UCL Computer Science


UCL Computer Science Student EDI Award winners announced

14 July 2022

19 students were recognised for their outstanding achievements in promoting or enhancing equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) across the department.

5 hands of people from different backgrounds

There were a total of 22 nominations across 5 categories with 19 winners, which highlighted the incredible EDI activity going on outside of the committee and working groups.

The winners

Top three EDI activities for BSc students:

  1. Siam Islam: Developing outreach tools for schools, multi-touch-in-air on low-cost hardware
  2. Fawziyah Hussain: Developing outreach tools for schools, digital in-air inking on low-cost screens as digital whiteboards
  3. Ernest Nkansah-Badu: Developing outreach materials for schools, planetary simulation system

Top three EDI activities for MEng students:

  1. Sree Sanakkayala: Supporting with departmental EDI activity alongside the Student Society (race equality week event panel member, promoting EDI events and supporting with the faculty mentoring initiative)   
  2. Samuel Emilolorun: Developing an accessibility speech recognition tool
  3. Karunya Selvaratnam: Developing teaching tools to assist children’s reading

Top three EDI activities for MSc students:

  1. Emeralda Sesari: Exploring the fairness of pre-trained word embedding models by using multiple bias metrics in research

Top three EDI activities for PhD students:

  1. Sophie Martin: Proactive member of the Race Equality Working group, supporting events and leading on activity, participating in the 10 mins chat YouTube series and carrying out schools outreach work in East London
  2. Maryam Bandukda: Organising "multi-sensory art with blind and partially sighted people workshops" in East London
  3. Lachlan McPheat: LGBTQ+ advocate, raising visibility of queer computer scientists, delivered a talk at the LGBTQ+ STEM conference and had an EDI focus on research looking at language models. 

Runners up

  1. Roxana Ramirez Herrera: Organising schools outreach with the GDI Hub with a focus on accessibility 
  2. Niamh Healy: Co-chair of international network of individuals and organisations committed to combating racism and discrimination within the peace and security sector
  3. Max Hort: Carrying out high-quality and innovative research to evaluate and improve the fairness of machine learning models with regards to gender, racial and age bias

Top three EDI group activities:

  1. Joint first: Mar Estarellas and Beatrice Taylor: creating the "10 minutes chat" YouTube series and 

Siqi Zhu and Jade Hartley: supporting Athena Swan by organising gender equality themed events (quiz night and treasure hunt) and careers events. 

 2. Saba Nazir, and Daphne Wang (PhD students): organising and delivering the Hopper 2020 and 2021 

On being joint first prize winners, Beatrice Taylor and Mar Estarellas said: “We are delighted to have won first prize in the EDI group activities category. Making the '10 min chats' videos is great - not only do we have fun making them, but it's been fantastic to talk to so many interesting women from diverse backgrounds. 

We hope we are encouraging conversations about improving computer science for everyone who works and studies in the field”.

Sree Sanakkayala, first prize winner for the MEng category said: I just have to say I am extremely grateful to have been recognised for the EDI initiatives that I put together last year. I hope the mission and progress inspires the next group of students in leadership positions to also focus on EDI!”

Sophie Martin, first prize winner of the PhD category, said: "I feel passionate about creating a diverse and inclusive Department because I believe that everyone deserves to feel able to share all parts of their identity no matter what space they’re in.

I think that it is important to foster an environment with a variety of lived experiences as this helps to encourage empathy, collaboration and gives people with a sense of belonging. Doing so requires clear and actionable strategies which is what has inspired me to get involved in the EDI committee." 

Professor Nigel Titchener-Hooker, Dean of UCL Engineering, commented: “This very impressive. I am really encouraged when I see such super work and individuals keen to make a real difference.” 

Congratulations to all the winners for their positive contributions - the smallest acts of inclusion can make the biggest difference.

We hope to continue the EDI student awards on an annual basis and encourage all forms of EDI activity.