ACM-W Connections – September 2017

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

Summer is waning and a new academic year has begun.  After a much deserved break, the volunteers of ACM-W have hit the ground running with lots of activity already underway.  Here are some of the highlights, which are followed by full articles from ACM-W Europe, the Celebrations Committee, the Chapters Committee, and the Scholarships Committee.

ACM-W Volunteer News
Welcome Jen Goodall to the Communications Committee of ACM-W.  Jen will be assisting Melanie Wu with the production of this newsletter every month, which will allow Melanie to redirect some of her efforts to organizing those who have stepped forward as volunteers to increase our social media presence.  I’ll be bringing more about that effort in a future month’s newsletter, but thanks to those who answered the call for volunteers!

Natasa Millic-Frayling has been named chair of the ACM-W Europe Committee, replacing Reyyan Ayfer who has moved into the ACM-W Vice Chair role this year.  Natasa is excited to continue the great work of ACM-WE and we are pleased to have her on board.

womENcourage 2017
I have just returned from Barcelona and my first opportunity to attend womEncourage, the all Europe Celebration of Women in Computing.  This newsletter contains a full report from that event, but I would like to relate a little of my experience in attending the event.

I was asked to conduct a workshop on starting ACM Celebrations and ACM-W Student Chapters.  I was overwhelmed with the response to the workshop – it filled to capacity and had a long waiting list!  The attendees were eager participants, asking many questions and clearly having a strong interest in spearheading the creation of new Chapters and Celebrations in their home regions.  The enthusiasm of those in the room was infectious and I was reminded of the importance of Celebrations in supporting our undergraduate and graduate students.

I especially want to give a shout out to three individuals.  Taras Panchenko is an Associate Professor and Natalie Lytvyniuk a student at Taras Shevchenko National University, Kiev, Ukraine.  Taras and Natalie were key organizers of the first Ukranian ACM Celebration that was held in May 2017.  Aylin Cakal is a student at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey who served as the president of her ACM-W Student Chapter and helped organize the first Ankara Celebration that occurred in March, 2017.  Taras, Natalie and Aylin related the successes and challenges they faced while organizing their respective Celebrations.  They also added ideas of events that ACM/ACM-W Student Chapters can do throughout the year.  The input of these individuals was the icing on the cake for the workshop and I am most grateful for their willingness to participate and the opportunity I had to get to know them.

More good news for an ACM-W Chapters Best Officer Award winner
Mahum Tariq (Nust ACM-W Chapter, Islamabad, Pakistan), a recipient of an ACM-W Chapters Best Officer award, was one of 12 scholars from Southeast Asia selected to receive a Google Women Techmakers Scholarships.  The scholarship award covers Mahum’s educational expenses for the 2017-2018 academic year and entitled her to attend a Google Scholars’ Retreat in Seoul South Korea in July.  Congratulations Mahum!

Update from Stawa University
The good work in Uganda continues as students from Stawa University travel to various settings within Uganda to teach basic computer skills to women in poor urban and remote rural areas of the country.  The chapter advisor, Laurence L. Maka reports, “Our students have continued to religiously go to the women in various settings to teach them basic computer skills. The difference this has made in the lives of those who have taken the classes is very gratifying, at different levels. We are working on establishing a consistent way of documenting and sharing these activities for others to rejoice with us.”

Updated ACM policy against discrimination and harassment
ACM has recently posted its policy against discrimination and harassment on the ACM web site (https://www.acm.org/special-interest-groups/volunteer-resources/officers-manual/policy-against-discrimination-and-harassment).   All ACM-W events should publicize the link to this policy and expect that attendees will adhere to it.

A final note
We love hearing about the many activities that are occurring under the umbrella of ACM-W.  If you have something you would like to share, please feel free to contact me (jltims@bw.edu) and I’ll be happy to help you get your news out to the ACM-W community.

Thanks for standing with us as we work to fulfill our mission.

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

News from ACM-W Celebrations

After a break for the summer, Celebration season is upon us once again!  We have more than 30 Celebrations in the works for the coming year with organizers across the world planning gatherings that celebrate and advocate for diversity in technology.   Celebrations were off to an early start with WomenENcourage taking place in Barcelona Spain (September 6-8) and AICWiC held in Chennai India (September 11-13th).

An ACM Celebration typically involves keynote speakers, workshops, panels, student presentations and posters, and a career fair.   Attendees have a chance to network, learn and share.  ACM-W supports these events with funding (in partnership with Microsoft), web site hosting, handling of finances and guidance based on years of practice.

If you have never been to an ACM Celebration make this the year to try it!  Costs are low, benefits are great!

Upcoming Celebrations include:

If you would like more information on any of these events or would like to organize an event in your area, please contact Wendy Powley, the Chair of the Celebrations Committee (wendy@cs.queensu.ca). We can help you get started!

News from ACM-W Chapters

For us in academia, the start of the new school year is the perfect time for resolutions. Why wait until Jan. 1?  The Chapters Committee of the ACM-W has set some ambitious goals for the coming academic year. At the top of our list is improved communication.

Our chapters do amazing things but too often no one hears about them. We want to change that and we need your help.  Doing something cool? Post to the ACM-W Chapters Facebook page. Your activities can provide inspiration to others! And every month we’ll feature the best of chapters’ activities on our new ACM-W Chapters web page. At the end of the academic year we’ll make a Best Chapter Event award to recognize the chapter whose work most inspires us.

Need money for networking activities? Every quarter we award grants of up to $300 to 3-5 chapters to support networking events. Look for our next call for proposals from our networking team, Lindsay and Alan Jamieson. It will be out soon!

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.

This month we have the pleasure of  granting nine hopeful students scholarships to attend their requested conferences. Three of them are undergraduate students, four  are graduate students, doing Master’s degrees and two are doing their doctorates.

Four of the students are going to Super Computing, the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis happening in Denver, Colorado, this November. Clearly High Performance Computing  (HPC) is on the mind of students. Two undergraduates ( Anwesha Das , from North Carolina State University and  Shubbhi Tanej (from Auburn University, AL), a masters’ student (Sneha Tilak, from Indiana University at Bloomington) and a phd student (O. Christianah Akinduyite, from the Federal University of Technolog, in Akure, Nigeria) are heading that way. One undergraduate scholar (Santhoshini Gongidi, from the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Sri City, India) is going to the International Conference of Document Analysis and Recognition in Kyoto, Japan. Another  undergraduate scholar (Julia Woodward, from the University of Florida, FL) is going to the ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction (ICMI’2017), in Scotland, UK. And the PhD student Aishat Aloba, from the University of Florida, Gainesville, FL is going to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for Computer-Human Interaction in Play, CHI Play. The last two scholars (Mili Singh, from the Illinois Institute of Technology, IL), and Jazette Johnson (from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN) are going to the 18th Annual Conference on Information Technology Education/6th Annual Conference on Research in Information Technology (RIIT),  and the 19th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, Baltimore, Maryland, respectively. Well done every one!!! We hope you all will have plenty of fun, and learn a lot at your respective conferences.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by 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 October 15 for conferences taking place in December 2017 and January 2018. For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/ .  If you have any questions, please contact  the scholarship committee chair Prof. Adriana Compagnoni, Adriana.Compagnoni@stevens.edu

News from ACM-W Europe

A big highlight this year is the generosity of our supporters SIGOPS, SIGCHI, HP, Accenture, Intel, Google, Oracle Academy, Bloomberg, Sopra Steria, Informatics Europe, Microsoft, Everis, Inria, Thoughtworks, Amazon Development Center, InfomaTICS. Their generosity allowed us to grant seventy-two Travel Scholarships to participants from 19 different countries. The scholarship participants pay it forward by volunteering their helping hands to keep the event running smoothly. Working together we are able to make this happen.

We began by getting warmed up with a hackathon. Supported by Intel, the 60 participants were quite busy the opening day creating prototypes from the Sparkfun Inventor’s Kits that Intel provided, resulting in 10 demonstrated projects targeted at improving the local environment. We heard that they liked being able to collaborate and learn new things (hardware), they enjoyed the team spirit and building new relationships.

Workshops and the career fair filled the second day of the event. Seven different workshops offered many opportunities, for example a CodeCon workshop presented by Bloomberg, or about the Greenfoot development environment which can be used in teaching? Accenture presented the workshop ‘From personalization to data and beyond, where ACM delivered a Celebrations of Women in Computing workshop and Women in HPC presented an introduction to HPC programming.

Following the workshops, HP, Accenture, Google, Oracle Academy, Bloomberg, Sopra Steria, Everis,Thoughtworks, and Amazon Development Center, as well as the HIPEAC Jobs portal participated in the Career Fair. The attendees were keen to speak with the company representatives and to find out about job opportunities and internships at each of the companies. The friendly discussions with the company representatives informed the attendees about jobs and careers. Learning directly from the source on what might be a great career path.

Seventy-four posters were available during the poster session times. The diversity, number of topics and depth of each of the research topics provided the opportunity to connect through common interests. Each of the posters as well as their abstracts will be posted here.

It’s difficult to sum up in a few words the entire day on Friday. Two hundred and six attendees from 31 different countries attended over the 3 days. We hear from the participants that it was amazing, inspiring, and fun. Here are a few examples of the great final day of womENcourage 2017.