ACM-W Connections. April 2016

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

Welcome to the April, 2016, issue of ACM-W Connections.  

Our new subcommittee that is handling People of ACM-W has already produced their second interview!  This month we feature their interview with our very own Gloria Townsend.  It would be impossible to adequately express all that Gloria has done for ACM-W – she’s been an amazing force, initiating the very idea of ACM-W Celebrations and helping to launch many of the events that still run today.  She has also overseen a huge growth in the number of ACM-W chapters.  You definitely should read the interview.  And a hearty thanks to Gloria for all that she has contributed to ACM-W and to our entire community over her long and rich career!

This month we also feature the recent Celebration in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico (one of the 4 events that have already taken place this month, with the others in New York City, upstate New York, and Southern California). 

We’ve got news from Scholarships, from ACM-W Europe, and a number of announcements of events and opportunities.  Please check it out.

Thanks to Oracle for stepping up again to support the ACM-W scholarship program with another donation of $24K for the next two years.  We are very grateful for this ongoing support.

Volunteer with us!
Two opportunities this month:

  • The ACM-W Chapters Committee seeks a volunteer to help lead a "contests" project.  The volunteer would advertise the contests (after designing the application) on our Facebook pages, in our listserv, and in the newsletter.  S/he would also receive submissions and judge winners.  Finally s/he would congratulate winners on our Facebook pages and in the newsletter.  At present, we anticipate two contests:   Best poster advertising ACM-W Chapters and Best ACM-W Chapter Leader.
  • Do you live in Texas?  Want to help launch an ACM-W Celebration there?  Please be in touch!

Where’s ACM-W This Month?
We have one more Celebration coming up in April –in Baku, Azerbaijan.  We’re very excited by the increasing international activity.   I’m also heading to Pomona College  — it’s not for ACM-W business, but I will get to visit with Melanie Wu, our great communications chair.  It’s thanks to Melanie that we are able to bring you this newsletter every month. 

Thanks, as always, for your work on behalf of women in computing!

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

People of ACM-W

Dr. Gloria Childress Townsend is a Professor of Computer Science at DePauw University where she has taught for over 36 years. Dr. Townsend has served on the ACM-W Executive Board and is currently the Chair of the ACM-W Chapters Committee. She has been a founder and organizer for ACM-W Celebrations of Women in Computing and is a passionate advocate for women in computing.

Read an interview with Townsend here.

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. The student does not have to present a paper at the conference to be eligible. Applications are evaluated in 6 occasions each year, in order to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with some 6-8 awards given for each group of applications (This time around we are lucky and have ten awards!). The ACM-W Scholarships are made possible due to the generous support of Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

If the award is for attendance at one of the ACM special interest group conferences (SIG conferences), the SIG will most likely provide complementary conference registration and a mentor during the conference. The number of free registrations available varies from SIG to SIG.

ACM-W has helped students attend a wide range of meetings including SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI, ICDIPC, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, New Interfaces for Musical Expressions, GECCO, SpringSim, and ICSE amongst others.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research themselves. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attended and we never cease to find truly inspiring stories

I really enjoyed presenting to the ACM DEV community, as they were a group of highly motivated people passionate about designing robust and resilient solutions for a better future. The opportunity to present our work on “Alternative Decentralized Infrastructures” also allowed for some eye-opening discussions after the talk, about potential ways forward with the work. (Ankira Raturi, PhD student from the University of California, Irvine, visited London, UK for the ACM Symposium on Computing for Development, Dec. 2015.)

I am a first generation college student and the only female to go to college in my extended family. I enjoyed attending OurCS, because it allowed me to meet wonderful women in computing. I heard inspiring keynote speakers that made me believe in myself and in my future in the tech world. (Susana Gomez-Burgos, Undergraduate Student at University of Colorado Boulder, USA, in BS in Technology, Arts & Media, went to OurCS at Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA), in October 2015.)

I attended the Symposium on Theory of Computation (STOC), which was held along with FCRC (Federate Computing Research Conference) in June 2015. […] I am very passionate about theoretical computer science and STOC is one of the two top conferences in this area. […]I am also planning to apply to PhD programs in the upcoming semester, and I got the chance to meet some prospective supervisors and get an idea of the kind of research topics I could work on in a PhD program there. (Yasamin Nazari, Masters student at the University of Calgary, went to the Symposium on Theory of Computation 2015, in Portland, Oregon, United States, June 2015.)

The next application deadline is April 15 for conferences taking place in June and July 2016.

News From ACM-W Celebrations

This is a very busy season for Celebrations with six events taking place in the past month!    On March 4/5th, CAPWiC, the Capital Region Celebration took place at Christopher Newport University in Virginia.  On March 16th, a Celebration was held at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines.    NYC-CWiC took place in New York City on April 1st and NYCWiC was held in Lake George New York on April 8th/9th.   The same weekend, the Caribbean Celebration of Women in Computing (CCWiC) event took place in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and last, but not least, CWiC – Southern California was held in Ventura California.     Together these events inspired over 1350 attendees!

I had the honour and pleasure of representing ACM-W at the Caribbean Celebration of Women in Computing.  We enjoyed two great keynote speakers, Lucienne Gigarnte from Animus who gave a talk entitled “On Choices, Success & Happiness” and Lucy Crespo (who was aptly described as a “rock star” of tech in Puerto Rico) from the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust who provided insights on the current status of women in technology and the state of affairs in Puerto Rico.  There were three parallel sessions throughout the day on Saturday with research talks, a discussion on discrimination in the video game industry, a workshop on developing leadership skills and much more.  Attendees enjoyed a viewing of CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap which outlines the gender gap in Computer Science and offers theories as to why it exists and ideas as to how we can work towards gender parity.   The poster session was well attended and I found it inspiring to hear about research projects in which many of the undergraduate students are involved.  Several indicated that they were continuing with the research on a volunteer basis simply because they enjoyed it.   The energy and atmosphere at this conference was amazing – and the dance on Friday night was very fun with plenty of Latin music!  Congratulations to Nayda Santiago and her well organized team for putting together a great conference!

News From ACM-W Chapters

This month we highlight two of our awarding-winning ACM-W Chapters, Indiana University Bloomington and University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Both chapters recently won Trailblazer Awards from NCWIT’s Student Seed Fund.   (Second-round applications due April 30.)

Descriptions of the projects:

  • Indiana University Bloomington will conduct research on campus to understand campus-specific experiences and systemic issues. The institution will also create resources for male advocates in academia.
  • The University of North Carolina at Charlotte will create workshops that focus on using improved techniques to challenge covert sexism and racism. The school will also produce video segments that can be used as educational resources on other campuses.

Indiana University Bloomington (IUB)’s Chapter history features one of ACM-W’s chapter categories that helps schools with small female populations in computing or with any issue that prohibits their forming an independent ACM-W Chapter.  IUB and DePauw University formed a Regional ACM-W Chapter twenty years ago.  The two schools share a rich history of collaboration, where Suzanne Menzel, Maureen Biggers, Gloria Townsend and others organized the Indiana Celebrations of Women in Computing.

Now, both IUB and DePauw host thriving independent ACM-W Chapters.  If your school cannot meet the ten-member rule for chartering an independent ACM-W Chapter, please consider modeling our successful Regional ACM-W Chapter,. 


  • HPC Community Study survey

    THe HPC Community study is a preliminary analysis of workforce and research participation in HPC, and aims to quantify the current level of representation of women in HPC and to provide a baseline of evaluating possible reasons and suggesting ways for future changes of the demographics. One of the methods we use for our research is the survey.
    If you haven’t already taken part and you are a person that works to any HPC field/sector and any position or uses HPC facilities for research purposes, please fill in the survey here .

    The survey has been running since the end of February 2016 and we have had a rather satisfactory number of responses. It will be open until the end of April 2016 to encourage even more people to participate.

    Also, we would like to thank all the people that supported our study by responding to our survey or/and promoting it around the HPC community.  This research is still a work in progress, thus details of the methods and research questions may still evolve. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Athina Frantzana

  • Informatica Feminale

    The University of Bremen, Germany, invites women experts in computer science/informatics to contribute to the 19th Informatica Feminale. The international summer university will take place from August 08 to August 26, 2016 in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Bremen University.

    Furthermore we invite companies to sponsor the summer university.
    There will be various chances to meet graduates of computer science and engineering at both the parallel summer universities Informatica Feminale and Ingenieurin-Sommeruni.

    Every year, Informatica Feminale offers compact teaching in informatics/computer science for women students of all types of universities and colleges as well as for women professionals interested in further training. In this regard, entering higher education, developing a student career, transition into labor market and lifelong academic learning are equally applied. International lecturers and students meet at the summer university in Bremen to exchange and to use the place for experimentation, with the intention to develop and imply new impulses in informatics. The summer university is aiming at the professional networking of students and the advanced training for computer scientists on an academic level.

  • The European Celebration of Women in Computing

    The European Celebration of Women in Computing will take place in Brussels during the Girls’ Day Week: 25-26 April 2016! Look at the conference webpage for details.

    We are delighted to announce that scholarship applications are open to all students in Europe to encourage networking and collaboration between both students starting out in their field of study and those about to take their place in the commercial world. The scholarships will be awarded to successful applicants to enable them to attend ACM-W celebration of women in computing: womENcourage 2016. Funded by generous sponsors including ACM-W Europe, SIGPLAN, Google, Bloomberg, Microsoft Research, and Informatics Europe.   In previous years scholarships have been awarded to students from 17 different countries across Europe. If you are interested in participating in the womENcourage Celebration of Women in Computing and you need help with a travel scholarship please go to the following link for further information:

  • Yfactor survey

    Make a difference to gender diversity in STEM with the Yfactor survey – Check it out here.

  • 2016 IEEE WIE International Leadership Conference

    Join over 1100 women May 23 and 24th in San Jose, California for the 2016 IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership conference. Targeting Mid and Senior level women in engineering, the exciting inspiration packed program has more than 50 speakers delivering session on Leadership, Entrepreneurship, innovation and emerging technology.

  • 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 /submit.