Above and Beyond Scholarship – Dilrukshi Gamage, PhD
Year of Scholarship and Conference Attendance: ICCE (International Conference on Computers in Education) 2014 Nara, Japan
Country of Origin: Sri Lanka
Country of residence at the time of receiving the ACM-W Scholarship: Sri Lanka
Dr Dilrukshi Gamage is a postdoctoral fellow at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT) working on a multidisciplinary infodemic project funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (CREST JST). Her research primarily intersects with Computational Social Science and Human-Computer Interactions. She is a core member advocating and promoting HCI activities in South Asia. She has extensive research experience working with multiple collaborative projects around the world and also serves in leading roles in many professional bodies such as IEEE and ACM. She is on the program committee of many top-tier HCI conferences such as ACM CHI, CSCW, and UIST. Dilrukshi has been awarded numerous fellowships and awards during her PhD such as being recognized as a Future Digileader at the Digitalize in Stockholm, Sweden 2020, Rising Stars by the UC Berkeley, USA 2020, Young Researcher at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, Germany 2017, and recipient of competitive fellowships such as Google WTM, Anita B. Org Grace Hopper Conference scholarship. ACM SIGCHI Gary Marsden Scholarship, ACM-W scholarship, IEEE Women in Engineering scholarships, and many more.
What has been a highlight of attending the conference (utilizing the ACM-W Scholarship)?
It was my first ever scholarship. Pursuing my PhD.in Sri Lanka, I thought I would never be able to travel and take part in any of my dream conferences. But ACW-W made my dream come true; it was my first conference as a PhD student, and I made a lot of connections through the conference. Thereafter, I received many other scholarships, but receiving that first, as breaking the ice is much harder. I am so thankful for the ACM-W recognition and the value and opportunity given to underrepresented women in tech.
How did attending the ACM-W-sponsored conference impact your career?
The recognition from the professional body ACM made me stand out from others. It certainly added value to my profile.
What has been your career highlight? What are you most proud of?
I am most proud to be selecting the academic path as my career. It was not an easy decision, but I found my passion in doing research, teaching and mentoring young students. I am super proud of achieving many recognitions for empowering young female students throughout my career.
What aspects of your career have you found challenging?
Sometimes, it has been challenging for me to make career decisions because of my family and children. For example, some projects require extensive travelling and consume much more time than usual, leading to compromising time spent with family.
What would you recommend to young people thinking of a career in computing?
I would highlight the importance of knowledge and networking. No matter which university or institution you are graduating from, it is important to know the leaders of the field you are passionate about. Follow their life stories, you will be amazed to know how novice they were before they became pioneers.
Anything else you would like to share with us that we can highlight about your story?
I would certainly highlight the need to make a safer environment for women to fail, learn and succeed. It’s important for female leaders to mentor and provide guidance to younger females to thrive in their passion.