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Program Overview

With support from Google Research, the SolarSPELL initiative is excited to host our first exploreCSR (computer science research) workshop. This workshop is a broadening participation initiative during which we hope to engage students underrepresented in computer science with the SolarSPELL initiative to demonstrate how to use ‘computing for good’.

The conference will be held in a virtual format on Friday, March 19th, 2021 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m, and Saturday, March 20th 2021 from 9:00 am to 5:15 pm. On Friday, students will learn about the computer science-related challenges that the SolarSPELL initiative faces, and form small teams to brainstorm solutions for these challenges. On Saturday, students will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions to the SolarSPELL staff. Thanks to Google Research support, SolarSPELL will be able to offer a limited number of paid summer 2021 internships, designed for workshop participants to develop and implement their proposed solutions.

A primary goal of this workshop is to introduce students to the possibility of furthering their education in computer science. To that end, Saturday’s schedule features representatives from three ASU graduate programs and two industry professionals from Google Research. See their bios below to learn more and to register for the event!


*Note: Register with your ASU email address in order to access the form.

Dr. Chitta Baral

Program chair, Computer Science

Chitta Baral is a professor in the School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University. He is also the chair of the graduate program in computer science.

Baral joined ASU in 1999 as an associate professor, becoming a professor in 2002. Prior to ASU, he served as an assistant and associate professor with the University of Texas at El Paso (Sept 1991 - August 1999). His expertise includes bioinformatics knowledge representation, reasoning and declarative problem solving, and a systematic approach to designing and analyzing autonomous agents.

Dr. Katina Michael

Program Chair, Public Interest Technology

Katina Michael is a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering at Arizona State University.

Previously Michael was associate dean international at the University of Wollongong (UOW), Australia, where she was employed in the School of Computing and Information Technology since 2002. She has held visiting academic appointments at Nanjing University (China) and the University of Southampton (U.K.) and has taught at the Singapore Institute of Management, as well as overseeing UOW engineering and information science courses in eight campuses in five countries.

She was previously employed as a senior network engineer at Nortel Networks (1996–2001). She has also worked as a systems analyst at Andersen Consulting (1996) and OTIS Elevator Company (1994).

She researches predominantly in the area of emerging technologies, and has secondary interests in technologies used for national security and their corresponding social implications.

Dr. Mary Jane Parmentier

Program Chair, Global Technology and Development

Mary Jane C. Parmentier is a clinical associate professor in the School for the Future of Innovation and Society at Arizona State University. From 1986-1988, Professor Parmentier served as a Peace Corps volunteer near Marrakesh, Morocco, teaching high school English. Since her appointment at Arizona State University in 1999, her research and curriculum development have focused on the role of technology in economic, social and political development, and the regions of North Africa and Latin American development, and she is a founding faculty member of the M.S. in Global Technology and Development. She is also a senior sustainability scientist with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. She is proficient in spoken and written Spanish and French, and is conversant in Moroccan Arabic.

With a significant focus on education, Professor Parmentier designs and teaches courses in Latin American and Middle Eastern politics and development, technology and international politics, and international development.She believes strongly in international education, and the value of questioning assumptions and cultural perspectives, and has led students on study abroad trips to Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Latin America in this endeavor. To constantly innovate and improve university teaching is also a prime goal, including the development of methodologies and techniques to enhance the online learning environment.

Christine Kingsley

Compute Resource Planner for Google Research

Christine is a Bay Area Native from a small city between San Francisco and Sacramento. She earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Physics and Native American Studies from UC Berkeley and started her career at Pacfic Bell (now AT&T) shortly after graduating. Christine spent 16 years at AT&T as an Engineer, Project Manager, and Network Engineer on National Staff. While working full time and raising two daughters, she obtained her Masters in Information Technology Management from University of Maryland University College, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, and her Six Sigma Lean certification. Christine came to Google in 2016 as the Engineering Manager for Google Fiber in San Jose and spent 3 years in Google Display Ads Infrastructure as a Compute Resource Planning Program Manager. She is currently a Compute Resource Planner for Google Research and is responsible for managing compute resources for half of the organization!

Christine has a passion for inspiring female identifying students and adults to get involved in STEM. She is currently planning, as co-Lead, the annual She's So STEM event at Google (2021 TBD). Christine is also an active member in the Filipino Googler Network. Other notable volunteer roles include: Global PgM for The Coffee Club - a 6 month mentoring program for women at Google, Girls in Future Technologies (GIFT) Day recurring speaker, Cal Alumni Association Scholarship Application Reviewer & Interviewer, Wish Connection Wish Lead, and Women of AT&T STEM Outreach Director.

Erin Buehler

Erin Buehler

Senior User Experience Researcher, Central Accessibility Org, Google

Erin leads foundational research on cognitive accessibility for the Central Accessibility Org at Google. Previously, Erin worked on accessible user experiences at Facebook and completed her dissertation on access to technology for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her prior work spans do-it-yourself assistive technology with 3D-printers, representation and inclusion in technology hobbyist communities, and the accessibility of education technology for people with disabilities. She serves on the technical advisory board for the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities and volunteers on multiple academic conference committees.

Erin has a PhD and MS in human-centered computing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science from Eastern Washington University, where she graduated with honors.


Undergraduate students at Arizona State University enrolled in a computer science degree or interested in pursuing computer science are encouraged to apply. This is a broadening participation initiative, so students from backgrounds underrepresented in computer science (including, but not limited to: racial and ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQIA individuals, first-generation students, and individuals with disabilities) are encouraged to apply. If you have questions about your participation, please contact the SolarSPELL team. If you have any concerns or accommodations for your participation in the event, please contact the SolarSPELL team. You can contact us at [email protected]

Apply now!