ACM-W Connections – November, 2014

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

Welcome to the November issue of ACM-W Connections. Our issue is a bit small this month, but well worth reading all the same: wonderful news about the new ACM-W chapter at Pacific University, a write-up about the poster competition winners from our ACM-W Celebrations of Women in Computing, and a very comprehensive article by Kathryn McKinley about building your research community. Kathryn’s article has information for researchers at all levels, from graduate student on up.

In other news, Big Dream film premiered last week, and the Big Dream Movement site is live. Please check it out at ACM-W is a supporter of this effort to help provide girls with examples of people like them who have followed “their passion in science, math, computing & engineering”. Check it out, and consider hosting a screening for a group of girls near you!

There were two ACM-W Celebrations in October, one in Ontario, Canada, and one in the Rocky Mountain region, US. We hope to have reports about these in our December issue of ACM-W Connections.

On a personal note, I was happy to be able to attend last week’s ACM event that followed the announcement that, henceforth, Turing Award laureates will receive $1 million. The program included a showing of the new film about Turing, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. If you are planning to see it, skip to the next paragraph now! I liked the film, but it isn’t perfect. The important role of women codebreakers is reduced to a single character. And Turing, as brilliant as he was, is portrayed as much more of a hardware genius than seems warranted. I also thought they went a little ahistorical at the end. They have Turing building a computer in his flat in Manchester. I’m a software person, but am I wrong to think that nobody in 1951 would have sufficient electricity service in their flat to run a computer? If you see the film, let me know what you think.

Finally, if you are on Facebook, please Like the ACM-W page, We put up a lot of links to current stories about women in computing and women in technology. There’s a lot of activity these days with many groups generating interesting information and interventions.

Thanks, as always, for supporting ACM-W and women in computing. More next month…..

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

Articles of interest

From Graduate Student to Fellow: Research Community, Membership Levels, and Recognition

Kathryn S McKinley, a Principle Researcher at Microsoft, discusses the importance of joining the Computer Science Professional Societies (AAAI, ACM, IEEE, and USENIX) here.

News From ACM-W Chapters

ACM-W Chapters People, be sure to share your chapter stories on the ACM-W Chapters Facebook page. Here’s a message from our wonderful Ron Tenison in Oregon – long-time supporter of ACM-W:


“I just wanted to share with you a little about the new ACM-W chapter at Pacific University. They have outstanding support in the form of faculty advisor Shereen Khoja, but it was the chapter officers running the program.   They formed a chapter last spring and got a scholarship for the president (Alexandrea Beh) to attend GHC last month.  They also got an Academic Alliance grant for outreach.  This is a great group of hard working young women, and they have doubled the number of women in the CS Program (and chapter) in a year.  Two weeks ago, they hosted a chapter outreach event using that grant money.  It was a very successful afternoon that included a panel of speakers from local industry, a career fair, a mixer challenge, and dinner with the speakers.  About 50-60 people attended.  They hosted our Regional Aspirations Award winning girls from last spring (the ones still in high school).  They also invited the girls from the local community colleges and neighboring high schools.  I was invited to host an NCWIT / ACM-W information table at the event.  It was well run student-planned event that we can all be proud of.”

ACM-W Celebrations

Many of the ACM-W Celebration events include poster competitions which give undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to present their research and project work. During the 2013-2014 academic year, ten Celebrations held poster competitions. We congratulate the following winners!

Undergraduate Division

Xinjie GuanUniversity of Missouri – Kansas City
Lalla MouatadidUniversity of Toronto
Kylie ModenTrinity University
Safurah Abdul JalilUniversity of Auckland
Ashley ConardDepauw University
Ashley ConardDepauw University
Jheanelle LintonJohnson C. Smith University
Farheen AzamVirginia Commonwealth University
Miranda ParkerHarvey Mudd College
Toni JacksonTransylvania University
Monir HajiaghayiUniversity of British Columbia

Graduate Division

Tara Michels-ClarkUniversity of Tennessee-Knoxville
Giulia FranchiIndiana University
Berthel TateBowie State University
Mahsa BadamiUniversity of Louisville

ACM-W provided sponsorships for nine of these women to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, which was held in Phoenix, AZ on October 8th-10th. Another of the winners had funding for GHC from another source. While in Phoenix, the women were invited guests at the ACM-W Reception where there was opportunity for them to meet many ACM-W Council members and other guests. We are very appreciative of the volunteers who help judge the poster competitions at the Celebration events. This is an important part of the Celebration because it is very rewarding to the students who present their work, and informative for the rest of the conference attendees. ACM-W is happy to be able to help bring some of these extraordinary young women to Grace Hopper each year.


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