Ph.D. student profile: Mina Tari
When you meet someone who doesn’t know about your research, how do you describe it?
I focus on understanding and improving women of color's experiences in introductory computing courses, using a critical feminist approach. That means I like talking to students to understand exactly what is going great and not so great in their courses, how their identity and history affects these experiences, and then I have them design the solutions! I also focus on the role of undergraduate teaching assistants and how they can increase inclusion in the classroom.
Who is the faculty member working closest with you? What are you learning from them?
I work closest with Hala Annabi. From her, I'm learning how to balance the idealism of changing the whole world with the pragmatism in how to actually get it done. I'm also learning how to write clearly and concisely while not holding back any punches. Finally (and most importantly), I'm learning where she hides all the best snacks in her office.
Why are you interested in this subject?
I did my undergraduate in Informatics and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, so I had the best of both worlds in learning what the possibilities of technology could bring through a very collaborative environment, as well as the language to explain why not all computing education was like that.
What impact do you hope to make in the information field through your research/dissertation?
I hope to create a clear understanding of how different identity characteristics affect one's experiences in computing and what actionable steps we can take to shift the structures of the field to be more inclusive, interesting, and fun!
What surprised you the most when digging into your research?
Contrary to popular belief, undergraduate students in computing, especially marginalized students, care a lot about their experiences and they’re full of excitement, anger, and motivation to improve their classes!
What are your career goals once you graduate?
I intend to stay in academia or pursue research-based industry positions focused on improving computing higher education.