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Research Newswire

2022 Research Week at NC State: How to Broaden the Impacts of Your Work and More Highlights from the Event

Students work on a project in the Hunt Library immersion studio.

What grand challenges can your research help solve? 

That’s the question Tiffany Barnes, a distinguished professor of computer science at NC State and founding co-director of the STARS Computing Corps, asked attendees to consider at the start of her keynote presentation, which kicked off the university’s third annual Research Week, hosted by the Office of Research and Innovation from Oct. 17-20.

Barnes’ presentation highlighted how she’s leveraged STARS — which is funded by the National Science Foundation through its Broadening Participation in Computing Alliance program — to bring computer science education to teachers, schools and students nationwide. STARS has engaged over 2600 students and 100 faculty across the U.S. in efforts to broaden participation in computing.

Barnes said the grand challenge her work has always sought to address is the underrepresentation of women, Black and Hispanic people, and those with disabilities in the field of computing.

“This is a systemic societal problem that we don’t have a majority of our population engaging in the most powerful, interesting, and exciting tools and technologies available,” Barnes said in the presentation.

The disparities are particularly stark among students seeking degrees in computer science, Barnes said, where women account for only 21% and Black and Hispanic people account for merely 4% and 9%, respectively, which is less than half of the percentage each of these groups makes up in the U.S. population.

According to its website, STARS aims to increase computing persistence and promote career advancement for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty — with a focus on addressing systemic and social barriers faced by those from underrepresented groups in computing.

Barnes said STARS, founded in 2006, has been able to recruit students in numbers that nearly match or even exceed their representation in the general U.S. population; 47% of computer science students in the program are women, 9% are Hispanic and 38% are Black.

Barnes’ presentation explains the core design features of the STARS — along with several best practices that can be applied to any field of study seeking broader participation from more diverse populations.

Day 1 of 2022 Research Week at NC State kicked off with a welcome from Vice Chancellor for Research Mladen Vouk, followed by a keynote presentation from Tiffany Barnes, distinguished professor of computer science at NC State and founding co-director of the STARS Computing Corps.

Other Research Week Events

2022 Research Week at NC State also included three other presentations specially developed for the NC State research community. 

Tuesday, Oct. 18, featured a panel discussion about the National Institutes of Health’s new data management and sharing policy, which goes into effect for any applications due January 2023 and beyond. On Wednesday, the Proposal Development Unit held a session on how to spot issues in the application stage of a research project in order to pave the way for smoother collaboration down the road. Guest speakers Tolise Dailey, from Duke University, and Tricia Callahan, from Emory University, capped things off Thursday afternoon with a webinar for research administrators, “Connecting People to Purpose: The Impacts of Research Administrators on Society.”

To learn more about this year’s Research Week, visit