April 27, 2022

Meet the 2022 Leaders Who Help Keep Tapia Conferences Thriving


It takes a village to make the CMD-IT/ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference possible. Taking place September 7-10, 2022 in Washington D.C., the Tapia 2022 conference will feature a variety of impactful and diverse speakers, panels, workshops, poster competitions, and Doctoral Consortiums. This National Volunteer Month, we are spotlighting the Tapia 2022 Program Leadership Team, which is instrumental in developing the conference program for our in-person Tapia 2022 conference at the Marriott Marquis and Washington Convention Center.

How Our Leadership Team Makes the Tapia Conference Shine

The Tapia Program Leadership Team coordinates program activities (proposal submissions, reviews and selections) across multiple committees to ensure a rich variety and balance of presentations across the following:

  • Tracks – Professional Development, Broadening Participation, and Technical
  • Categories – Academic, Industry/Government, Technical, Birds of a Feather

The Program Leadership Team also oversees the selection of Poster and Doctoral Consortium submissions and Scholarship applications.

Meet the Tapia 2022 Program Leadership Team

Dr. Patricia Ordóñez – General Chair

Dr. Patricia Ordóñez is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras. She was the first Latina to graduate with a Ph.D. from the College of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the first female Associate Professor to earn tenure in the Computer Science Department at the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras (UPRRP). She is passionate about creating a more inclusive culture in computing and STEM and bridging the digital and data divide in global healthcare and education.

Khalil Griffin – Program Chair

Khalil is a Software Engineer at Google, focusing on protecting vulnerable user data. In his time at Google, he has tackled challenges in preventing theft of users’ payment information and in protecting Google Accounts against hijacking. Khalil also participates in mentorship programs, training new hires, and student outreach. Prior to joining Google, he was a student at Stanford University. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. Outside of work, you can find him volunteering at his church or reading.

Dr. Valerie Nelson – Deputy Program Chair

Dr. Valerie Nelson is the Senior Data Architect at E Cyber7 Technologies, LLC. Prior to that, she served as the Deputy Technical Director of the Cryptographic Solutions Office and Applied Research Mathematician in the Cybersecurity Directorate at the National Security Agency, where she was the first black female to graduate from its Applied Mathematics Program in 2004. She is one of eight graduates of the Department of Defense’s Senior Technical Development Program’s Class of 2020, where she focused on applications of Data Science to education and training, introduced a framework for instructional escape rooms to assess student competency and teaching effectiveness, and established guidelines for machine learning implementation.

Ways to Get Involved

  • Submit workshops, panels, and Birds of a Feather (BOF) sessions, along with Posters, Doctoral consortiums, and Scholarship applications for the Call for Participation. Deadline is May 3, 2022, at 11:59 pm HST. Click here to submit.
  • Join the Tapia Conference as a Supporter. Support a cause that is committed to making a change in the lives of minorities and people with disabilities by providing them with resources and job opportunities in computing and tech. Learn more by clicking here.

We hope to see you in September. In the meantime, you can sign up for updates here.