ACM-W Connections – March, 2015

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

Last month we announced the first Cuban ACM-W Celebration of Women in Computing (which is happening later this month). Continuing with exciting news in 2015, we are delighted to announce a new effort, in collaboration with NCWIT and funded by Google, that will see significant growth in ACM-W student chapters. Please read the blurb and click the link to see the full announcement.

This month’s issue of Connections also includes very interesting reports from the Ohio Celebration event and from an event held jointly by ACM-W India and the Madras Management Association. Please check these out and see what our ACM-W volunteers are pursuing!

Finally, just a personal note. Last week I spoke to two CS classes at Bard High School Early College in New York City. Of the 60 total CS students, 44 are young women! That was very exciting to see. Let us know where you’ve been advocating for CS and for women in computing!

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

News From ACM-W Chapters

ACM-W Chapters is thrilled to be partnering in a $500,000 grant from Google to the National Center for Women & IT to create 35 new ACM-W chapters and help network the new chapters with the 83 existing ACM-W chapters. The grant news is ” hot off the press,” so look for more concrete information (as it becomes available) on the ACM-W and ACM Facebook group pages and websites – and in a later edition of the newsletter.

News from ACM-W Celebrations

Remarks from Celebration Committee Chair

It was great to see many of our Celebration coordinators in attendance at the SIGCSE 2015 Technical Symposium in Kansas City at the beginning of March. During a town hall meeting organized by Gloria Townsend, many of the coordinators offered advice and support about organizing celebrations events. The enthusiasm for the project and the interest of others in exploring celebration events in new regions was evident in the discussion.

This spring will see many events being held in several locations in the US as well as in Cuba and Abu Dhabi (both first-time celebrations!). It will be exciting to hear about each of them in the coming months.

As always, if there are any issues of concern or ways in which I or my committee can be helpful, please don’t hesitate to reach out (

~ Jodi Tims

The Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing – a Post-Celebration Report

by Bettina Bair, The Ohio State University, OCWiC Publicity Chair

OCWiC was held at the spacious Lodge at Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio on February 20-21, 2015. The nearly 200 attendees ranged from freshmen to graduate students, from faculty to women working in IT jobs in industry. There were 29 colleges and universities from Ohio represented. The event was highly successful, as was evident in some of the comments of attendees.

“Seeing other women achieve so much helps me to positively see my future in the field, and what I can potentially do to impact it.”

“I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share what I’ve been working so hard on. I was also very encouraged that the audience had excellent questions.”

[photo credit: Robert A. Walker]

Career panels focused on either industry or academic careers. In the industry career panel, the audience was able to hear from professionals from companies like Microsoft, Marathon, OE Connection, GE and Cardinal Health. Academic career panelists from Wright State University, Allegheny College, Case Western Reserve University and University of Dayton spoke about their decision to pursue research and how they balance the demands of career with personal life.

Undergraduate students had the opportunity to showcase their research with a poster session that kicked off the conference on Saturday morning. The professionally executed posters showed everything from the benefits of hackathons to a methodology for finding transcription factor binding sites. Two students, Christine Antonsen of Oberlin College and Kiera Dobbs, College of Wooster, were awarded $1000 to attend the international Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston, TX later this year. Honorable Mentions were awarded to Samantha Mater, Krista Lafentres, Stephen Checkoway, Cynthia Taylor of Oberlin College and Alexandra Coman, Victoria Kerr, Thomas Bowersock, Yuki Matoba, Andrew Warren, of Ohio Northern University.

paper presentations were made by faculty and graduate students alike. The diversity of the topics illustrated the breadth and scope of opportunities in computing. There were presentations on cracking binary analysis, performance versus quality of responses in online systems and internships.

[photo credit: Robert A. Walker]

the two day conference, the women had many opportunities for informal socializing and networking. Besides the informal meal arrangements with seating at large tables, there were interactive workshops and a dance party that ran late into the evening.

[photo credit:]

The highlight of the conference was the keynote speech by Dr. Lynn Andrea Stein, a founding faculty member at Olin College of Engineering, Professor of Computer and Cognitive Science, and Associate Dean and Director of the Collaboratory. Stein’s research spans the fields of artificial intelligence, programming languages, and human-computer interaction. Dr. Stein’s inspiring talk wove together themes of artificial and human intelligence to explore the biological and cultural foundations of diversity and bias.

Most attendees left the conference with new professional and academic goals, and strategies for achieving them. For example,

“I plan on taking a slightly different approach to acquiring a job, and internship.”

“[I plan to] take into consideration the pursuit of a higher education past what I am currently pursuing.”

“I found out that some grad schools that people were attending had a more universal approach to artificial intelligence and robotics than others, so I will look for a grad school that takes this approach.”

The OCWiC conference represented a rare opportunity for women in computing to interact and share experiences in a collegial and collaborative environment.

More info:

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News From ACM-W Europe

It is not too late if you did not submit a paper, panel or workshop for womENcourage 2015. Poster submissions are due on March 25th, so there is still time to submit your work for womENcourage 2015 ( Posters will be on display the entire 2.5 days of omENcourage celebration of women in computing.

Check out the website and social media pages to stay up-to-date on all the details of womENcourage celebrations.

Detailed information is available at:

womENcourage 2015 is supported by INRIA, Google and Oracle (Diamond), Bloomberg and Cisco (Platinum) and Informatics Europe and Microsoft Research (Silver.) Support is used to help students studying in Europe to attend the celebration.

Please pass this on to your friends, students, colleagues and your organization and encourage them to contribute!

Meet the Keynote speakers for womENcourage 2015

Virginia and Andreína, conference chairs of womENcourage 2015, are pleased to announce that the ACM-W Europe womENcourage 2015 Celebration of Women in Computing on September 24-26 will have three keynote addresses. Read the entire article in the ACM-W Europe newsletter page

Informatica Feminale August 17 to 28th Bremen, Germany

18th International Summer University for Women in Informatics Informatica Feminale will be held in Bremen in August at the University of Bremen in Germany from Monday, August 17, 2015 until Friday, August 28, 2015. Women students of all disciplines, levels and different types of institutions of higher education as well as all women interested in computing and women IT professionals from all over the world are invited! You will experience two weeks of professional studies and establish a network with women having manifold backgrounds in a friendly and stimulating environment at the University of Bremen.

IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference

Join IEEE Women in Engineering for the international leadership conference (http://ieee-wie-ilc.or) which will be held 23-25 April 2015 in San Jose, California, with a theme of “Lead Beyond. Accelerating Innovative Women Who Change the World.” The conference will focus on leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship educational tracks. More than 500 mid-level to senior-level technical professionals are expected to attend the conference.

News From ACM-W India

The collaboration between ACM-W and the Madras Management Association (MMA) has always led to interesting and engaging talks. Industry leaders speak about a wide range of topics at these sessions and the audience – comprised of students, industry veterans from varied backgrounds – truly savours them. Our February 2015 talk was no different. Ajitha Molakalapalli of Paypal helped demystify the world of online and mobile payments.

Ajitha works as a Sr. Manager in the Data Technology Organization as PayPal. She has 15+ years of experience both in the US and India. She worked previously at Sun Microsystems and then at Paypal. Paypal, being the pioneer in the world of mobile payments, has a very deep commitment towards this technology and is constantly pushing the boundaries. Ajitha shared some of her insights and future trends with us.

The talk saw her cover the basics of mobile payments for those of us unfamiliar with the under the hood details.This included its history, growth, and current technologies used for mobile payments. She also spoke of how users gravitate towards convenience and, as with any industry, a wave of innovation is driving a dramatic shift in the way consumers are making payments. Of particular interest and note was her reference to India and the widespread use of smart phones and feature phones and the convenience of making payments using them. Security, integrated promotions are some of the other key she alluded to as factors prompting consumers to use mobile payments. Just as the magnetic strip revolutionized payment by plastic credit card, near-field communication and other fast-evolving technologies will facilitate the move to payment using mobile technologies. She also brought up the multibillion-dollar opportunity waiting for the stakeholders in this domain.

The talk was chaired by Prof Ramanujam, IMSC, who is an ACM member/volunteer and is on the committee of ACM Chennai Professional Chapter.  ACM-W India president, Dr. Sheila Anand gave the welcome address. Around 70 participants, including industry professionals, bankers, consultants and students made for an engaged audience. Ajitha also kept them enraptured with the videos she included to demonstrate how mobile payments were made. The talk came to a close with a very active Q & A session. Overall, it was a fascinating evening of discussions about Money matters in the mobile world!


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