SIGMOBILE Broadening Participation

SIGMOBILE operates a program to broaden participation that involves several key activities: workshops designed for underrepresented groups, informal lunch meetings and mentoring, and student travel grants.

To ensure coordination and stewardship of resources, SIGMOBILE has created a broadening participation committee. With the start of the next fiscal year, the role of the committee is to:

  • Advise organizers and SIG officers on best practices regarding broadening participation
  • Prioritize broadening participation-related funding requests within a given budget
  • Develop measurable objectives for our broadening participation program and track its progress
  • Help publicize SIGMOBILE’s activities (through website, email, Twitter, for example)
  • Coordinate among the different activities and groups that SIGMOBILE sponsors

The initial committee members are Prof. Ana Aguiar (Univ. of Porto), Prof. Rajesh Balan (SMU), Prof. Katia Jaffres-Runser (IRIT), Prof. Robin Kravets (UIUC), and Dr. Thyaga Nandagopal (NSF).

SIGMOBILE periodically holds the Asian Students Symposium on Emerging Technologies (ASSET. The goal of ASSET is to empower students from developing countries and regional universities with technical writing, speaking, and presentation skills and also allow them to experience a top-tier research conference. Each ASSET participant usually prepares a short research project writeup, record a 30s elevator pitch research presentation video, and present a research poster. These artefacts were evaluated by five faculty mentors (in small groups) and the students iterated their submissions based on this feedback. The feedback from the student participants was very positive and we plan to organize more such events, particularly also to broaden our reach to other continents.

In partnership with the N2Women group, we are hosting a N2Women dinner meeting at MobiCom’19. We also continue meetings at other main conferences, often in the form of a lunch meeting and occasionally as a full day workshop. These serve as a forum for researchers from underrepresented groups to network and to discuss career questions. Meetings are organized by a graduate student under the mentorship of a senior researcher from the community. The graduate student is usually supported with a travel grant.

SIGMOBILE operates a student grant program that co-sponsors students travel costs to SIGMOBILE conferences. Conference organizers are asked to explicitly consider the goal of broadening participation when selecting travel grant awardees.

Budget permitting, SIGMOBILE also occasionally sponsors activities from partner organizations focused on broadening participation, such as the CRA-W conference.