Tuesday, July 31, 2018
Manuel Pérez-Quiñones recognized for expanding opportunities for underrepresented students

Manuel Pérez-Quiñones, associate dean of the College of Computing and Informatics (CCI), recently received the Nico Habermann Award, presented at the Computer Research Association conference.

The award is given in honor of the late Nico Habermann who headed NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate and who was deeply committed to increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities in computing research.

Pérez-Quiñones was nominated by a former Virginia Tech colleague, Barbara Ryder, who noted the CCI professor’s “passion about inclusion has driven his leadership of campus, state and nationwide efforts to diversify computing. He has made concrete, disseminated contributions to diversity education at the high school and college levels. He personally 'walks the talk' at conferences, panels and in the classroom. I am proud that our computing profession has such an able, organized and determined advocate for diversity and inclusion." 

For Pérez-Quiñones, he said the Habermann Award “means that my efforts are being recognized for making a difference. My work in encouraging participation from underrepresented groups is work that is done in the interest of serving others and with the goal of opening doors to people who might not get similar opportunities or don't see themselves in our community (computing). It is an affirmation that this work is important.”

His history of diversity leadership through professional service is extensive. Pérez-Quiñones founded and contributed to the Virginia Latino Higher Education Network (VALHEN), the UNC Charlotte CCI Corporate Mentoring Program for Women in Computing, the Tapia Conference (program co-chair in 2009 and 2014), CRA-W Collaborative Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CREU, co-chair from 2006-10), CRA Center for Evaluating the Research Pipeline (CERP, advisory board from 2014-15) and the Hispanic mailing list that supports Hispanic Ph.D. students and faculty.

Pérez-Quiñones is proud of CCI’s relatively diverse student population, but his work will continue as the college seeks to be defined as a place of inclusion and opportunity for computer science students from underrepresented populations.

"Increasing representation of women and students from underrepresented groups is one of the strategic goals of our college," he said.

The CRA conference is the flagship invitation-only event for the leadership of the North American computing research community.

Read the entire story on the CCI website.