ACM-W Connections. November 2016

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

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

This month we have a report from ACM-W Europe, focused on the womENcourage 2016 event, held recently in Linz, Austria. Meanwhile, ACM-W India was very busy with AICWiC, the All-India Celebration of Women in Computing. The scholarship committee reports on the most recent round of applications. The chapters committee reports on the latest round of NCWIT Student Seed Fund awards to support the formation and activities of U.S.-based ACM-W chapters – if you have been thinking of applying but need some inspiration, check out the list of new awards to see what these schools are doing.

Our People of ACM-W team has interviewed Denise Gürer. While the interview text does not include this, I want to make special note of the fact that Denise played a very important role in the early days of ACM-W, serving as co-chair for a number of years and providing important leadership. We thank her for her role then and all of the work she has done for women in computing over the years.

Meanwhile, we had a good deal of ACM-W activity at the Grace Hopper Conference. We talked with the many people who came by the booth. Many of us supported CRA-W in some fashion, either by presenting in one of their sessions or helping out with their Student Opportunity Lab program. Jakita Thomas, the special ACM speaker, gave a great talk on Supporting Computational Algorithmic Thinking, a project that focuses on how African American middle-school girls develop computational algorithmic thinking capabilities in the context of designing games for social change.

Our next ACM Celebration of Women in Computing will be the Womenpower Symposium, November 16, in Limassol, Cyprus.

Thanks, as always, for your work on behalf of women in computing! Let us know what you are up to – even better, send us a report of activities in which you are involved so that we can include them in ACM-W Connections!

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

People of ACM-W

Dr. Denise Gürer is an experienced science teacher, computer scientist, and physicist who has taught at the K-12 and university levels. She is an Ocean Grove Charter School Vendor, teaches at Coyote Grange and A-TEAM, and is an adjunct instructor at Cabrillo Community College in physics. In her life before teaching, she co-founded TerraVert, an online service that provides hands-on environmentally focused science experiments. She also worked in the high-tech industry at LightCloud Software, 3Com Corporation, and SRI International in areas of education research, artificial intelligence, and data networking.

Dr. Gürer received a Ph.D. and M.S. in computer science from Lehigh University and a M.S. in physics, also from Lehigh University. Denise is active locally as a Science Fair organizer and Santa Cruz County Science Fair judge. She was a leader of an energetic Girl Scout Troop in Scotts Valley for eight years and currently volunteers at the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter. Most importantly Denise believes in the joy of learning and is constantly exploring new horizons with her students.

This month, we feature Dr. Denise Gürer in our People of ACM-W series. Read an interview with Gürer here.

News From ACM-W Celebrations

This month we report on AICWIC, the All-India Celebration of Women in Computing event that took place on October 6-7th, 2016, at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India. This event featured an on-line programming competition, a hands-on coding bootcamp, a faculty summit, posters, presentations, speakers and a cultural program.

Technical skills were put to the test at AICWIC. Leading up to the event, 600 girls from across India participated in an on-line national programming competition. The final 10 contestants were invited to the Celebration for the final round of the competition. In addition to the programming competition, ACM-W collaborated with “IAmPower – Women In STEM” initiative by IIT Bombay to hold a Python bootcamp at AICWIC in which 100 girls participated.

The Faculty Summit was attended by 40 female faculty members. Dr. Arati M. Dixit, Vice-Chair, iSIGCSE (India SIGCSE) gave a brief introduction to various activities being implemented by iSIGCSE. Dr. Margaret Burnett, Distinguished Professor, Oregon State University, and ACM DSP, delivered a talk on “Research Experiences for Undergraduates: Best Practices”. A panel discussion on “Handling Career Breaks Gracefully,‟ moderated by Dr. Sheila Anand, and members- Dr. Margaret Burnett, Dr. Arati M. Dixit, Dr. Susheela Dhahiya, Dr. Nilima Salankar, was enlightening, with great participation from the audience.

The main program, AICWiC 2016, was inaugurated with traditional lamp lighting by the dignitaries. Dr. Neelu Ahuja, Dean UPES, welcomed all of the 200 participants. Dr. Sheila Anand, Chairperson, ACM-W India discussed the ACM-W India initiatives and inspired the audience. Dr. Arati M. Dixit, ACM-W India Executive council Member talked about Women Empowerment. Dr. Margaret Burnett, an ACM DSP, delivered a talk on “Is our software gender-inclusive?‟. In this talk, she explained 5 facets of gender inclusiveness in software and how they tie to a large body of foundational work from computer science, psychology, education, communications, and women’s studies. She also presented emerging work on our GenderMag method, an inspection method that encapsulates these 5 facets into practitioner-ready form. Ms. Divya K Konoor, IBM India gave a talk on the Openstack Cloud.

The picture shows the winners of the programming competition, the best paper/posters, and the online photo contest.

If you would like more information on this event or would like to organize an event in your area, please contact Wendy Powley ( We can help you get started!

News From ACM-W Chapters

During the spring (2016) round of NCWIT Student Seed Fund awards, the following schools became Amplification Award Winners ($5,000).

  • Drexel University plans to expand its mentoring program to provide underclasswomen with a meaningful contact within the college who can empathize with the unique challenges posed to women in STEM.
  • Florida Atlantic University will enlarge its Exam Week Support and College Day programs, as well as host a Welcome Back Social for students.
  • Tennessee Technological University will organize a monthly professional development session where it will expose members to various techniques and trends in the computing field, with an emphasis on cybersecurity.
  • University of Florida will travel to local middle and high schools to provide education to the Gainesville youth that want to learn how to write code and create a community of Gainesville female computer scientists.

Congratulations to our sister ACM-W Chapters! Stay tuned for round four of the Student Seed Fund awards. Schools that are members of NCWIT’s Academic Alliance can apply for funding 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 for a scholarship. Applications are evaluated at 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 scholars chosen in November, 2016. After the many conferences and applications for the aummer months, this round usually has fewer applicants. This time we were able to offer scholarships to three students. Our scholars are going to Spain, Japan, and Washington DC, for conferences in Data Mining, Design Automation and Global Communications. We offer our congratulations to Ayushi Dalmia, Varsha Agarwal and Maryamsadat Jalalitabar, chosen as our scholars in this round. Well done!!! Have fun and learn lots at your conferences and don’t forget to take pictures and write us nice reports with details of what you saw, enjoyed and learned.

The committee that judges these scholarships changes from time to time and this month we are happy to welcome Magie Hall from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Having members of the judging committee from different parts of the country and of the world is one of our goals.

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!

The next application deadline is December 15 for conferences taking place in February and March 2017. 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 Europe

In September of 2016 ACM-W Europe sponsored two events which discussed diversity and change. The event on September 12 and 13, ACM Europe Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2016, brought together academia and industry to learn and understand issues in diversity. The second event occurred in Belgrade, Serbia on 24 September in conjunction with EuroBSDcon 2016. When looking at the gender of the attendees these two demonstrate the issue of women in technology. The first event, which was billed as a women in computing event, was attended by approximately 97% women, and the second, which was for the BSD community, demonstrates the typical “TECH” event and was attended by 97% men. Our mission strives to change both of these to be closer to 50/50 in the future.

Read the blog about “Increasing Diversity in the BSD community” here.

ACM-W Europe Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2016

On September 12th and 13th in Linz, Austria academia and industry came together to celebrate diversity in computing. The event was attended by students from 19 countries, with 60% of the attendees being students, and 61% of the students being graduate students. You can watch the videos, check out the pictures and read the blog about the event

WomENcourage 2016 Supporters:
GOOGLE, SIGPLAN, Bloomberg, Oracle Academy, Informatics Europe, Intel and FreeBSD.

ACM-W Europe and all of the scholarship students are very thankful for our supporters. Each of these companies provided the possibility for 50 students to attend womENcourage 2016. In addition they provided people to staff the career fair which gave many of these students their first opportunity to talk about careers with employers and academics. From the evaluation feedback this is the most valuable part of the event. Therefore we thank our supporters for not only the possibility for students to travel but also for their time spent with these students.


  • 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