effect SoNIC and similar initiatives are having on the increasing representation of minorities and woman in computer science: "In 2018, nearly 12% of Cornell’s incoming Ph.D. students in computing and information science came from underrepresented backgrounds, and 36% were women."
And the aspirations continue to the ranks of faculty as "Cornell is also partnering in the FLIP (Diversifying Future Leadership in the Professoriate) Alliance, an initiative funded by the National Science Foundation to diversify tenure-track faculty at the nation’s top schools."