Executive Director, Institute for Digital InnovAtion (IDIA)
As Interim Executive Director of the Institute for Digital InnovAtion, Dr. Sanghera and her team support the research community in the pursuit of cutting-edge work to shape the future of our digital society, promoting equality, wellbeing, security, and prosperity. She serves as a point of contact to unite George Mason University (Mason) IDIA researchers with the broader community.
Before assuming the IDIA role, Dr. Sanghera served as the Executive Director of STEM Outreach for the Volgenau School of Engineering. She was also the Associate Chair of the Information Sciences and Technology department. Dr. Sanghera is a founding member of Virginia’s Governor’s STEM commission. She serves on the executive board of the Northern Virginia Computer Science Teachers’ Association and is on the advisory board of STEM for Her. Dr. Sanghera received the NCWIT Extension Services award to implement systemic change to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of women in technology and engineering undergraduate programs. Her efforts have positively contributed to the Go Virginia Tech Talent Pipeline initiative, where she worked closely with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), Fairfax County Government Office, Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC), and Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS). Dr. Sanghera is also an active member of the Students and Technology in Academia, Research, and Service (STARS) program and the National Center of Women in Technology (NCWIT). She has worked on the Sisters Rise Up grant by Reboot Representation. Dr. Sanghera worked with AWS and NVCC in introducing the first BAS in the Cloud Computing degree. For these efforts, Education Dive, a digital publication for the education industry, gave George Mason University a highly regarded Higher Ed “Partnership of the Year” award. Dr. Sanghera is a finalist in the STEM Leadership category of the 2020 Women in Technology award (final results to be announced).
My research is on implementing systemic change to increase enrollment, retention, and graduation of students in computing programs. My focus is on broadening participation in computing education. My projects aim to revolutionize the undergraduate computing experience by connecting students to peers and the profession, as well as connecting computing to a purpose. Through recent projects such as Reboot Representation, NCWIT Extension Award, and Go Virginia Tech Talent Pipeline, I implemented best practices around mentoring to help build students’ interest in the field of computing. The computational thinking concept is an integral part of my research. Through an NSF grant, I developed a comprehensive and scalable framework that can be embedded in undergraduate IT education. Through grants like Beauty of Joy and Computing (BJC) by University of California Berkeley University, I am developing opportunities for teacher professional development while creating a community of practice for like-minded people who wish to participate in and contribute to STEM initiatives.
- Go Virginia Tech Talent Pipeline: Created online Cybersecurity course material for high school students and offered professional development workshops for teachers to implement
- Sisters Rise Up by Reboot Representation: Providing role models and engaging computing experiences for female students who are in Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science (CS) courses in DC Public Schools
- TalentReady Gap Analysis by Education Strategy Group: Building a scalable IT pathway for high schools
- CyberAI Project: Exposing and exciting students about the field of Cyber and AI through hands-on activities, and evaluating if the methods used in teaching were effective in encouraging high school students in the field of technology