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** The application cycle for this program has ended.**

In spring of 2021, the Computing Research Association (CRA) and the Computing Community Consortium (CCC), with strong support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), announced a new Computing Innovation Fellows (CIFellows) cohort for 2021. As before, this program aids recent and soon-to-be PhD computing graduates whose job search was hampered by the continued disruption COVID-19 has had on academic job hiring practices and the economy. 

Modeled after CRA/CCC’s NSF-funded Computing Innovation Fellows Programs with cohorts starting 2009, 2010, and 2011 and CRA’s Best Practices Memo on Computer Science Postdocs and the Computing Innovation Fellows 2020 Project this program offers two-year postdoctoral opportunities in computing, with cohort activities to support career development and community building.

We received 238 applications covering a wide variety of research areas and over 108 universities. Over 100 members of the computing community came out to support the program as reviewers. The 2021 class of CIFellows is comprised of 69 diverse researchers covering a broad range of areas in computing. The cohort is 52% women, come from 49 universities, and will be beginning their CIFellowships at 48 different universities. You can find out more about each CIFellow here.

Leadership Team

Andrew Bernat

Andrew Bernat was a founding member and chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of Texas at El Paso (spending 20 years there), NSF Program Director and is currently the Executive Director of the Computing Research Association, whose mission is to strengthen research and education in the computing fields, expand opportunities for women and minorities, and improve public and policymaker understanding of the importance of computing and computing research in our society. In recognition of “… his success in creating arguably the strongest computer science department at a minority-serving institution …”, the Computing Research Association honored him with the 1997 A. Nico Habermann Award and he is a AAAS Fellow. He has some 65 publications and (pre-CRA) over $5,000,000 in external funding.

Elizabeth Bradley

Liz Bradley holds the SB, SM, and PhD degrees from MIT. She has been with the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado since 1993 and is currently the Chair of the Computing Research Association’s Computing Community Consortium (CCC). Her research interests include nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear time-series analysis.  She is a member of the external faculty of the Santa Fe Institute and the recipient of a National Young Investigator award, Packard and Radcliffe Fellowships, and the University of Colorado system’s highest teaching award.

Randal Bryant

Randal E. Bryant is the Founders University Professor of Computer Science Emeritus at Carnegie Mellon University.  He served on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon from 1984 to 2020, starting as an Assistant Professor and progressing to the rank of University Professor of Computer Science.  He also held a courtesy appointment in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department.  He served as Dean of the School of Computer Science from 2004 to 2014.  Upon his retirement in 2020, he was awarded the SCS Founders Chair, and he remains active in university and professional service, as well as research and writing.

Ken Calvert

Ken Calvert is Gartner Group Professor in Network Engineering at the University of Kentucky, where his research deals with the design and implementation of advanced network protocols and services. From May 2016 through December 2019 he served on assignment at the National Science Foundation as Division Director for Computer and Network Systems in the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Directorate at the National Science Foundation. Previously he was a faculty member at Georgia Tech and a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories in Holmdel, NJ. He is a member of the ACM and a Fellow of the IEEE.

Ann Schwartz Drobnis

Dr. Ann Schwartz Drobnis is the Director of the Computing Community Consortium. Most recently, she was an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow at the National Science Foundation working on education and workforce development issues for the CISE Directorate. Ann spent most of her time working on the CS10K Project, whose goal is to get academically rigorous computer science courses into 10,000 high schools by 2016. This is a much needed effort to create the research and workforce pipeline that our field so desperately needs. Prior to her time at NSF, she taught high school computer science and math at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She has a passion for broadening participation in computing, as her doctoral research was focused on ways to bring more females into the field.

Ellen Zegura

Ellen Zegura is Regents’ Professor and Fleming Endowed Chair holder in the School of Computer Science at Georgia Tech. She works in two primary areas, computer networking and computing for social good. In computer networking, she is known for her work on the GT-ITM suite of Internet topology tools, which remain in use 20 years after release. In mobile wireless networking, she and colleagues invented the concept of message ferries to facilitate communications in environments where network connectivity is unreliable and/or sparse. Her work in computing and social good includes work in Liberia, with Native Americans in Southern California, and with residents of the Westside of Atlanta. She is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the ACM, and an elected member of the Computing Research Association Board (CRA). Since Fall 2014 she has been on the Executive Board of the CRA.

Cohort Building Committee

Aruna Balasubramanian

Aruna Balasubramanian is an Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University. She was a CI Fellow, part of the 2011 cohort, and did her Postdoctoral Research at the University of Washington. Aruna works in the areas of mobile systems and networking. She has recently been working on a diverse range of topics including improving Web access in developing regions, improving accessibility, and making mobile applications better with respect to user-facing metrics. Aruna is a recipient of a Mid-Career Faculty Diversity Award at Stony Brook University, the N2Women Rising Stars Award, a VMWare faculty early career award, a Google Research Award, a Best Paper Award at UbiComp, and the Applied Networking Research Prize. Her dissertation won the UMass Outstanding Dissertation Award and was the SIGCOMM Outstanding Dissertation Award runner up. 

Ifeoma Nwogu

Ifeoma Nwogu is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology, since January 2017. Before that she was a Research Scientist at the Center for Unified Biometrics and Sensors (CUBS) and the Center of Excellence for Document Analysis and Recognition (CEDAR), from October 2011 till September 2016. (CCC).  Ifeoma completed her PhD in 2009 at the Computer Science and Engineering department at the University at Buffalo, SUNY (UB) as an NSF IGERT Fellow and was an NSF-sponsored Computing Innovation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Computer Science department at the University of Rochester, working with Dr. Chris Brown in Computer Vision. Before that, she completed her master’s degree in Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania and her Electrical Engineering undergraduate degree at the University of Lagos, Nigeria.

Brian Scassellati
Brian Scassellati, Brian Scassellati is the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Computer Science, Cognitive Science, and Mechanical Engineering at Yale University. His research focuses on understanding how humans and robots interact with each other, using methods from artificial intelligence to build smarter and more interactive machines as well as methods from psychology to understand how robots reveal our uniquely human social capabilities. He and his students have worked to build socially assistive robots that help children with autism spectrum disorder learn social skills, collaborative manufacturing robots that work side-by-side with people to help with everyday tasks, and humanoid robots that help us understand why we treat some robots as objects and other robots like people.

Scassellati received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001. He currently serves on the Executive Council of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI). He has been the chair or program chair for the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, and the IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning.

Bobby Schnabel
Bobby Schnabel is Professor of Computer Science, external chair of the department (including strategic planning, tech community and alumni relations, and faculty mentoring), College of Engineering and Applied Science Faculty Director for Entrepreneurship, and Campus Thought-Leader on Computing.  Previously he was CEO of ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) from 2015-17, Dean of the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University from 2007-2015, and on the Computer Science faculty at University of Colorado Boulder from 1977-2007.   At CU Boulder he also was CS department chair from 1990-95, CEAS associate dean for academic affairs from 1995-97, founding director of the ATLAS Institute from 1997-2007, and vice provost for academic and campus computing and campus Chief Information Officer from 1998-2007.  He is a co-founder of the National Center for Women & Information Technology and continues to serve on the NCWIT executive team.

Steering Committee

Cindy Bethel

Cindy L. Bethel, (IEEE and ACM Senior Member) is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Mississippi State University (MSU). She is the Director of the Social, Therapeutic, and Robotic Systems (STaRS) lab and a Research Fellow with the MSU Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems Human Performance Group and the Social Science Research Center. Dr. Bethel is the Chair of an interdisciplinary Robotic Systems Working group, a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers, a recipient of the 2014-2015 ASEE New Faculty Research Award for Teaching. She was awarded Fellowships as a NSF/CRA/CCC Computing Innovation Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and the 2008 IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Graduate Fellowship. She graduated in August 2009 with her Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of South Florida. Her research interests include human-robot interaction, human-computer interaction, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Anita Jones

Anita Jones is University Professor Emerita at the University of Virginia.  She is a founder of the Computing Community Consortium(CCC).  After the completion of the first Computing Innovation Fellows program, she led a CCC research effort to establish best practices for the support of computer science postdocs.  Jones served as Director of Defense Research and Engineering, overseeing the DoD science and technology program, including its research laboratories and DARPA. She was Vice Chair of the National Science Board and a member of the governing council of theNational Academy of Engineering (NAE).  Jones was awarded the IEEE Founders’ Medal, the Ada Lovelace Award by the Association of Women in Computing, the Arthur M. Bueche Award by the NAE, and the Philip Abelson Award by the AAAS.  The U.S. Navy named a seamount in the North Pacific (51º 25’ N  159º 10’ W) for her.

Stefan Savage

Stefan Savage is a professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington and a B.S. in Applied History from Carnegie Mellon University. Savage is a full-time empiricist, whose research interests lie at the intersection of computer security, distributedsystems and networking. He currently serves as co-director of UCSD’s Center for Network Systems (CNS) and for the Center for Evidence based Security Research (CESR). Savage is a MacArthur Fellow, a Sloan Fellow, an ACM Fellow, and is a recipient of the ACM Prize in Computing and the ACM SIGOPS Weiser Award.

Selection Committee

Emery Berger

Emery Berger is a Professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research interests span programming languages, systems, security, and human-computer interaction. Research from his group influenced the development of the Rust and Swift programming languages, analysis tools deployed in Google’s Android SDK, and memory managers deployed in both Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. His honors include an NSF CAREER Award, three Most Influential Paper Awards (OOPSLA, PLDI, and ASPLOS) and five papers selected as CACM Research Highlights. Professor Berger is currently serving as the co-Program Chair for ASPLOS 2021 and in his second term as an elected member of the SIGPLAN Executive Committee. He also developed and maintains the website. He received an MS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin and was a Microsoft Research PhD Fellow. He is a Fellow of the ACM.

Azer Bestavros

Azer Bestavros is the Inaugural Associate Provost for Computing and Data Sciences at Boston University and the William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor in the Computer Science Department, which he joined in 1991 and chaired from 2000 to 2007. Prior to his appointment in 2019 to lead the Faculty of Computing & Data Sciences, he was the Founding Director of the Hariri Institute for Computing. His currently active projects are focused on design, development, and real-world deployment of Scalable Secure Multi-Party Computation in support of privacy-preserving analytics.

Azer held visiting appointments at Harvard University, Institut Eurecom in Sophia Antipolis (France), Deutsche Telekom in Berlin (Germany), Telefonica Research in Barcelona (Spain), KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden), American University in Cairo (Egypt), and American University in Beirut (Lebanon). He obtained his B.Sc. (1984) and M.Sc. (1987) in Computer Science from Alexandria University, and his A.M. (1988) and PhD (1992) in Computer Science from Harvard University.

Marie desJardins

Dr. Marie desJardins is the Dean of the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences. Prior to joining Simmons, Dr. desJardins served as Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s College of Engineering and Information Technology. Her research is in artificial intelligence, focusing on the areas of machine learning, multi-agent systems, planning, interactive AI techniques, information management, reasoning with uncertainty, and decision theory. Dr. desJardins is a AAAI Fellow and recipient of the EAAI/AAAI Outstanding Educator Award, UC Berkeley Distinguished Alumni Award in Computer Science, A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award,  NCWIT and CRA Undergraduate Research Mentoring Awards, and UMBC Distinguished Teaching Professor. 

Jessica Hodgins

Jessica Hodgins is the Allen Newell University Professor in the Robotics Institute and Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. Since 2019, she has been part-time at Facebook building a new research lab in Pittsburgh for Facebook AI Research. From 2008-2016, she founded and ran research labs for Disney, rising to VP of Research. Prior to moving to Carnegie Mellon in 2000, she was an Associate Professor and Assistant Dean in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology. She received her Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University. Her research focuses on computer graphics, animation, and robotics with an emphasis on generating and analyzing human motion. She has received a NSF Young Investigator Award, a Packard Fellowship, and a Sloan Fellowship. She was an elected director at large on the ACM SIGGRAPH Executive Committee from 2012-2017 and served as ACM SIGGRAPH President from 2017-2020. In 2010, she was awarded the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award and in 2017 she was awarded the Steven Anson Coons Award for Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics.

Ben Kuipers

Benjamin Kuipers is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Michigan. He was previously an endowed Professor in Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as Department Chair. He received his B.A. from Swarthmore College, his Ph.D. from MIT, and he is a Fellow of AAAI, IEEE, and AAAS. His research in artificial intelligence and robotics focuses on the representation, learning, and use of foundational domains of knowledge, including knowledge of space, dynamical change, objects, and actions. He is currently investigating ethics as a foundational domain of knowledge for robots and other AIs that may act as members of human society.


Daniel Lopresti

Dan Lopresti is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Lehigh University. He received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth in 1982 and his Ph.D. in computer science from Princeton in 1987. After completing his doctorate, he joined the Department of Computer Science at Brown and taught courses ranging from VLSI design to computational aspects of molecular biology and conducted research in parallel computing and VLSI CAD. He went on to help found the Matsushita Information Technology Laboratory in Princeton, and later also served on the research staff at Bell Labs, Murray Hill where his work turned to document analysis, handwriting recognition, and biometric security. In 2003, Lopresti joined Lehigh where his research examines fundamental algorithmic and systems-related questions in pattern recognition, document analysis, bioinformatics, and computer security. He has also held various service roles at Lehigh, including Chair of the CSE Department, Interim Dean of the P. C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, and Director of the Data X strategic initiative. Lopresti is the Vice Chair of the CCC Council.

Ray Mooney

Ray Mooney is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Texas Austin and Director of the UT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Mooney leads the Machine Learning Research Group at the laboratory currently focusing on natural language processing / computational linguistics. Additional Areas of interest are Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, and Data Mining and Machine Learning. Mooney received his PhD in Computer Science in 1987at the the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana where he also earned a M.S. in Computer Science and a B.S. in Computer Engineering.  He is a Fellow of ACM, AAAI, and ACL.

Sean Munson

Sean A. Munson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) and adjunct faculty in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. Working primarily on challenges of health, wellbeing, and exposure to diverse information, Munson designs and evaluates techniques for helping people make sense of data about themselves and the world around them. Munson directs the HCDE PhD program, chairs the HCI+D Interdisciplinary Faculty Group, is a member of the DUB group, and is methods co-director for the UW ALACRITY Center. He received a National Science Foundation Early Career Award, a UW College of Engineering Teaching Award (2015) and a College of Engineering Junior Faculty Award (2017). Munson received his PhD in 2012 at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, was an Intel PhD Fellow and completed his BS in Engineering with a concentration in Systems Design at Olin College in 2006. 

Jelani Nelson

Jelani Nelson is a Professor of EECS at UC Berkeley as a member of the Theory Group. Prior to UC Berkeley he held positions at Harvard as an Associate Professor of Computer Science, John L. Loeb Associate Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Assistant Professor of Computer Science. He has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study and held postdoc positions at Princeton University and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. He received his Ph.D. in 2011 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he also received an M.Eng. degree in Computer Science, and S.B. degrees in Mathematics and in Computer Science.

Katie Siek

Katie Siek is a professor and chair in Informatics at Indiana University. Her primary research interests are in human computer interaction, health informatics, and ubiquitous computing. More specifically, she is interested in how sociotechnical interventions affect personal health and well being. Her research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Science Foundation including a five-year NSF CAREER award.  She has been awarded an NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award (2019), a CRA-W Borg Early Career Award (2012), and Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance Distinguished Visiting Fellowships (2010 & 2015). She earned her PhD and MS in computer science at Indiana University as a National Physical Science Consortium Fellow and a BS in computer science at Eckerd College as a Ford Apprentice Scholar.

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