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Neha Keshan, Kathleen Fontaine, James A. Hendler

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Graduate education institutes in the United States(US) have been working on programs to increase students and faculty from marginalized communities. Many students feel the need for reference points - someone with similar background who has experienced or is experiencing the graduate experience - to pursue higher education. The issue demands a solution to help marginalized community members get required information regarding an Institutes demographics and resources to make an informed decision. The decision of applying to a particular program or choosing one based on their career path choices. We build the Institute Demographic Ontology (InDO) to facilitate the transparency of the US graduate institute's doctoral recipients demographic knowledge based on broad field of study, fine fields of study and, the pursued career path. The terminology is structured in five-levels of hierarchy providing room for the most abstract top level - basic components used to describe an Institute's demographics - to the most concrete bottom levels - particular graduate program offered by the institute - with corresponding provenance. Our resource (InDO) could be used by students from a marginalized community in the United States of America to understand how much a program's resources could be catered towards their group based on the institute's doctoral recipients information (overall or specific to their program). We design a use case where an InDO based knowledge graph is created, incorporating some of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Recipient Survey 2019 data. Our use case demonstrates the usage of InDO in the real world while providing a way to access NSF data in a machine readable format. Evaluation of our ontology is done with a set of competency questions created from the perspective of an aspirant marginalized graduate student who would be willing to use our system to gather information for making an informed decision. InDO provides an ontological foundation towards building a social machine as an aid to higher education and mobility in the US.