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ACM-W Connections. May 2017

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

Welcome to the May, 2017, issue of ACM-W Connections. 

This month, the Celebrations Committee has a report from MinneWiC, the upper Midwest (U.S.) Celebration event.  The Chapters Committee provides their monthly activity tip, focusing this time on the connection between chapters and celebration events.

The report from ACM-W Europe is full of announcements of upcoming events and initiatives across Europe, as well as a report from the first ACM Celebration in Belgrade!  We hope in coming issues to have reports from the other recent events in Spain, UK, and Ukraine.

The Scholarship committee report announces the recipients of the most recent funding cycle.  You can read about the 5 scholars who will be attending conferences this summer!

Also related to scholarships, we thank SIGEVO, the ACM SIG on Genetic and Evolutionary Computation for recognizing our ACM-W scholarship program in their recent newsletter (Volume 9, Issue 2).  We awarded 6 scholarships to students who attended GECCO 16.  SIGEVO paired each student with a conference mentor, a practice which can significantly enhance the student’s conference experience.  The newsletter includes excerpts from 5 of the 6 scholarship recipients.  We appreciate tremendously SIGEVO’s long time support of the scholarship program. 

Meanwhile, looking ahead to the June issue of Connections, I’ll be saying goodbye after 5 years of chairing ACM-W, and turning over leadership to Jodi Tims.  It will be my chance to reflect on what we’ve done in the last 5 years, and Jodi’s opportunity to write about her priorities and interests as she moves ACM-W forward. 

Valerie Barr

ACM-W Chair

News From ACM-W Celebrations

The 4th Regional Celebration of Women in Computing in the Upper MidWest (MinneWIC) was held on February 17-18, 2017 on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

The program on Friday featured many poster presentations from students, both undergraduate and graduate, followed by dinner.  After dinner, the keynote academic speaker, Andrea Danyluk, from Williams College, captured the audience by talking about her work on "Machine Learning in the Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Arts".  She introduced the concept of machine learning and discussed her work that uses machine learning in areas as diverse as ecology and viola performance.

Three discussion groups, all meeting in parallel, followed. The discussion groups had been proposed by participants. The largest group, aimed at undergraduates, talked about "Campus organizations for Women in Computing: what, why, and how". Graduate students had a chance to discuss in a smaller group "How to create a successful Women In Computing group for graduate students". Faculty and professionals discussed the recently released report from AAUW on "Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women's Success in Engineering and Computing," with guidance from Prof. Sally Kohlstedt, an expert in history of science and the role of women in science.  All were a huge success and a great way for attendees to share their experiences. 

The activities on Saturday included an industry keynote speaker, Yvonne Ng, from TekSystems and President and Founder of Engineer's Playground with a talk entitled "Searching for the perfect (computing) job... one woman's journey".  She inspired the audience by going over her unconventional career as a faculty, engineer, entrepreneur, and consultant.

This was followed by a career panel, with the keynote speaker and representatives from Thomson Reuters, Veritas, and Seagate, and a graduate school panel with faculty and student representatives.

Industry representatives interacted informally with the participants, sharing information about their companies and job opportunities.

The celebration had 125 attendees, coming from numerous places in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois.  Generous sponsorships from ACM-W, Microsoft, and CRA-W kept the registration fee significantly below cost and provided scholarships to out of town students.

Comments from students, such as "I intend to start a computer science group for women at my school" and "I believe in myself more as a woman in technology", were heard in informal conversations.  One student summarized it all: "Having so many smart, successful women in computing around me showed me that anything is possible!"

As our Celebration “season” comes to an end, it is time to start thinking about the coming academic year.  If you would like information about starting a Celebration, please contact Wendy Powley at wendy@cs.queensu.ca.  

News From ACM-W Chapters

As the academic year draws to a close, we continue to recommend activities for chapters.  This month, we advise chapters to take advantage of another of ACM-W's flagship projects, ACM Celebrations of Women in Computing.  Chapters and Celebrations are synergistic projects.  Here are several ways that the two projects reinforce each other:  1) Several Chapters in close proximity can attend a Celebration organized by students and faculty involved in the chapters; 2) New chapters spring up after a Celebration, because women want to sustain and cultivate the energy that the Celebration engenders; and 3) Existing Chapter members who attend a Celebration often find ways to collaborate and network after the Celebration ends.  The University of Cincinnati (http://acmwuc.com/) has a fairly new ACM-W Chapter.  Chapter members enjoy the ability to attend either the Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing (http://www.ocwic.org/) or the Tri-State Celebration of Women in Computing (http://triwic.acm.org/). 

News From ACM-W Scholarships

The ACM-W Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences program provides support for women students in Computer Science and related programs who wish to attend research conferences.

This time around we celebrate five scholars who are going to conferences in the Summer! We offer our congratulations to Taniya Seth, Veena Saini, Sujata Baral, Lauren Gillespie, and Pham Thi Thuong . Lauren is an undergraduate in the US and Pham Thi is a PhD student in Vietnam. Both, as well as Sujata, a master's student in Bangladesh, are going to GECCO, the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference in Berlin. Meanwhile Taniya and Veena, both masters’ students in India, are going to Italy for FUZZ-IEEE, the top conference in theory and applications of fuzzy logic, in Naples, and COMPSAC, the IEEE Computer Society Signature Conference on Computers, Software and Applications in Turin.

Well done every one!!! We hope you all will have plenty of fun, and learn a lot at your conferences.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by themselves. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attend, preferably with a picture, so that we can show our readers and funders the diversity of our winners. We never cease to find truly inspiring stories!

The next application deadline is June 15 for conferences taking place in August and September, 2017.
For more information and to apply visit: women.acm.org/scholarship.  If you have any questions, please contact  the scholarship committee chair Prof. Adriana Compagnoni, Adriana.Compagnoni@stevens.edu

News From ACM-W Europe

Belgrade ENTER: ACM Celebration of Women in Computing

On the 25th and 26th of April 300 people participated in the first ENTER: Celebration of Women in Computing. The organizers presented a two-day conference open to everyone willing to share their knowledge, achievements and experience in order to support development and inclusion of more women in computer science and related disciplines. The event was created to present, connect and inspire women and girls active in ICT sector.

ENTER provided new perspectives on different IT topics through presentations of successful women working in industry and academia, presenting them as a new role models in community and it’s brought to you by Spacevent and ACM-W Europe community.

The organizers reported out that the event proved to be very dynamic, exciting, very inspiring and good for learning. The two day event with more than 15 speakers (specific tech topics and motivational ones), 3 workshops (UX design, GitHub and Web development) and two panel discussions on Women in Technology Entrepreneurship and one dedicated to the Lack of IT Personnel. The very inspired and outspoken audience created a lively discussion and exciting day.

Here is the list of Women in Computing events for the coming months.

Announcements

  • womENcourage 2017:

    On 6th of September, Intel and Hackers@UPC will open this year’s womENcourage program with a hackathon. In order to get you started, you are invited to join the ongoing Intel Earth Day Challenge!

    This is the planet we live on and it supports more than six billion humans and countless animals and plants. With climate change and pollution threatening our living environment, more people than ever are coming together to help and protect our only home. With low-cost advanced technologies available for us today, there has never been a better time to show support for environmental protection.

    Intel and Hackster have joined hands to lead this important challenge on Earth Day 2017, with an aim to encourage people to invent things that will benefit the planet, with focus on all university students worldwide! And we're giving away 11 awesome Intel-powered prizes for the top submissions.

  • Would you like to contribute an article to the ACM-W Newsletter?

    With a distribution list reaching thousands of ACM-W members, contributing to the newsletter is a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and information across a wide audience. Submit a proposal for an article http://women.acm.org/submit.