Broadening Participation in Computing by Opening New Pathways to Undergraduate and Graduate Study

Catherine Gill

Event details

Wednesday 24 May 2023


Speaker: Catherine Gill, Executive Director, Center for Inclusive Computing, Northeastern University (USA)

Abstract: For the last two decades professors, non-profits, philanthropists, and national agencies have been working to broaden participation in computing (BPC) in higher-ed.  Progress has been made, but often it is incremental and takes place in small pockets. At the same time, booming enrollments, college budget models, and other institutional factors frequently stand in the way of implementing systemic changes and work at cross purposes to BPC efforts. 

Launched in 2019 with funding from Pivotal Ventures LLC, a company created by Melinda French Gates, the Center for Inclusive Computing (CIC), housed at Northeastern University, is working in partnership with colleges and universities across the country to increase the representation of women – of all races and ethnicities – in computing. A key focus is to identify and remove institutional barriers and create new pathways to study at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Bio: Catherine is the executive director for Northeastern’s Center for Inclusive Computing (CIC), where she oversees strategy, programs, partnerships and fundraising. The CIC’s mission is to materially increase the representation of women of all races and ethnicities earning degrees in computing. Prior to this role, Catherine held the positions of associate dean for strategic partnerships and managing director of the Align Program. Align, a Master’s in computer science specifically designed for individuals who did not study computing as undergraduates, is offered at seven Northeastern campuses and has an enrollment of close to 1,500 students. Catherine is also a lecturer at Northeastern’s D’Amore McKim School of Business where she teaches on social innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Before Northeastern, Catherine was executive vice president at Root Capital, a social enterprise that provides financing to agricultural businesses in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, and where she helped launch the Women in Agriculture Initiative.

Catherine holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de la Empresa (IESE) in Barcelona, Spain, and a B.A. in ancient Greek from Wellesley College. She is the board chair of the Criterion Institute, a think tank that uses finance as a tool for social change.


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