ACM-W Connections – September 2018

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair 

The start of a new year for the projects of ACM-W brings such a sense of excitement!  Hopefully August provided an opportunity for our many volunteers to take a relaxing break and rejuvenate for what lies ahead as this promises to be another active year for our Celebrations, Chapters and Scholarships projects.

As we kick things off this September, we have a few changes on our ACM-W Council that I’d like to highlight.

  • Many thanks to departing committee chairs Adriana Compagnoni (Scholarships) and Lissa Clayborn (K-12). Adriana will continue to serve as a reviewer for scholarship applications and we much appreciate her dedicated service to that project.  Lissa is moving on to other opportunities and we wish her nothing but the best in her future endeavors.
  • A warm welcome is extended to Viviana Bono, an Associate Professor at Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy. Viviana will be chair of the Scholarships program.  We are grateful for her willingness to step into this role and look forward to working with her going forward.

Reminder: Participate in the Global Survey project

It is important that the Computer Science community have a strong representation in the global survey being conducted by the project A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing, and Natural Sciences (https://icsugendergapinscience.org).  The goal is to collect responses from 45,000 scientists worldwide.  Participation is not limited by gender and all undergraduate students, graduate students and professionals who have worked in computing are encouraged to respond. The survey will take approximately 15 minutes of your time to complete and can be accessed in one of seven languages, by visiting http://statisticalresearchcenter.org/global18. Please encourage your colleagues and peers to do the same. 

ACM-W at GHC

Once again, ACM-W will have a booth in the exhibit hall at GHC 2018.  This year’s conference in Houston, TX is expecting more than 20,000 attendees.  If you are one of them, please come by our booth (#7816) and say hello!

Other ACM-W News

This newsletter also includes the following from our project committees:

  • The Student Chapters report introduces five newly formed chapters and also announces a new social media campaign that will enable chapter members to share their stories of their journey in computing.
  • The inaugural meeting of the Northwest Ohio ACM-W Chapter is highlighted in the Professional Chapters report. Congratulations on this milestone event!
  • The Celebrations report features information about conferences on deck for the month of October, which includes womENcourage 2018. The ACM-W Europe report presents program information for the conference.
  • Aruquia Peixoto, SIG Liaison on the ACM-W Council, provides two reports on her recent participation at ACM SIGGRAPH and the (WM)2 World Meeting for Women in Mathematics.
  • Finally, Liesbeth De Mol provides a report from the Computability in Europe conference, for which ACM-W was a sponsor.

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

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

ACM SIGGRAPH Welcomes Diversity and Inclusion Committee

ACM SIGGRAPH was held in Vancouver, BC from August 12-16 for the third time with an attendance of more than 16,500 attendees at the convention center. The SIGGRAPH organization added a new standing committee this year. The committee has a focused on diversity and inclusion (D&I) which is a priority for the organization and the conferences. One of the activities the organization partnered with the Vancouver conference on was to host a Summit that presented attendees with an opportunity to learn and share on how diversity and inclusion adds value to employees and organizations.

During the first day of SIGGRAPH 2018, on August 12, ACM SIGGRAPH Diversity and Inclusion Summit, starting at 9:00am with a Welcome by the ACM SIGGRAPH President Jessica Hodgins who set the stage as to the importance of diversity and inclusion for the organization. The Summit concluded at 4:30pm with the ACM SIGGRAPH 2019 Conference Chair, Mikki Rose, who discussed plans for activities incorporating D&I at SIGGRAPH 2019 in Los Angeles, CA.

The Summit information sessions also included excellent speakers, both from Canada, who presented data and research on the topics of diversity and inclusion, which were preceded by two distinct panels. One of the panels was an outstanding group of women technologists who discussed bias and barriers. Another panel was a very distinct group from underrepresented communities, different countries and backgrounds shared their stories and experiences. The diversity and inclusion panel was moderated by Tony Baylis (chair of the ACM SIGGRAPH D&I Committee) with panelists Mashhuda Glencross, Kevin Griffin, Natalie Rountree, Daniel Pillis, Aruquia Peixoto (ACM-W Council member), and Skawennati. More information on the summit can be found at https://s2018.siggraph.org/conference/acm-siggraph-sunday-workshops/acm-siggraph-sunday-workshops-acm-siggraph-diversity-inclusion-summit/.

News from ACM-W Celebrations

After a break for the summer, Celebration season is upon us once again!  Celebration organizers across the world are busy planning ACM gatherings that celebrate and advocate for diversity in technology.

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.   Check to see if there is one happening in your region.  Details are posted on our website.   If not, consider organizing one.  We provide start-up funding and assistance to get you started.

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 Professional Chapters: Career Panel for Students

The Northwest Ohio ACM-W Professional chapter helped students start off the semester with inspiration.  On September 21, 2018, the chapter held a Career Panel for students in computing related fields.  Six professional women in technical careers shared their stories with students and faculty from Bowling Green State University and the University of Findlay.  Each panelist talked about how they became interested in computing and about the different paths their career has taken them. They also shared some personal challenges such as stepping out of their career to raise children and how they forged a new way back into the field.  The panelist then wrapped up the evening with a message to the students to spread the word that a CS minor fits with any major and encouragement to find the good in every situation.

You can find more information on their Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/NorthwestOhioACMW/

News from ACM-W Scholarships

The ACM 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, to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually 3-6 awards given for each group of applications. The ACM 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, ICAPS, and ICSE, amongst others.

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!

This month we simply report the award winners for the two last rounds of the scholarship. (Apologies from this rapporteur, who was herself away in a conference for the previous round and hence missed the Connections deadline. Never fear, as the awardees themselves were notified on time and are probably enjoying their conferences while we write these lines.)

The last round was the big crop of GECCO awardees. The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) presents the latest results in genetic and evolutionary computation since 1999 and it is a very popular conference for our  scholarships.  Many of our participants ask scholarships to go for GECCO every year. This year we helped four lucky winners go to GECCO:  two were undergraduates,  Isabel Tweraser (from the US) and Ainhoa Arruabarrena (from Spain).  One graduate/Master Student, Margarita Markina (from the Russian Federation) and one doctorate student Aneta Neumann (from Germany) went to Japan for GECCO. We also supported one undergraduate student going to Paris for QRS2018 (Software Quality, Reliability and Security) and this was Randa Elamin (from Sudan) and one undergraduate going to Sweden for  International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2018) from the Mississippi State University in the USA, Delma Nieves-Rivera. Congratulations to our six awardees!!

For this last round of awards we had two undergraduates going to SIGGRAPH 2018, one from the University of Pennsylvania,  Hannah Bollar and one from Santa Clara University in California, Isabela Figueira. Finally we have one graduate/master’s student going to KDD (Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining) 2018, from the UK and she is Nandani Garg. Congratulations to our three awardees!!

The next application deadline is October 15 for conferences taking place in Dec, 2018—Jan, 2019.   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 Student Chapters

Welcome to our new student chapters at Lehman College, PES University, SCSVMV University, SBPCOE  Indapur, and the University of Kansas.

The ACM-W student chapters’ members are tomorrow’s super stars of tech. To celebrate their accomplishments, we are launching a new social media campaign to share their stories.  The campaign will begin during Grace Hopper 2018 with two of our own, Rachel Chesley and Priya Chawlapa.  Rachel is a recent grad and former president of the NCCC ACM-W student chapter; she now serves on the Student Chapters Committee of the ACM-W.  Priya is a recent grad and founder of the ACM-W student chapter at University of Cincinnati; she now chairs the Next-Gen committee of the ACM-W.

Watch for their stories on

  •             Twitter: ACMWStudent
  •             Slack: acmwoman.slack.com
  •             Instagram: ACMWStudent
  •             Facebook: ACMW
  •             Web: htttps://women.acm.org/chapter/

If you are a current or recent member of an ACM-W student chapter, we want to share your story; how you succeeded, overcame, brought people together, created, influenced, redesigned, or anything in-between. You can tell us your story here: https://tinyurl.com/ydxsofut. Or stop by our booth at Grace Hopper to learn more.

News from ACM-W Europe: womENcourage 2018, Belgrade, 3-5 October, 2018

ACM-WE womENcourage Celebration is organized annually. It is an exciting event that continues to attract women from diverse technical disciplines. They come together to exchange knowledge, ideas and experiences through hackathon projects, workshops, tutorials, posters, keynotes, technical talks, panels, and poster presentations. The event provides excellent opportunities for networking through the Celebration programme and social events. womENcourage supporters take part in the career fair and promote employment opportunities with their organizations.

The womENcourage Steering Committee is now inviting proposals for organizing womENcourage 2019. The deadline for the proposal submission is 25 September, 2018. The decision will be finalized by 30 September, 2018.

This year’s womENcourage Celebration, 3-5 October, 2018, will include keynote speakers:

  • Kathleen Richardson, Professor of Ethics and Culture of Robots and AI at De Montfort University, Leicester
  • Radha Narayan,  software engineer at Google since 2005

Report on the 12th Women in Computability Program

The 12th Women in Computability program was organized during the annual conference Computability in Europe (CiE), held from 30 July to 3 August 2018 in Kiel, Germany. This program is run by the Association Computability in Europe association since 2007 and comprised this year a workshop, a diner, a mentoring program and a granting scheme for young female researchers. This was the third year that ACM-Women sponsored the program.

Women in Computability Travel Grants

We were able to offer four travel grants to young female researchers. The grantees were:

  •       Marta Fiori Carones (Università degli Studi di Udine)
  •       Marie Nicholson (Cork Institute of Technology)
  •       Sabrina Ouazanni (Paris-Est Créteil)
  •       Olga Petrovska (Swansea University)

Mentoring Program

The mentorship programme allows junior female researchers to meet senior women in their field, discuss career issues with them and get their support. The four grantees were each assigned a mentor for the duration of the conference with whom they could meet several times. The mentors this year were:

  •       Paola Bonizzoni (Università di Milano-Bicocca)
  •       Johanna Franklin (Hofstra University)
  •       Elvira Mayordomo (Universidad di Zaragoza)

WiC workshop and dinner

The WiC workshop and diner is the main event of the WiC program. The idea behind the workshop is to invite several senior women who talk about their personal experiences, not just their career but also more personal issues. These short talks are followed by an open discussion. The invited speakers were:

  • Mai Gehrke (Université Côte d’Azur)
  • Elvira Mayordomo (Universidad de Zaragoza)
  • Monika Seisenberger (Swansea University)

The workshop is open to every CiE participant, males and females, and is very successful in attracting a large number of participants of the conference. Discussions are held in an open and direct atmosphere which is exactly one of the reasons of the success of this workshop.  This year we had a very high attendance with around 40 to 45 participants for both the workshop and the dinner.

(WM)2

We congratulate the CWM (Committee for Women in Mathematics) of the IMU (International Mathematical Union) for the first (WM)2 (World Meeting for Women in Mathematics) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in July just before the ICM (International Congress of Mathematicians), where the most prestigious Mathematical prize, the Fields Medal, is announced.  IMU is a partner in the Global Gender Gap project (https://icsugendergapinscience.org/) in which ACM-W has been participating.

In the last edition of ICM, in 2014, the four winners of Fields Medal were announced, and for the first time a woman won. She was the Iranian-American professor Maryam Mirzakhani, who unfortunately passed away in 2017, due to a breast cancer.

But this year the IMU celebrated the presence and importance of women in mathematics with the first (WM)2 (World Meeting for Women in Mathematics), that was an entire day dedicated to mathematic research developed by women and questions about women presence in this field. During the (WM)2, the Iranian Mathematics Society propose to declare May 12, the birthdate of Professor Maryam Mirzakhani, the ”Women in Mathematics Day” and celebrate it every year inside the mathematical community, and this proposal was accepted with enthusiasm by the audience.

ACM-W was invited to this meeting and was represented by the member of the council Aruquia Peixoto, that coordinated a small group discussion about role models and how to highlight the women´s work. The meeting was very successful and resulted in connections between these mathematicians that last during, and after, the ICM Conference.