As the General Chair for SC21, I am committed to a continuation and expansion of the work of previous chairs toward making the conference inclusive and welcoming to all. We have made strides in the inclusivity of the program through double-blind tech paper reviews, welcome sessions for first-time attendees, and making public the demographics of attendees and conference organizers.
SC21 will be pursuing several additional activities to continue our progress toward becoming a more inclusive and welcoming conference. One of the most important arose from a discussion I had with Hai Ah Nam of Los Alamos National Laboratory at SC19. Hai Ah described conversations with SC attendees who had expressed interest in volunteering at SC but didn’t have a clear path on how to make the connection to the committee.
Previously, new faces appeared in the conference organizing meetings primarily through contacts with people already involved in the conference organization. This resulted in a “who you know” culture, where we often saw new faces that looked much like the committee members who were already there. Science shows that racial equity empowers excellence in innovation across endeavors, and a diverse field of organizers can create a more welcoming conference for everyone. From SC21 on, we want to open the doors to wider participation and make volunteer selection transparent.
Specifically, for SC21, we have developed a submission form and process through which people can express their desire to participate in the organizing committee. The new volunteer page maps out the expected time commitments, role descriptions, and benefits of volunteering. Interested volunteers will identify to which committees they would like to commit time and to tell us about their qualifications. We have specifically reserved committee positions for placement through this process and will use submissions through the form to place new volunteers with the planning committee that best fits their interests and skills.
As we move toward a more diverse and inclusive SC planning committee and conference, we hope to see volunteer applications from organizations that have never provided a volunteer before, early career members of our community, people with disabilities, and individuals from underrepresented racial and gender identities. Some financial support will be available for those for whom funding presents a barrier.
As SC21 General Chair, I hope to welcome you to the committee and meet you in St. Louis!
Learn More and Apply
Applications for positions on the SC21 Planning Committee are being accepted from September 1, 2020 and will close September 30, 2020.
Learn more about becoming an SC21 planning committee volunteer and apply now!
Bronis R. de Supinski, SC21 General Chair