Diversity & Inclusion Program
Creating diverse environments with people from a multitude of backgrounds has time and again proven to create the most fertile ground for creativity, productivity, and innovation. Since we at High Performance Graphics (HPG) have committed ourselves to generate these environments even in those daring times. To do so, we will in 2021 launch the HPG Diversity & Inclusion Program during the conference.
This will be split into two separate sessions. During the first session, selected professionals from different underrepresented groups will take the stage to talk about their paths into and through the field of high performance graphics, from academic research to game development. During the following Career Mentoring & Advice Sessions, applicants will get a chance to meet with and receive personal feedback from professionals in the field.
“Diversity Within High Performance Graphics”-Panel
Bringing together people from various backgrounds and different life experiences generates more creative and innovative ideas by opening up perspectives that others may have not considered.
In this panel, listen to some invited professionals from diverse backgrounds and different career paths in the HPG community. By hearing about their unique experiences in the field as part of an underrepresented group, we wish to inspire and encourage young students and professionals to set their own goals, and to see that nothing should limit the height of these goals.
The panel will be a 1h plenary session to which everyone is invited. We especially encourage undergraduate students to participate.
Dr. Apollo Ellis
Dr. Apollo Ellis is a long time HPG attendee, previous winner of an HPG best paper runner up award, and graduate of UC Berkeley CS (BA), UT Austin CS (MS), and UIUC CS (Ph.D). He helped found and direct the HPG diversity scholarship program and served on the HPG committee for the last four years. He currently works at Nvidia on the Omniverse rendering team, as a senior ray tracing engineer.
Noshaba Cheema received her M.Sc. degrees in Visual Computing, as well as in Computer Science from Saarland University. Before that she completed her Undergraduate studies in Media Informatics at the Hochschule Bremen and NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She has received a Woman STEM Award in Artificial Intelligence from Deutsche Telekom and a best poster award from the Symposium on Computer Animation for her publications. Furthermore, she has won various scholarships for her studies including a Max-Planck Master Fellowship. Currently, Noshaba is a Ph.D. candidate at the Max-Planck Institute for Informatics and a researcher in the Agents and Simulated Reality group at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), where she is working on making AI characters dance and interact with humans in virtual and augmented reality. She has various volunteering experiences including SIGGRAPH, SIGGRAPH Asia, NeuRIPS and NVIDIA GTC among others. Noshaba has been on the HPG diversity committee as a co-chair since 2019.
Tony Baylis is a senior leader, partner, and advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
programs and activities for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Tony manages
the Laboratory’s strategic interactions and execution in building a diverse, equity, and inclusive workforce at LLNL. He collaborates with academia, government, industry, community, and
diversity organization stakeholders. Tony represents the Laboratory on the subjects of DEI, science, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), outreach, and student programs.
Tony is also the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Chair for ACM SIGGRAPH. His career represents 35 years of administrative, project, program, technical, organizational management and senior leadership in industry, academia, government, broadcast media, scientific and technical environments.
Dr. Kevin Griffin
Dr. Kevin Griffin is a Senior Developer Technology Engineer at NVIDIA where he is working on the integration of scientific visualization software with NVIDIA’s Omniverse platform and a high-level API called ANARI (Analytic Rendering Interface) that supports diverse rendering backends. Kevin has previously worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he was a Software Engineer and Solutions Executive for the High-Performance Computing Innovation Center. Kevin is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at San Joaquin Delta College where he teaches computer science courses. Dr. Griffin has a Diversity and Inclusion certification from Cornell University ILR school and is currently serving on ACM SIGGRAPH’s Diversity and Inclusion committee and the Research Posters committee for SC21. Kevin received a B.S. in computer science from the University of Delaware, an M.S. in computer science from the University of Tulsa and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Davis.
Dr. Diana Arellano
Dr. Diana Arellano is currently the CGI-Development Chapter Lead and Scrum Master at Mackevision – part of Accenture Interactive in Stuttgart, Germany. As Chapter Lead she gets to work closely with the teams in disciplinary and organizational aspects, while keeping them agile.
Diana also co-organizes discussion panels on Women in CG and Visual Arts at FMX and SIGGRAPH. Her volunteer journey with SIGGRAPH and ACM SIGGRAPH started in 2007 as Student Volunteer, where she went on to serve as Team Leader. She has also held the roles of International Resources Committee (IRC) Chair, External Relations Committee Chair and is currently an active member of the ACM SIGGRAPH Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Diana has been appointed as the SIGGRAPH 2022 Student Volunteers Program Chair.
D. Pillis (they/them/he/him) is a new media artist and queer media archeologist who works with robotics, computer graphics and large scale installations to think about gender, sexuality and identity. They have been a member of ACM’s SIGGRAPH’s Diversity & Inclusivity Summit since its founding in 2016. Recently, they have taught at Princeton University, Virginia Tech, and most recently completed graduate studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, where they studied with the father of computer graphics, Dr. Ivan Sutherland.
Natalie Rountree-Bell is a Middle Tennessee State Tennessee graduate with a focus in animation and fine art. After graduation, Natalie volunteered for ACM SIGGRAPH expanding diversity for people with disabilities. Her volunteerism with ACM SIGGRAPH began as a Student Volunteer in 2014 and Team Leader 2015, 2016, 2017. In 2019, she was able to create a focus area with Dylan Moore and see adaptive technology be at the forefront. She also has been able to serve on the first ACM SIGGRAPH DEI subcommittee, one of her favorite things she has done in her career. Natalie is currently living in Murfreesboro with her husband, dog, and cat, while working as a personal assistant for Christopher R. Harris photography. She has cerebral palsy, pushing everyday to make the world an accessible place as a “Palsy Champ”.
Seth Izen is a 3D Lighting and Compositing Artist, based in Los Angeles, CA. He currently works at Halon Entertainment as part of the Fortnite keyart team, in partnership with Epic Games. He graduated from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation. Additionally, he has volunteered extensively with SIGGRAPH and SIGGRAPH Asia since 2015.
Career Mentoring & Advice Sessions
After the plenary panel, a selected group of applicants from underrepresented groups will be invited to join a special personal session with our speakers and other senior career professionals. You will have a chance to ask personal questions, learn about career paths, discuss opportunities, talk about your own work, and maybe even get some feedback on your CV or how to promote your student project. This is a unique opportunity to meet with researchers and professionals in the field to talk about your goals and aspirations. We encourage students and those early in their career to apply.
If you are interested in joining the Career Mentoring & Advice Sessions, please follow the instructions at this link:/2021/diversity-inclusion-program-application