ACM-W Connections. August 2015

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

Welcome to the August, 2015, issue of ACM-W Connections.  As promised last month, I want to begin reporting on some of the changes and initiatives that we discussed at the Council meeting.   I am very excited that we are making some changes to the structure of ACM-W.   As our programs have expanded, the job of being ACM-W Chair has also grown.  It is with delight (and relief!) that I can announce that we have created a Vice Chair position and Jodi Tims (Baldwin Wallace University) will take on that role.  Jodi’s name is likely familiar to many of you as she has been leading the ACM-W Celebrations project for the last several years.  Jodi has been an incredible support to me since we began working together, and I look forward to continuing and expanding our efforts as she takes on her new role as Vice Chair. 

In her own report, Jodi will have more to say about Wendy Powley (Queens University) who will be taking over leadership of the Celebrations project.  I will just note here that Wendy has been a real stalwart champion of ACM-W and I am thrilled that she’s agreed to take on greater responsibility to continue the success and growth of ACM-W Celebrations.

In other news, we have recently decided to sponsor three activities by other groups.  This will be our third year as a Bronze Sponsor of WiCyS, the Women in Cybersecurity conference.  It is a fabulous event, attracting many students.  Please pass along information to women you know who are in or might be developing an interest in cybersecurity. 

Following on our decision in June to support the TechKobwa summer program for girls in Rwanda, we have made a modest contribution to Stawa University in Uganda.  The university is committed to improving science education among women and girls in East Africa and is developing a mobile classroom that will allow them to take computing education into rural areas.  The university is also planning to start an ACM-W chapter which will be our third in Africa. 

Finally, we will be a Silver Sponsor of LATINiTY, the Latin American Women in Technology Conference, taking place in Santiago, Chile, in November. 

In this issue of ACM-W Connections there is news from Chapters, Celebrations, and Scholarships.  There is also a lot of exciting news about the womENcourage, the upcoming ACM-W Europe Celebration of Women in Computing.  Next month we will have more news about ACM-W changes and some other announcements as we kick off a new academic year.  Thanks, as always, for supporting ACM-W and women in computing.

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

News from ACM-W Celebrations

ACM-W Celebrations Transitions to a New Year

~Jodi Tims

As Valerie announced in her opening remarks, I am pleased to welcome Wendy Powley (Queens University, Ontario, CA) to the role of ACM-W Celebrations chair.  Wendy has been deeply involved with the project, having been a lead organizer of the Ontario Celebration (ONCWiC) for several years.  Wendy was instrumental in the effort to combine previous regional Celebrations in Canada to create the All Canada Celebration (CAN-CWiC), which will be held for the first time in January 2016.  Wendy also has been a part of the Celebrations committee during the 2014-2015 academic year as communications chair, a role she will now be seeking to fill (any interested readers?).

I have mixed emotions personally as I step out of the role of Celebrations chair and into the newly created role of ACM-W Vice Chair.  The past few years have seen rapid growth of the project and I anticipate more growth in the coming years, particularly on the international front.  It has been fun and rewarding to meet and interact with all of the Celebrations coordinators and each has enriched my experience in some way. 

I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks to my committee – Rachelle Hippler (survey coordinator, Bowling Greens – Firelands), Martha Kosa (branding and swag coordinator, Tennessee Tech) and Wendy Powley.  I would not have been able to manage the project were it not for the tireless efforts of these women and am confident that the project is in good hands going forward.  I also want to thank Valerie Barr and Gloria Townsend for giving me the opportunity to be Celebrations chair back in 2012.

As I look forward to my new role as Vice Chair, I am excited about the many possibilities that exist for ACM-W as we continue to find new ways to support, celebrate, and advocate for women in the computing field.  The opportunity to partner with Valerie in this effort is truly exciting!

Finally, I encourage you to visit the Celebrations web page (/celebrations) and see the numerous events that are being planned for the 2015-2016 academic year.  Return to the page from time to time as information will be added as it becomes known.

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 cycles each year in order to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with 1-6 awards given for each group of applications. The 2014-2015 ACM-W Scholarships are made possible due to the generous support of Google and Oracle.

This year was my first time serving on the committee in the role of Proceedings Chair. Receiving the scholarship to attend helped me to network with the other committee members including top researchers in the field of HCI in Korea, whom I otherwise would never have the opportunity to meet. I was able to meet with next year’s Proceedings chairs to pass on knowledge gained from serving in that role to help them improve the conference printed program for next year.[..] I also had the opportunity to meet with individuals on my dissertation committee who are external members.” says Deana Brown, from Georgia Tech, who went to Seoul, Korea, for CHI in April 2015.

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 Conference on Norbert Wiener in the 21st Century, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, RO-MAN, WIMS, CSCW, New Interfaces for Musical Expressions, GECCO, SpringSim, and ICSE amongst others.

The scholarships expose students to prominent researchers in their field, introduce students to new research, and excite 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:

Educational Data Mining is a growing multidisciplinary field of research, and there is almost no faculty member who works on this domain at my home university.[..]. My research is about a virtual learning environment (TeachLivE) for novice teachers. At the conference, I discussed several challenges about my research with different people, and they patiently helped me to resolve most of them.” says Leila (Roghayeh) Barmaki, from University of Central Florida, who went to London for the 7th International Conference on Educational Data Mining.

After receiving the news that I was awarded this scholarship, I decided to present a poster in the Career Workshop for Women and Minorities in Computer Architecture (CWWMCA) to make the most of the experience”, says Luna Backes, from Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC) who went to Cambridge, UK for 47th Annual IEEE/ACM International Symposium on Microarchitecture in December 2014.

The next application deadline is October 15 for conferences taking place in December and January.  For more information and to apply visit:  If you have any questions, contact scholarship committee chair Prof. Adriana Compagnoni,

News From ACM-W Chapters

Please do a favor for the ACM-W Chapters Committee!  We would love to see every chapter’s website advertising ACM-W and celebrating the professional organization through our logo and name. 

Check your website right now and download and install our logo (above, or download it here).  While you are checking the website, look around your school’s suites, classrooms, and hallways.  Bulletin boards should host our logo and name, and you can find other creative places for telling your campus how much the professional organization values women in computing!  Wouldn’t it be nice to have an ACM-W Chapters’ poster for bulletin boards?  Start thinking about poster design and content ideas, because we will announce a contest next month.

News From ACM-W Europe

Vicki Hanson, Vice President of ACM to Speak at womENcourage 2015

As a continuation of the keynote speaker series for womENcourage 2015 we now travel to Scotland to speak with Vicki Hanson.  She is a Professor and Chair of Inclusive Technologies, School of Computing, University of Dundee, UK, and also a Distinguished Professor of Computing at Rochester Institute of Technology, USA, and an IBM Research Staff Member Emeritus.

Her research in human-computer interaction seeks to improve the accessibility of technology for the aging population and people with disabilities. Efforts she led at IBM include a bilingual educational application for deaf children (recognized as a National Merit Winner in the Johns Hopkins National Search for Computing to Assist Persons with Disabilities), and accessibilityWorks, a system allowing disabled users to adapt Web content to fit their needs (recognized by multiple awards including Product of the Year by the National Disabilities Council).  At Dundee, her work has examined ways in which mainstream technology can be changed to ensure all people can participate in the emerging digital economy. This work is expanding to include considerations of care home design and technology support to improve the quality of life for care home residents.

Professor Hanson is Vice President of ACM and serves on the ACM-W Europe Executive Committee. She is a Past Chair of the ACM SIG Governing Board and Past Chair of ACM SIGACCESS.  She co-founded ACM’s Transactions on Accessible Computing and has served on numerous conference program and organizing committees including ASSETS, CHI, CUU, Hypertext, and OOPSLA, as well as the ACM Awards and Fellows committees.

She is a Fellow of ACM, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, recipient of the Anita Borg Institute Woman of Vision Award for Social Impact, and recipient of the ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award. She has received an IBM Corporate Award for Contributions to Accessibility, multiple IBM Outstanding Contribution Awards for her work in accessibility and education, the University of Oregon Arts and Sciences Alumni Fellows Award, and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

  • Why is the conference important to you?

    This conference is important to me as a way for women (particularly women in early stages of their careers) to understand the options available to those of us in computing.  The conference affords a number of networking opportunities to enrich careers of all attendees.   It also provides attendees the chance to learn about a number of technical areas within computing.

  • What do you enjoy most about your work?

    My work has a number of different dimensions.   I have my research area, my interactions with students through teaching, and my involvement with the worldwide computing community through a number of ACM volunteer activities.

    My research area relates to using computers by people with diverse abilities and needs.  The goal is to ensure that people with disabilities as well as older users are fully able to participate in society.  As a goal, I feel constantly excited by this challenge and am passionate about the need to use our technology to benefit everyone.

    In terms of teaching, I am constantly invigorated by the challenge of keeping material fresh and relevant to students.   My teaching is directed at postgraduate education, working with students pursuing Masters degrees and PhDs in computing.

    I have been involved with ACM as a volunteer for most of my career.  Most notably, I currently serve as the Vice President of this international organization.  I consider it a huge honour to serve this community of computing professionals!   I’ve volunteered in a number of conference capacities as conference Chair and Programme Committee chair and as a member of numerous programme committees.   I’e also served as the Vice President (currently) of ACM’s Special Interest Group in HCI (SIGCHI) and previously as the Chair of the Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS). I’ve chaired the SIG Governing Board and served as the ACM Secretary-Treasurer.   In each of experiences, I’ve gained from the people I’ve met and the network of professionals from whom I could learn.

  • What would you want the participants to learn from your keynote speech or the conference?

    From my keynote speech, I hope that participants gain a broader understanding of what we can do in computing.   My talk will focus on computing for people with diverse needs and I hope this raises awareness of accessibility issues and possibly even excites some people to think of diverse users in their work.


ACM-W UPV of Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) was founded after creating and having experience as members and founders of ACM-UPV Student Chapter.

Only 10.8% of students of Computer Students from the ETSInf (Higher Technical School of Computer Engineering) of UPV are women. Our motivation to start ACM-W chapter was to encourage girls and women to study Computer Science, so they do not drop out for lack of motivation or for feel displaced.
(We started the chapter with a group of women undergraduate and masters sutdents, but soon more people joined, including a number of men, giving us another perspective about the issues that, as women, we have in the work and academia.)

We have organized various activities during the past year which are grouped into two blocks:

  • Talk about "Animal Computer Interaction": a new line of research that tries to figure out how interact with animals using new technologies, such as tablets or drones.
  • Fourth Bits in Feminine Conference: a series of conferences that seeks to discover the role of women in the professional and academic world in different areas of computer engineering. This included several lectures in which speakers talked about their areas of work and their academic and professional careers. The speakers were:
    • Virginia Grande: Computer Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, she is dedicated to education research in Computer Science and human-computer interaction.
    • María Cabezuelo: Computer Engineer from the UPV and currently engaged in the development of game software.
    • Inés Toribio: Computer Engineer from the University of Valencia with over 10 years of experience in software quality assurance and testing.

In addition, we are working to implement a project in some schools of Valencia to introduce children between 8 and 10 years in programming, using graphical tools such as Scratch, and break the stereotypes that are created around the profession. These measures will encourage children to study engineering and, in particular Computer Science.

We want to thank the UPV, and especially the ETSINF and Informatics Museum of UPV, for providing the necessary resources to carry out the activities, and the support they have given us since we started.


  • ACM-W Europe womENcourage 2015

    check out the Blog by Poonam yadav — Why would I attend womENcourage 2015? Memories from womENcourage 2014

    womENcourage Career Fair: Are you looking for an internship or a permanent position?

    Let our supporters know that you are interested in talking with them at the Career Fair on 24 September.  When registering for womENcourage 2015, you have the opportunity to add your name to the CV database.  This database is being collected to allow you to inform the supporters in advance that you will be attending the Career Fair.  Our supporters – Inria, Google, Oracle, Bloomberg, Cisco, Facebook, Microsoft Research, Informatics Europe, Intel and FreeBSD – are very interested in meeting with you and talking with you.  Let them know you are interested in talking with them!  Sign up today.

    Register for the first ACM-WE and Codess hackathon – its FREE!

    Make something that will improve the world for someone less fortunate than you.  ACM-W Europe and Codess Hackathon sponsored by Intel® and Microsoft will be held in Uppsala, Sweden on September 24th 2015, in conjunction with womENcourage 2015 celebration of women in computing. The challenge is to build innovative and exciting projects which improve the day to day lives of people using the Intel® Edison Development Board and the Intel IOT DevKit.  Your resulting project could be anything that will help humanity.

    All you need to bring for the hackathon is your laptop. We will provide the computing supplies, food and drinks.

  • 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.