ACM-W Connections. June 2016

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

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

I’m writing this at ACM Headquarters where the ACM-W Council is gathering for our annual meeting. We are kicking it off by spending a half-day meeting with various staff who are key support to our Celebration and communication activities. By the time you receive this we will be deep into our discussions of the 2015-2016 year and plans for the coming year.

We have very exciting news this month! Last week the ACM Executive Committee voted unanimously to support the establishment of a working group which will spend the 2016-17 year formulating the charter of a new ACM Council on Diversity and Inclusion. This new council will help make it clear that ACM takes diversity seriously at the highest level of the organization. Stay tuned for more details in the coming 12 months!

This month we have a report from Chapters about the latest awards from our Google-funded collaboration with NCWIT, and info about the next application deadline; information from ACM-W about the upcoming womENcourage conference in September; a report from the Scholarships committee that highlights the wonderful diversity of the scholarship recipients; and a report on the Celebration event in New York City in April.

Our intrepid People of ACM-W group has interviewed Alain Chesnais, former ACM President and strong support of ACM-W and diversity in computing.


If you are involved in a summer technology camp for high school girls during the first week of August, you could arranging a ‘Skype with America’ for 60 secondary school girls at Camp TechKobwa in Rwanda, a project that ACM-W is helping to support. For more information, see both and

The new book “Kicking Butt in Computer Science: Women in Computing at Carnegie Mellon University” tells a story of cultural change and explains how the school has consistently attracted and graduated a higher percentage of female computer science students than the national average. Authors Carol Frieze and Jeria Quesenberry stress that changing culture, not curriculum, is the key to success in developing an environment in which both women and men can thrive and be successful in computer science.

Where’s ACM-W This Month?

In addition to our ACM-W Council meeting at ACM Headquarters, there is an upcoming Celebration event in Valencia, Spain, on July 1. This is part of the exciting expansion of ACM-W activities in Europe. We will have a representative at the CSTA conference in July, and several ACM-W Council members will be at ITiCSE in Arequipa, Peru.

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

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

People of ACM-W

Still settling into his new role as VP Technology of JanusVR for barely a week, Alain Chesnais took the time to chat with us and give us a glimpse of his professional career which spans over thirty years, highlighting his extraordinary contributions in encouraging women in the computing community to fulfill their full potential.

Read an interview with Chesnais here.

News From ACM-W Celebrations

On April 1, 2016, AMC-W, the New York Technology Council (NYTECH) and the CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development (CISDD) presented the First Annual New York City ACM-W Conference for Women Computer Science Students.

The day-long event was hosted by Microsoft at the Microsoft Technology Center in Times Square New York City and was sponsored by Microsoft, Google, Verizon, NY Tech Meetup, and Over 150 students, educators, and professionals attend the event.

The four keynote speakers were Heather Shapiro, Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, Bonnie John, Ph.D., Senior Interaction Designer at Bloomberg, L.P., Judith Spitz, Ph.D., Verizon Executive in Residence at Cornell Tech and former CIO at Verizon, and Margaret Wright, Ph.D., Silver Professor of Computer Science at New York University.

Over 20 moderators and panelists spoke on the topics of career choices, entrepreneurship, and building a network for one’s career.

The day ended with a panel answering questions from the other attendees. The consensus among the attendees, organizers, producers, and sponsors was that the event was very successful. The organizers will start planning next year’s event, the Second Annual New York City ACM-W Conference for Women Computer Science Students presently.

Celebration season is coming to an end for this year and it is time to start planning for 2016/2017. If you are considering organization an ACM-W Celebration in your location, please contact Wendy Powley ( for more information. We can help you get started!

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 for the scholarships. Applications are evaluated in 6 occasions each year, in order to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually 3-6 awards given for each group of applications. 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.

This month we announce the big crop of scholars chosen in April, 2016. This time we were able to offer scholarships to 13 students, from very different places. From Sri Lanka to Brazil, from undergraduate to PhD students, some of our scholars are going to the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO), a traditional favorite (this year in Denver, Colorado), and some are going to Pisa, Italy, to discuss Information Retrieval, at SIGIR 2016. We congratulate Narjess Dali, Jing Yang, Eva Moscovici, Thaina Mariani, Samantha Heck, Vanessa Volz, Qi Chen, Ganesha Weerasinghe, Sahar Hussain, Nevena Dragovic, Hadas Raviv, Elinor Brondwine and Lingxiang Xu. Well done!!! Have fun and learn lots at your conferences and don’t forget to take pictures and write us nice reports.

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 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!

For example, here’s Preeti Saraswat, from the Geentanjali Institute of Technical Studies, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India, visiting the Regional University of Blumenau, FURB, Brazil for the Conference on Complex, Intelligent, Software Intensive Systems (CISIS 2015).

Attending CISIS-2015 conference was a professionally rewarding experience. I gained the knowledge of various new technologies and researches going on in my field. I heard a lot of presentations over there given by researchers from different parts of the world. […] I learned a lot from talking about my work to other researchers, received their ideas and suggestions. […] Over all I found the conference enjoyable and professionally satisfying. I would like to thank ACM-W for supporting me financially for such a nice research experience (Preeti Saraswat, after Complex, Intelligent, Software Intensive Systems (CISIS 2015))

The next application deadline is June 15 for conferences taking place in August and September 2016. For more information and to apply visit: If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Adriana Compagnoni (

News From ACM-W Chapters

This month, we congratulate three of our ACM-W Chapters who won NCWIT Student Seed Fund Amplification grants ($5000), during the first round of Google-sponsored funding.

  • University of Minnesota, Twin Cities will create an internal mentoring program. Upper-level women in computing will mentor entry-level women. The mentoring program focuses on community building and retention of women with CS majors.
  • Miami Dade College will host a four-hour recruitment event: “Technology Is Everywhere”. The event includes a keynote speaker, a networking reception, and small interactive break-out sessions.
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology will create a mentoring program with high school students and will facilitate hands-on activities to promote girls’ interest in technology fields. The group plans to track participating high school students to determine if they pursue technology majors in college.

Congratulations to all three ACM-W Chapters! The deadline for round two of Student Seed Fund awards is June 26. Schools that are members of NCWIT’s Academic Alliance can apply for funding here.

News From ACM-W Europe

ACM-W Europe Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2016 – Second Keynote Speaker Announced

The program committee of ACM-W Europe womENcourage 2016 announces that Gerhard Widmer, a professor at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, where he heads the Institute for Computational Perception, will present a keynote address at the 3rd womENcourage. In addition to his work at JKU, Gerhard also founded and leads the Intelligent Music Processing and Machine Learning Group at the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (OFAI), Vienna. He is a Fellow of the European Association for Artificial Intelligence (EurAI), and the recipient of an ERC Advanced Grant (2015) of the European Research Council. Read more here


  • Intel and ACM-W pull together workshops to teach kids electronics.

    In response to the increasing gap between technical jobs and trained professionals to fill them, Intel and ACM-W Europe have developed a workshop on basic electronics that targets students aged 9-16 with the goal of showing these youngsters the creative possibilities of engineering and programming. Last week, ACM-W Europe conducted this workshop at a Greek International School in Munich, Germany.

    “One thing I learned is that teaching kids is really inspiring for the trainers,” writes Bev Bachmayer, the creator of this innovative workshop, “through the experience of teaching multiple workshops, I am building a set of best known methods for delivery of the workshops.”
    Read more in the ACM-W Europe blog.

  • ACM-W Europe Celebration of Women in Computing

    ACM-W Europe Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2016 ( on September 12-13, 2016 at Johannes Kepler University registraion is open.

    Win a free registration, every 30th registration in June will be awarded a free registration to the conference. Why Wait to Register? Early Registration Ends on June 27, 2016.

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