The Diversity and Inclusion Task Force presents Pride in STEM, with Dr. Bruno Lopes Vieira, Professor at Universidade Federal Fluminense (IC/UFF) and researcher at FR∀M∃ Lab.
In this interview, Dr. Lopes Vieira states that respect is non-negotiable. At the start of his career, comments were passed off as jokes. It’s experiences like this that highlight the need for more LGBTQ+ leaders to come out and be open, so students and early career professionals know that they are not alone.
Keep reading for more moments and insight from Dr. Bruno Lopes Vieira.
Why Did You Choose Your Current Technical Field?
Dr. Lopes Vieira Computers have always fascinated me. When I was in high school, I began learning how to program, and I decided to follow a Computer Scientist career. At the very beginning of my research career, software failures have drawn my attention, and it was quite natural to try to understand how to prevent them. I decided to study logical-based systems, and quickly I was absorbed by the unlimited possibilities: formalizing specifications, demonstrating properties, understanding the complexity of problems, designing more adequate systems and tools… There is always something new to learn and to discover!
What Does a Typical Day or Week Look Like for You as a Professor?
Dr. Lopes Vieira My weeks are mainly divided into classes and research. Research leads to the possibility of pretending that there is no routine! Despite the fact that I use to be at the university from Monday to Friday, I always have something new to learn and several ideas to try. Being in contact with students is a great part of my week: classes are a good place to go back to the basics, and involving students in research activities lets fresh ideas emerge (it is always great to see students getting independent and developing their own careers).
What’s Been Your Greatest Professional Challenge as a Member of the LGBTQ+ Community, and How Did You Overcome It?
Dr. Lopes Vieira Ensuring respect was a challenge at some point. The world is full of prejudice and we can not pretend this is over (it is not even close to being). It is not uncommon (especially at the beginning of your career) to be disrespected in some comments disguised as “jokes.” That is why representation is so important. Students and early-career researchers must know that they are not alone, and that they are not obligated to listen to these comments. This is absolutely challenging, understanding that you must demand to be respected.
What Is One Piece of Advice You Can Give to LGBTQ+ Students and Early Career Professionals?
Dr. Lopes Vieira Understand that you are not alone. Understand that you must be respected. Sometimes we know all of this but even so, we let prejudice fool us. Representation matters, look for great LGBTQ+ names in your field and use them as inspiration. Do not be ashamed of who you are, everybody is different, and the difference is something that makes the world a pretty interesting place.
Who Is One Role Model Who You Personally Admire and Why?
Dr. Lopes Vieira My advisors: Edward Hermann Haeusler and Gilles Dowek (D.Sc.), Alejandro C. Frery (M.Sc.), and Eliana Silva de Almeida (B.Sc.). They are brilliant professionals who have guided me at central points of the beginning of my career. I have learned rigor in science and ethics with them. They have always encouraged and supported me, and I try to do the same for my students. A supportive advisor makes things easier.
Are There Any Issues in the Industry That the Computing Community Needs to Be Made Aware Of?
Dr. Lopes Vieira Employing underrepresented people does not imply that you are an inclusive company. Inclusion also requires making people comfortable, safe (being and feeling), and respected. People need their voices and ideas to be listened to and considered. They must be involved in leadership, not only in base positions.
Based on Your Personal Experiences, What Is One Step Companies/Universities Can Take To Make Stem More Welcoming and Inclusive for Members of the LGBT+ Community?
Dr. Lopes Vieira Providing visibility and representativity (in fact not only for the LGBTQ+ community but to all of the underrepresented groups). It is important to see that there are more people like yourself and that some of them are big names in your field. But the most difficult task is to ensure a real inclusion process and not only putting an underrepresented group to visibility but with no real inclusion in the field. Each company/university must understand its local scenario, what are the problems, and needs and only then plan each step (I don’t believe in general solutions). Understanding your local reality is the very first step to real inclusion.
What Is One Thing in Your Field or within Computing That You’re Most Excited About?
Dr. Lopes Vieira The unlimited possibilities: we deal with proofs as objects. Formal logic deals with rigorous processes of reasoning, but there are always new scenarios and new demands in which the proof systems and tools may be inadequate. We have to deal with the expressiveness and the complexity and verify if they are adequate for each problem. We always have something new to develop and new properties to investigate.
About Dr. Bruno Lopes Vieira:
Dr. Lopes is a gay, cis man, who is out as a professor at Universidade Federal Fluminense in Niterói, Brazil. His husband can be seen accompanying him at social events.
His research is in logic but also works in applied fields. His interests include automated and interactive theorem proving, coordination languages, dynamic logics, formal methods, modal logics, petri nets, and proof theory.
Dr. Lopes is also the coordinator of the Logic Interest group of the Brazilian Computer Society and was part of the Directive Committee of the Brazilian Logic Society.
Celebrate Pride with the IEEE Computer Society and read more interviews from the computing community:
- Dr. Christian Newman, Assistant Professor at Rochester Institute of Technology
- Ivan Zhao, Computer Science student at Brown University
- Alexander Serebrenik, Full Professor of Social Software Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology
- Griffin Solot-Kehl, Developer Advocate at Dolby Labs
- Dr. Daniel Gillis, Associate Professor at the University of Guelph
- Didem Gurdur Broo, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at Stanford University
- Dr. John Samuel, Associate Professor at CPE Lyon and Associate Researcher at LIRIS Lab