Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month – Contributions and Impact
IEEE Computer Society Team
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May is Asian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in the United States, a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, histories, and contributions of the Asian and Pacific Islander community. This month offers an opportunity to recognize the significant achievements of this community in various fields, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
In this blog, we highlight the contributions of notable Asian-American computer scientists and share resources and programs that support AAPI students and professionals in STEM. We also provide information on the origins of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and ways to get involved in promoting diversity and inclusion in computing.
Origins of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
The origins of Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month go back to the late 1970s, when a small group of activists, led by Jeanie Jew, lobbied for the creation of a week-long celebration to recognize the contributions of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. In 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation declaring the first Asian-Pacific American Heritage Week to be observed in May of that year.
Over time, the celebration evolved into a month-long event. In 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed a proclamation designating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The term “Pacific Islander” was added in 1990 to recognize the contributions of the Pacific Islander community.
The AAPI community has significantly contributed to the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Their achievements have not only helped to advance their respective fields but have also inspired countless others to pursue careers in STEM.
Here are a few you might not know:
Andrew Ng: A Chinese American computer scientist and entrepreneur known for his work in machine learning and artificial intelligence. He co-founded Google Brain and co-founded the open online course provider Coursera.
Kai-Fu Lee: A Taiwanese American computer scientist known for his work in artificial intelligence and machine learning. He was a founding president of Google China and has held senior positions at Microsoft, Apple, and other tech companies.
Anshuman Razdan: An Indian American computer scientist, Razdan is known for his work in computer graphics and geometric modeling.
An Wang: A Chinese American computer engineer and inventor best known for co-founding Wang Laboratories and inventing the magnetic core memory, which became the standard form of computer memory for several decades.
Fei-Fei Li: A Chinese American computer scientist and professor at Stanford University, Li is known for her work in computer vision and image recognition. She co-founded AI4ALL, a nonprofit organization that aims to increase diversity and inclusion in artificial intelligence.
How To Get Involved: IEEE’s Diversity and Inclusion Fund
We encourage you to actively participate in elevating the voices and stories of underrepresented communities. In support of this mission, the IEEE Computer Society has committed an additional $400,000 to the Diversity and Inclusion Fund for 2023.
You can join us in this effort by submitting a proposal for a project that promotes diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in STEM education and computing. Call for 2023 proposals will open in the fall. Be sure to check back.
We value your opinion on IEEE’s efforts toward diversity and inclusion. We invite you to share your thoughts and ideas on how we can further enhance our programs and initiatives to serve our community better. You can participate in our anonymous survey, influencing future plans for the committee’s activities, events, and actions.