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UF Computer & information Science & Engineering Celebrates Milestone Firsts

This May, the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida will celebrate a milestone of firsts – Jessica N. Jones and France L. Jackson – are slated to be the first two African-American women to receive Ph.D.’s through the Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE). 
 
These achievements are particularly significant in the field of computer science. While diversity in STEM is growing, there continues to be a large disparity in representation of race and gender. In the Diverse Issues in Higher Education article titled Report: Stark Gender, Racial Gaps Persist in Engineering, Computer Science, author Tiffany Pennamon quotes Juan Gilbert, The Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Professor and chair of CISE. 
 
“Building a sense of community along the pipeline so that women avoid feelings of isolation in the field… is an invaluable tool to help bridge – and eventually close – that gap,” said Gilbert.
 
Jones, whose research centered on the impact of a culturally relevant and intelligent tutoring system on African-American second graders, plans to work as a civilian researcher for the U.S. Navy after graduation.
 
Jackson began her fulltime position with Intel this January, where she currently works as a User Experience Researcher. Her research is focused on socially acceptable wearable Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology, and she is working with a wearable company to see how the work can be extended past BCI to include other head-worn wearable devices.