CHICAGO, Aug. 08, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology (CMD-IT) announced the winner of The Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing is Ayanna Howard, the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Richard A. Tapia Award is awarded annually to an individual who demonstrates significant research leadership and strong commitment and contributions to diversifying computing.

“Ayanna Howard has been a leading innovator and researcher in the fields of robotics, computer vision, and artificial intelligence,” said Valerie Taylor, CMD-IT CEO and President. “Applications of her work have included the development of assistive robots in the home, therapy gaming apps and remote exploration of extreme environments. Throughout her career she has focused on bringing girls, underrepresented minorities, and people with disabilities into computing through programs related to robotics. Ayanna’s focus on engaging people with disabilities resulted in the creation of Zyrobotics, LLC., which provides inclusive mobile technologies that make learning accessible.”

The Richard A. Tapia award will be presented at the 2018 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference. Themed “Diversity: Roots of Innovation,” the Tapia Conference will be held September 19-22, in Orlando, Florida. The Tapia Conference is the premier venue to bring together students, faculty, researchers and professionals from all backgrounds and ethnicities in computing to promote and celebrate diversity in computing. The Tapia Conference is sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT).

The Tapia Conference Platinum Sponsors include, Caltech, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell Computing and Information Science, Cornell Tech, Georgia Tech, LinkedIn, Microsoft, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Mozilla, NC State University, Rice University, Stanford Engineering, Two Sigma, UC Berkeley and University of Michigan. Platinum Government Supporters include the National Science Foundation. Gold Government Supporters include Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratory. Gold Sponsors include Google, IBM, Kennesaw State University, MIT EECS, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Texas A&M, University of California San Diego, University of Illinois, University of South Florida, USC Viterbi School of Engineering, and Virginia Tech.

For more information and to register for the Tapia Conference, visit

About CMD-IT

The vision of CMD-IT is to contribute to the national need for an effective workforce in computing and IT through inclusive programs and initiatives focused on minorities and people with disabilities. CMD-IT’s vision is accomplished through its mission to ensure that underrepresented groups are fully engaged in computing and IT, and to promote innovation that enriches, enhances and enables underrepresented communities. For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Jerri Barrett,, 408-204-7229