ACM-W Connections. April 2015

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

There continue to be many exciting events and developments in the ACM-W world! Here’s just a summary to whet your appetite for the material in this month’s newsletter:

  • We are seeing ongoing growth in the number of chapters and are now just shy of 90 worldwide. The newsletter includes information about our new collaboration with NCWIT, funded by Google, to further increase the number of chapters and provide a national infrastructure for U.S. chapters.
  • You can read the report from the first Cuban Celebration of Women in Computing. It was a great success!
  • Very exciting news about the Athena Lecturer Award – thanks to Google, the award has been increased to $25,000, and you can read about the 2015 recipient, Jennifer Widom.
  • Finally, we’ve included a report from one of our scholarship recipients. In the coming months we will start bringing you news more regularly about the scholarship program.

I continue to be amazed by and thankful for the commitment of all of the people who volunteer their time to ensure the success of these ACM-W activities, and I am grateful for the support we get from staff at ACM Headquarters. As you read this month’s newsletter, I am sure that you, too, will appreciate all that these people do to advance ACM-W’s mission and help improve the situation for women in computing.

~Valerie Barr, ACM-W Chair

Awards and Scholarships

  • The ACM-W Athena Lecturer Award

    The ACM-W Athena Lecturer Award celebrates women researchers who have made fundamental contributions to Computer Science. This year’s recipient is Jennifer Widom, noted for her fundamental concepts and architectures of active database systems, a major area of research in the database field today. Active databases allow application developers to embed logic into the database that allows actions to be executed when certain conditions are met. Active database systems have had a major impact on commercial database management systems.

    This Award is an annual award made by the ACM-W, begun in 2006-7. It has honored a number of stellar women in a variety of fields whose nomination packages are put together by their home SIG. The past winners include Deborah Estrin, Karen Spärck Jones, Shafi Goldwasser, Susan Eggers, Mary Jane Irwin, Judith Olson, Nancy Lynch, Katherine Yelick and Susan Dumais. Each winner gives a keynote at the SIG conference of her choice and is awarded a gift from Google Inc., originally at $10,000 and raised to $25,000 this year.

    “Jennifer Widom has had a profound impact on the database field,” said Judith Olson, who heads the ACM-W awards committee. “Her contributions have influenced both the direction of research and of commercial products. But just as important, she is passionate about teaching, be it in the classroom or through her highly successful series of MOOCs.”

  • ACM-W Scholarship Recipient Report

    Sandra Dylus, a Masters candidate in Computer Science at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel received an ACM-W scholarship to attend the International Conference on Functional Programming in Gothenburg, Sweden, in September, 2014. Here is her report.

    Thanks to a scholarship from ACM-W, I had the chance to visit the International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP) in Gothenburg. I am currently writing my master’s thesis in the area of functional programming and plan to continue my academic education as a PhD student afterwards, thus, it was really exciting to attend the most popular conference in that area. The conference was held for three whole days and I attended all sessions; all in all, it was a lot to process, but I got a good insight into current research topics. Additionally, I’ve met a lot of nice people that are interested in functional programming as well, and, hopefully, I will meet up with some of them at other conferences.

    In addition to people of my own level, I had the chance to meet two important women in Computer Science. The local organisers (especially, Ramona Enache from the University of Chalmers – thanks again for your efforts) arranged two meetings for me: one lunch with Kathleen Fisher, a professor at the Computer Science Department at Tufts, who also gave the opening keynote of the conference; the second lunch was with Zena Ariola, a professor at the University of Oregon. Both of them were really friendly and open about their background and academic career. It was very refreshing to here a woman’s opinion on topics in the life of a PhD student. As a bonus, Zena Ariola introduced me to other important people of the community: Matthias Felleisen, Philip Wadler and Patricia Johann.

    In addition to the three conference days of the ICFP, I decided to attend one affiliated event named CUFP, which took place at Saturday, the last day of events around the conference. CUFP is the event for “Commercial Users of Functional Programming” and the third day of the event consisted of talks of people from the industry. It was nice to see both in one week: the usage as well as the associated people of functional programming in academia and industry.

    All in all, I had a great experience attending the ICFP and the talks at CUFP; everybody I talked to was very friendly and encouraging. I am looking forward to continue as a PhD student next year and meet like-minded people at other conferences, since I feel already very welcome in the community.

News From ACM-W Chapters

As the academic year draws to a close, elect new ACM-W Chapters officers and plan for fall 2015. Be sure to honor seniors and also new majors. At DePauw University, our ACM-W Chapter holds a “passing the torch” celebration, giving each woman a rose and asking seniors to give their best advice and tips-for-success to younger women.

ACM-W, Google, and NCWIT Join Forces to Grow and Network ACM-W Chapters

ACM-W proudly announces a new partnership with NCWIT (the National Center for Women & IT) and Google. NCWIT, represented by Ruthe Farmer, recently secured a $500,000 grant from Google to build capacity for our ACM-W Student Chapters Project by:

  • Developing tools and resources for ACM-W Chapters, especially a Chapters-in-a-Box resource
  • Investing funding to expand the NCWIT Student Seed Fund to different levels of Chapter awards, staged for institutions of different sizes and organizations in different stages of development
  • Seeding thirty-five brand new ACM-W Chapters over the course of the next two years
  • Connecting all ACM-W Chapters through a national network
  • Developing a plan for gatherings of ACM-W Chapters officers and members, whether those gatherings co-locate with the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the Richard Tapia Conference, or a future dedicated conference<\li>

NCWIT, Google, and ACM-W announced the new Google grant program at SIGCSE in Kansas City in early March. Details concerning the bullet points above will follow soon. ACM-W considers the grant’s timing to be perfect, as the number of ACM-W chapters has doubled in the last two years. Rapid expansion in the number of chapters is due, in part, to the growth of ACM-W Celebrations and the desires of Celebration attendees to retain the conference energy, momentum, and outcomes until the next conference date by founding new ACM-W Chapters in the regions served by the Celebrations.

News from ACM-W Celebrations

Remarks from the Celebrations project chair

It is difficult to believe that we are fast approaching the conclusion of another academic year. By the end of May there will have been a total of thirteen Celebrations events held around the world, including inaugural events in Cuba (see the report below) and Abu Dhabi. I wish to express my personal thanks to all of the people who worked tirelessly to make these events successful. I also want to thank my Celebrations committee members: Rachelle Kristof Hippler (surveys), Wendy Powley (communications), and Martha Kosa (swag). As the number of Celebrations has grown, their work has become integral to our ability to support this amazing project.

~ Jodi Tims

First Cuban Celebration of Women in Computing – CCWiC 2015

Contributed by Marisniulkis Lescaille Cos, CCWiC-Cuba, Coordinator

The inaugural Cuban Celebration of Women in Computing was held March 24 & 25, 2015, at the University of Information Sciences (UCI) in Havana. More than 75 students, professionals and academics from all over the country convened to promote the work of women in computing. The event was hosted by VenusIT, a local women in computing community.

presented by Dr. Annette Norales Gonzales-Quevedo

The opening address was delivered by Dr. Lizandra Arza Pérez, director of Research at UCI and Wendy Powley, ACM-W representative. The first keynote of the conference, “Fuzzy Cognitive Maps for Decision Making”, was presented by Dr. Karina Pérez Teruel, UCI professor. This was followed by several presentations highlighting the work of students, professionals and academics in diverse areas of computing, many of which focused on mobile and security applications to address problems in the University and the country. The afternoon of the first day included a video presentation by the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Ndozi Adichie entitled “The Danger of a Single Story”, followed by the second keynote “3D Virtual Environments for Education” by Enis Blanca Cuba. The day concluded with a panel on closing the gender gap in computing. “Equality in opportunities is what we must be looking for”, said Dr. Annette Morales González-Quevedo from the Cenatav Advanced Technologies Application Center in closing a very productive and rewarding journey.

The second day of the conference started early with the presentation of Presentation by Dr. Annette Morales González-Quevedo
the book Gender, Code and Youth, Building More Inclusive Societies, by Yarina Amoroso. The morning session continued with more student, professional, and academic presentations followed by a game where teams competed to recognize notable Cuban and international women in computing, science and history. The conference concluded with a luncheon, during which awards were presented for best paper (Msc Rosalba Carralero Medina), best engineering solution by a woman (Alisbet Fernández Rojas), significant social impact by a woman (Maidelis Machado Díaz) and best student paper (Yanet Riquelme Santiago and Claudia Pío Morón).


  • OurCS 2015 Registration Open! Carnegie Mellon’s Research-focused Workshop for Undergrad Women in Computer Science

    Registration Now Open for OurCS 2015! Opportunities for Undergraduate Research In Computer Science

    OurCS (Opportunities for Undergraduate Research In Computer Science) 2015 is a 3 day research-focused workshop for undergraduate women in CS School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, October 23-25, 2015.

    The workshop will give undergraduate women opportunities to:

    • Meet others who share their curiosity and interest in computer science
    • Tackle hands-on research problems
    • Learn about life in graduate school
    • Present a talk/poster: great for first-timers!
    • Great speakers and panels!

    Attendees will work in a small team led by faculty or industry researcher. After registering, attendees choose their top 3 research choices, which are listed at

    $50 Registration fee includes 3 nights hotel and all meals! To learn more details and to register, see the website at For a preview, read about the about the 2011 OurCS workshop in the ACM-W 2011 Winter Newsletter: CMU School of Computer Science Workshop Inspires Young Women from the USA and Beyond to Explore Research in ComputingWorkshop sponsored by Carnegie Mellon’s School of Computer Science, Oracle, Capital One, Carnegie Mellon Qatar, and Women@SCS

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