photo of Craig Partridge

When the Department of Computer Science was accepted as a 2019 BRAID affiliate, we committed to increasing diversity in our program – and we are succeeding. In fact, we have so much good news to share, this entire newsletter edition is devoted to our diversity and inclusion efforts during the past year.

Our impressive department community has been breaking records, winning awards, and showing what is possible when we embrace and honor all perspectives. Considering the evolving and challenging times, we are especially proud of these accomplishments.

Enjoy reading the newsletter, and see what makes us proud to be CSU Rams.

Craig Partridge
Department Chair


photo of cs student looking at laptop monitor

The Department of Computer Science recently received a $600K gift from the Center for Inclusive Computing at Northeastern University to help recruit and retain more women in computer science programs and boost the representation of women in the field as a whole. This gift is one of the many results of our dedication to diversity and inclusion.


photo of women students at ACM-W meeting

Computer science program welcomes largest incoming class of women

The department hit a major milestone this past academic year: The incoming class included the largest percentage of female students in the department’s history. As a BRAID affiliate school, Colorado State University now has the recognition and the resources to make some big changes – altering curriculum requirements, creating supportive structures, and boosting recruitment and outreach efforts.

Elements Magazine 2019 cover

Computer science department featured on cover of Elements Magazine

We are honored to represent the College of Natural Sciences’ diversity efforts on the cover of the annual Elements Magazine. In the current issue, you can learn about our strides in diversity, our student successes, and how we are impacting the fields of cybersecurity, data science, and healthcare.

photo of Early Start week participants in August 2019

Changemakers: New key community takes on diversity in technology

A new cohort of diverse CSU undergraduates has injected fresh perspective into the field of science and technology. Thirty-eight first-year students in the Key Natural Sciences Diversity Through Technology program, all majoring in the College of Natural Sciences, spent the year living and working together to explore how computing impacts their community and the world.

photo of Josette Grinslade

Computer science grad talks coding culture with Forbes

Josette Grinslade (computer science, ‘19) talked with Forbes about how studying computer science has changed in the past three decades. Are we getting closer to better gender representation? Does the future look better for younger girls and boys coming through the ranks?


photo of four female computer science students

Meet four female students who are leading the future of computer science

CSU recently became an affiliate school with BRAID, which stands for Building, Recruiting And Inclusion for Diversity, a national program that focuses on making computer science programs more accessible to women and other underrepresented groups with data-driven strategies. Here are four students studying computer science at CSU who are leading the future of the field.

photo of Augusta irechukwu

Urban Upheaval: undergraduate awarded for gentrification project

The early signs are subtle. A new coffee shop opens around the corner, then a trendy eatery here, a yoga studio there. Soon high-end apartments sprout where working-class homes once stood. Gentrification is changing the face of urban neighborhoods, and computer science senior Augusta Irechukwu is using statistical modeling to help communities and public policy makers understand the complex process.

photo of 2019 computer science department Tapia conference attendees

We all belong: Students rack up firsts at inclusive Tapia conference

Life is full of firsts. First airplane flight. First view of the ocean. First place awards. Last fall, the department sent its first group of students ever to the annual Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing (Tapia) Conference. For three days they presented research, networked and interviewed, learned from industry experts, rubbed elbows with 2,000 participants, and stepped out of their comfort zone.

photo of Claire Goldstein

Outstanding Grad: Claire Goldstein, College of Natural Sciences

Claire Goldstein knows what it’s like to feel underrepresented and fight stereotypes in a traditionally male-dominated field. That’s why she is motivated to engage with other women in computer science and to send a message to younger counterparts: “Every industry uses computer science, so we need to build a diverse network of hard-working women coders,” Goldstein says.

photo of winning student team at NSBE hackathon

Ten-hour dash: Computer science undergrads win National Society of Black Engineers hackathon

Create a platform that will motivate and simplify voting – in only 10 hours. A team of computer science undergraduates rose to the challenge, taking first place honors in the hackNSBE competition at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) regional conference. The students’ solutions may become groundbreaking inventions that influence engineering-intensive industries.

photo of Kellyn Dassler

Computer Science student spends summer researching wearable tech

Computer science senior Kellyn Dassler both figuratively and literally spent a lot of time last summer focusing on smartwatches and other wearable tech. She is researching how data visualizations and interactions via smartwatches and smart glasses can improve education equity in middle school classrooms.

photo of computer science attendees at the 2019 Grace Hopper CelebrationDepartment hits record attendance at Grace Hopper Celebration

Last fall, the department sent a record 18 computer science students to the 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) – the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Our students joined over 24,000 participants from 94 countries for 3 days packed with keynote talks, a career fair and interview hall, a technology showcase, and over 20 tracks and sessions.

While GHC focuses on women technologists, everyone is welcome. The CSU cohort included both men and women, graduate, undergraduate, and first-generation students. They all benefited by discovering the breadth of directions available in computer science and the path to get there. Several students received employment offers on the spot.

Not only students benefited from attending the conference. Instructor Benjamin Say and academic success coordinators Kristina Brown and Elisa Cundiff networked and built over 20 company contacts to expand our internship pipeline.

Thank you to CSU, the Grace Hopper Celebration, and industry members who provided support for attendance at this premier conference designed to inspire women to transform the world of technology.


photo of Assistant Professor Nate Blanchard

Nate Blanchard

Assistant Professor Nate Blanchard’s research is in machine learning and artificial intelligence. He is evaluating machine learning models for human-like behavior and then learning how to use those evaluations to build more human-like models in return. Along with other CSU faculty, Nate is helping to grow the new Data Science program — the first program of its kind in the Rocky Mountain Region.

photo of Amanda DenstedtAmanda Denstedt

Amanda joined the department in the fall as our new accounting technician. She has been at CSU for 4 years and previously worked in industry as a field rep for Toyota. Amanda is originally from Fort Collins.

photo of Tanya RobbinsTanya Robbins

Tanya is our new administrative assistant supporting both the department and the cyber security center. When she’s not at work, Tanya loves to travel and is planning a trip to Italy next year.

As we work together to explore, invent, and achieve at the lightening-fast pace our field requires, we encourage you to stay connected with the Department of Computer Science. Thank you and enjoy!

Send your Computer Science news, events, and story ideas to lisa.knebl@colostate.edu