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Rice University plans minority conferences
Two events this month to focus on sciences

Note: In this article, the dates of the conferences were reported incorrectly. CAARMS4 is June 16-19, 1998 and SC-COSMIC-ADMI98 is June 25-28, 1998.

From: Houston Chronicle, June 15, 1998
By Melanie Coffee, Staff

Rice University is preparing to host two science conferences for minorities.

The first event, the fourth annual Conference for African-American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences, is Thursday through Friday and will feature work by African-American researchers and graduate students in math.

The second conference, June 25-27, is a joint conference that includes the South-Central Computational Science in Minority Institutions Consortium and the Association of Departments of Computer and Information Science and Engineering at Minority Institutions, which evaluates the education of minorities in the field.

The university has prepared panelists from more than 25 universities, reserved more than 20 rooms and donated a lot of technical support for the upcoming event.

"These two conferences are great because they bring together large communities of under-represented students and faculty from different parts of the U.S., which is really needed in this field," said Richard Tapia, who helped organize both conferences .

The first conference, CAARMS4, is sponsored by the Center for Research on Parallel Computation and will have sessions where students and researchers across the country talk about minority participation in mathematics.

"At the CAARMS4 conference, there is going to be uplifting aspects about it," Tapia said. "We are really going to instill pride and a sense of community through this conference."

During the conference, students have opportunities to seek advice from the researchers in their field.

"It is always said that there isn't good networking among minorities in the field, but now they have the chance to do some effective networking . . . ," Tapia said.

Local students and faculty will also have the opportunity to network with other minorities in their field at the conference the following week.

That week, the South-Central Computational Science in Minority Institutions Consortium will deal with issues such as affirmative action and minorities in majority institutions that will be evaluated for a report to be issued to government and academic officials.

"This allows them to see that they are not alone, and they experience many of the same problems and frustrations that other minority students do," Tapia said.

The last two days of the second conference is the Association of Departments of Computer and Information Science and Engineering at Minority Institutions, where students and faculty will discuss the retention of minority students in computer sciences, culturally sensitive curricula, and ways to improve teaching and research environments.

"This is a great opportunity for Houston," Tapia said. "It's an example that not only do we have the diversity in our area, but we know how to take advantage of it by uniting people through these conferences "

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