ACM-W Connections. December 2016

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

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

This month we have a report from the Celebrations committee, focused on the womenpower 2016 event, held recently in Cyprus. We have announcements from ACM-W Europe and from the Chapters committee, and a great update from the Scholarships committee.

For the last two years, ACM-W has been supporting the TechKobwa Camp, a summer camp for girls in Rwanda. The program is organized and led by Laurie Dillon at Michigan State University. We’ve just heard from Laurie that a dozen MSU students recently took time during their finals week to share their aspirations, challenges for women in STEM, what inspires them, how to have confidence, their hobbies, and even some songs with 60 female secondary-school students in Rwanda, who are attending the first TechKobwa Camp to be held in winter. In their turn, TechKobwa students told the MSU students about what they are learning at TechKobwa, the Rwanda educational system, gender equity in Rwanda, their plans for their futures, and much more–including singing and showing a traditional dance. TechKobwa organizers thank ACM-W for support through the past several years. See more at

The next month is a bit quiet for ACM-W, with no celebrations coming up until our event in Perm, Russia, on January 20th. As we head toward 2017, many of us may be feeling a bit of political and economic uncertainty, but I sincerely hope that everyone will redouble their efforts to work for increased diversity in computing. I wish you a great start to 2017, and thank you for what you already do 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

News From ACM-W Celebrations

Over 200 participants from Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Poland, and USA attended the Womenpower Symposium 2016 that took place at the Cyprus University of Technology on the 16th of November. Womenpower aimed to support and empower women in their professional development in technology related areas. The event was organized by the ACM-Women Cyprus, with the support of Association for Computing Machinery on Women (ACM-W), Fulbright, and the Cyprus Computer Society (CCS).

With an eye toward encouraging children, teenagers, and adults to choose the exciting opportunities offered in the area of technology and defy stereotypes about the role of women in the digital technology industry, the symposium included three keynote talks, practical workshops, short presentations and poster presentations. The event provided an opportunity for both male and female students, young entrepreneurs, and professionals to attend practical workshops on developing entrepreneurial skills, creating their CV, preparing for job interviews as well as networking opportunities. The closing of the seminar was entitled “International Perspectives in the User Experience” with keynote speakers from industry and academia. Speakers were Sofia Chebanova, Lead User Experience Researcher of, and Darelle van Greunen, professor at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, and Andri Ioannou, assistant professor at the Cyprus University of Technology.

The women empowerment symposium, Womenpower, is one of the programs through which ACM-Women Cyprus, Fulbright and Association for Computing Machinery on Women (ACM-W), invests in the education of young women in creating a base of future employees ready to confront the challenges of the global economy.

Check out the ACM-W website for an upcoming ACM Celebration near you. If you are interested in organization a Celebration, please contact Wendy Powley ( and we will help you get started!

News From ACM-W Chapters

As we close the calendar year, and students and faculty members prepare to enjoy a much needed semester break, ACM-W Chapters wishes all of its members a happy 2017! At the conclusion of 2012, there were 45 chapters. Four years later, we have almost four times the 2012 number of chapters, since our website shows 163 chapters around the world. We have chapters in every temperate continent except Australia. See:

If you are not in an area or school with a chapter, consider starting a student or professional chapter now!

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.

After the many applications for conferences in late summer and fall we have several accumulated reports. This month we highlight five students and their presentations, which shows the diversity of the scholarship recipients. We offer our congratulations to Soumya Dash, Thainá Mariani, Sahar Kausar, Priscilla Lee, and Samantha Heck. Soumya, Thainá, Sahar, Priscilla, and Samantha are all undergraduates. This time we are showcasing undergraduates, even if PhD and graduate students in general tend to be the majority of our applicants. Well done every one!!! It looks like you all have had fun, as well as learning much in your conferences.

Soumya pictured here left, an undergraduate from Indiana University, Indianapolis, USA says “This conference [Chi 2016] was immensely helpful to me in enabling me to witness the variety of research that is going on in the field of HCI. […] I was able to meet a lot of companies focusing on Eye Tracking technology, which are otherwise very difficult to get in touch with. My major takeaways were from the opening and the closing keynotes which focused on the theme for this year “#chi4good” to see “how HCI tools and methods can be used to help the under-served, under-resourced, and under- represented”. Good job Soumya, looking forward to see what you come up with to help the under-served!

Thainá Mariani, a Ph.D. student, came to Denver, CO, USA from the University of Paraná, in Brazil, for the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO). She says “Attending GECCO was the best professional and cultural experience I have ever had. […]The experience of presenting my paper at GECCO was really amazing. I met researchers from around the world and we discussed our works, even the ones of different research fields. [..]My mentor was very kind and helped me in every possible way. ”

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!

Sahar Kausar, another undergraduate, from the University of Florida, Computer & Information Science & Engineering, went to to SIGGRAPH 2016, in Anaheim, California and sent us this picture.

She says “Attending SIGGRAPH 2016 was truly a dream come true for me as it was a conference that I had wanted to attend since I was a young girl. This dream was made a reality for me when I received a scholarship through the ACM-W Scholarship committee and a sponsorship from the University of Florida CISE department.” Excellent Sahar, now you can work on your other dreams!

Meanwhile Samantha Heck, an undergraduate in Computer Science at the University of Ohio who also attended GECCO, writes to us “I am so grateful that I was able to attend GECCO. The conference was exhausting, informative, and fun. Over the course of the conference, I learned so much. I was introduced to new topics and ideas and I saw the breadth to which evolutionary computation applied. I attended tutorials and workshops about using evolutionary computation to solve problems in cryptology, network engineering, and security, fields which I hadn’t ever connected EC to before. […]I also ended up with a possible internship opportunity for next summer that I’m really excited about.”

We have many such letters and reports of great fun, accomplishments, and gratitude from our scholarship winners. The hard thing when compiling the report for this newsletter is to decide who to choose, as every one of the scholarship winners seems great in their own different ways.

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 Febuary 15 for conferences taking place in April and May 2017. For more information and to apply visit: If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Adriana Compagnoni,


  • Up-coming Events in Europe
      • The ACM and HiPEAC Communities: Increasing Diversity and Getting Better Results– #HiPEAC2017 Stockholm, Sweden, 23-25 January 2017
        ACM Women in Computing Europe will host a Birds of a Feather session at the HiPEAC 2017 conference. Bev Bachmayer and Virginia Grande lay out some of the challenges facing the move towards a better gender balance in our field and what we can all do to benefit from a more diverse and strengthened community. Join us at the BOF on 25th of January in Stockholm, Sweden.


      • Save the Date: womENcourage 2017 Celebration of Women in Computing September 6-8, 2017, BARCELONA SPAIN
        Keynotes, Hackathon, Workshops, Posters, Tech Talks and Panels, JOIN US.


    • Apply to Attend the Heidelberg Forum
      The Heidelberg Laureate Forum was created by the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the Heidelberg Institute of Theoretical Studies, ACM, and Letters to provide an opportunity for young researchers to spend a week with winners of the Turing Award, Abel Prize, Nevanlinna Prize, and Fields Medal. To date four forums have been held (2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016), and all have been viewed as a major success by the 40 laureates and 200 young researchers in computer science and mathematics who attended each forum. Details can be found at Fifth Heidelberg Laureate Forum will be held September 24-29, 2017.
      To be considered for the Heidelberg Forum, young researchers can either apply directly to the International Mathematical Union, and the Norwegian Academy of Science, or be nominated by a colleague (or professor, mentor or manager) who can attest to the quality of their work. Nominations will likely carry a bit more weight within the selection process and can be made at but require ACM-specific credentials. If you or a colleague would like to make a nomination, the ACM “Organization Number” is ACM72967. Applications and nominations must be completed by February 14, 2017.
  • 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