CUNY to host 2022 national public interest technology conference



Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

CUNY announced that it will host the 2022 annual conference of the Public Interest Technology University Network.

Created in 2019, PIT-UN is a national coalition of 43 universities to promote the next generation of tech professionals and policy leaders who wish to pursue careers in the tech industry while also creating bridges between technology and the public.

“We are thrilled to host the 2022 PIT-UN Convening, and the Challenge Grant funded projects are excellent examples of CUNY’s commitment to these principles and to the broader aims of the PIT University Network,” CUNY Associate Vice Chancellor and University Vice Provost of Research Tamera Schnieder said.

PIT-UN will be held at two different CUNY locations in Oct. 2022. The event will bring together educators, researchers and activists of different backgrounds.

The announcement was made through New America, a nonpartisan, public policy think tank and action organization that formed PIT-UN along with the Ford Foundation and Hewlett Foundation.

The policy think tank will provide CUNY with funding for the entire conference, allowing both in-person and virtual meetings to occur.

“As the country’s largest urban public university system, and the most racially and ethnically diverse, CUNY is well-positioned to be a leading voice in building a national PIT ecosystem centered on racial and social justice,” Schnieder said.

According to CUNY, some faculty members will be receiving PIT-UN Challenge Grants for Public Interest Technology Projects. These include Kathleen Cumisnky, a professor of psychology at the College of Staten Island and academic coordinator at CSI’s St. George Branch.

Cumisnky will receive a third year of funding going toward the PIT program at CSI. It will be used for constructing a CUNY PIT lab and demonstration space.

In the past, Cumisnky received over $235,000 in Challenge Grant funding for the project.

Another grant recipient is Annette Gray, who serves as the executive director at CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center, along with ASRC members Shawn Rhea and Kendra Kruger. The three members have been awarded $180,000 to create the ASRC Illumination Space.

Director of PIT-UN Andreen Soley spoke on the upcoming event, praising CUNY as the best location for hosting an event centered on inclusivity and promoting education in the technology field.

CUNY was one among the 20 founding members of PIT-UN in March 2019.

“CUNY’s diversity and mission represent the future of public interest technology that the PIT University Network is working to realize,” Soley said. “As essential partners in realizing this vision, it is only natural to us that CUNY host the 2022 PIT-UN Convening. This intersectional, diverse and dynamic event will demonstrate PIT in action as we center our collective commitment to climate justice, racial equity, and social change.”