Date Posted: 5/03/2022

By Louis DiPietro

A pair of student groups based in the Ann S. Bowers College of Computing and Information Science have each received the 2022 Student Organization Award from the Cornell Engineering Alumni Association.

The Underrepresented Minorities in Computing (URMC) and Hack4Impact groups were honored during an awards dinner hosted by Cornell Engineering on Friday, April 29.

Founded in 2016 and with more than 150 members, URMC aims to promote diversity within the computing fields and foster an environment that empowers tech-minded underrepresented minorities through career development, community building, and academic support. URMC hosts numerous events throughout the semester, including faculty lunches, weekly office hours, social outings, and lectures. Company sponsors include ThoughtWorks, Jane Street, Bloomberg, Capital One, Meta, and Uber.

Cornell Hack4Impact connects student software developers with nonprofits and other socially responsible businesses to develop powerful new tools for social change. More than 25 Cornell undergraduate students so far have worked with local organizations in New York state to implement technical solutions to socially impactful problems. Partnering entities include Correctional Association of New York, Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit (TCAT), and Habitat for Humanity, among others.

“Societal problems are increasingly global in nature and cannot be solved by any one discipline,” said Aditya Vashistha, assistant professor of information science and faculty director of Hack4Impact. “The club enables students from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to come together to address ‘real’ needs of local organizations. Through the club activities, students gain rich hands-on experience, learn the challenges that organizations face when engaging underserved communities, and train to be the leaders in designing technologies for diverse communities.”