Open Quantum Initiative Workshop: Building a diverse quantum ecosystem

September 22-23, 2021

The Open Quantum Initiative (OQI) is a group of researchers, educators, and leaders among the Chicago Quantum Exchange (CQE) that champions the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in quantum science.

Please join this virtual workshop to kick off the CQE’s efforts in this area, hear from national experts, and to help us build a more open quantum ecosystem throughout academia, the national labs, and industry. Specifically, this workshop will guide the CQE community as it creates a fellowship program for under-represented, racially minoritized quantum scientists. We will discuss the prevailing issues and barriers in this emerging field, and hope to discuss the unique opportunities for change and the role our institutions can play. Specifically, the workshop will help the CQE develop a program for undergraduate scientists early in their quantum careers to gain research experiences and build professional networks. Workshop participants will learn how they can engage with these efforts and become a more informed member of and advocate for an open quantum community.

Scientists, staff, and trainees from all CQE member and partner institutions are encouraged to participate.

All times in Central Time 

This event will be held virtually

Agenda and Speakers

12:00 - 12:15 pm


David Awschalom

Introduction of Day 1 moderator Brian DeMarco (UIUC)

12:15 - 1:00 pm

Ending the historic underrepresentation of African Americans in physics & astronomy: the AIP TEAM-UP project

Bo Hammer (UChicago, AIP TEAM-UP)

The American Institute of Physics has undertaken an extensive project to end the historic under-representation of African Americans in physics and astronomy.  This initiative was launched based on overwhelming data that under-representation is attributable to cultural issues within physics and astronomy, and resulted in a groundbreaking, evidence-based report that summarizes what is known and makes recommendations to eliminate this underrepresentation in a decade.

1:00 - 1:15 pm

The Open Quantum Initiative

OQI Speaker: Chris Anderson (UChicago)

An introduction to this new CQE working group and its proposed fellowship to support racially minoritized undergraduates in QISE.

1:15 - 1:35 pm


1:35 - 2:35 pm

Panel Discussion with Institutional Changemakers

Sandra Charles (Fermilab), Lindsay Elizabeth Buettner (Argonne), Sean Garrick (UIUC), Tiana Pyer-Pereira (UChicago)

Moderator: Thomas Searles (UIC, AIP TEAM-UP)

A conversation among the CQE leaders driving developments in equity and inclusion at the institutional level, showcasing
the victories, and lessons learned, of programs seeking to increase representation.

2:35 - 2:40 pm


2:40 - 3:10 pm

It takes a village: Building inclusive communities in QISE 

Kayla Lee (IBM)

An engaging discussion on how we've fallen short in our commitment to inclusion, featuring key lessons and action items to change what comes next. 

3:10 - 3:15 pm

Day 1 Closing

OQI Speaker: Safura Sharifi (UIUC) 

3:15 - 4:15 pm

Open discussion

12:00 - 12:10 pm

Welcome and Overview of Day 2

Elizabeth Goldschmidt (UIUC)

12:10 - 1:00 pm

Focus topic: Program structures, recruitment, and best practices

Victor Cervantes (Assistant Director of Recruitment, Morrill
Engineering Program, UIUC) and Natasha Mamaril
(Program Director of Illinois Scholars Undergraduate Research, UIUC)

OQI Moderator: Jahan Claes (UIUC) 

1:00 - 1:10 pm


1:10 - 2:00 pm

Focus topic: Mentorship, community, mental health

Tina Henne (Argonne), Sina Safayi (Rush University),
and Yunetta Smith (Springforth Counseling)

OQI Moderator: Meryem Benelajla (UW-Madison) 

2:00 - 2:10 pm


2:10 - 3:00 pm

Focus topic: Industry and careers

Olivia Lanes (IBM), Eric Ostby (Google Quantum AI), Kanav Setia (qBraid)

OQI Moderator: Leah Weiss (UChicago) 

3:00 - 3:10 pm


3:10 - 4:00 pm

Focus topic: Financial support

Sandra Charles (Fermilab), Amy Freeman (Penn State University),
Gary Greenburg (Moore Foundation)

OQI Moderator: Paul Jerger (UChicago)

4:00 - 4:10 pm

Day 2 Closing

OQI Speaker: Paul Jerger

Workshop Organizers

  • Chris Anderson (UChicago)
  • Meryem Benelajla (UW-Madison)
  • Jahan Claes (UIUC)
  • Pratiti Deb (UChicago)
  • Katherine Harmon (Argonne)
  • Joe Heremans (Argonne)
  • Michael Highman (UIUC)
  • Shreyaans Jain (UIUC)
  • Paul Jerger (UChicago)
  • Gabe Perdue (Fermilab)
  • Safura Sharifi (UIUC)
  • Kai Shinbrough (UIUC)
  • Leah Weiss (UChicago)
  • Cyrus Zeledon (UChicago)

The workshop Code of Conduct can be found here