Standing Committees Chairs’ Report – June 2020

Arati Dixit and Bushra Anjum, as ACM-W Standing Committees chairs, have been overseeing four committees for about a year now. These four vibrant pillars are the Rising Star Committee, the Scholarships Committee, the NextGen Committee, and the Professional Chapters Committee.We provide leadership advice and guidance, offer advocacy for the various initiatives, and serve as a liaison between the standing committees and the ACM-W core leadership. The ACM-W core leadership came together virtually for the annual meet up recently (picture attached) and together we acknowledged and celebrated various achievements of our standing committees. We are thankful for the leadership provided by the Rising Star Committee’s chair, Pamela Wisniewski, who successfully built a new initiative from the ground up. We also celebrate the renewed funding for the Scholarships Committee and the broadening of that project’s disciplinary focus, passionately led by its chair, Viviana Bono. Our continued focus remains on expanding the reach, viability, and success of the Professional Chapters and NextGen initiatives, and are thankful to their chairs, Rachelle Kristof Hippler and Priya Chawla respectively, for their continued work and effort. Below is a brief preview of each of the four committees. Please do consider volunteering with these amazing initiatives! Contact details are provided.

Rising Star Committee

The ACM-W Rising Star Award Committee has been formed in 2019 to recognize women whose early-career research has had a significant impact on the computing discipline. In the last year, our biggest achievements have been forming the inaugural committee and selecting the inaugural award recipient, Dr. Vivienne Sze. We would especially like to thank Andrea Goldsmith for her donation, which established the award, as well as the selection committee members, Drs. Pamela Wisniewski (chair), Samaher Al-Janabi, Lilia Georgieva, Bimlesh Wadhwa, and Tao Xie. If you are interested in knowing more or volunteering with us, please reach out to Pamela Wisniewski (pamwisATucfDOTedu).

Scholarships Committee

The ACM-W Scholarship program has been started in 2013 by Elaine Weyuker to allow early-in career woman students to travel to a research conference, to open their eyes to the world of research, and help them aspire to something they might not otherwise even consider.

In the last year, we were able to fund many students. You can read their stories at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019. We would especially like to thank our sponsors Google and Oracle for their support to achieve our goals. Looking forward, we are excited about starting to open to applications of woman students working on computing projects also in interdisciplinary environments. We have open positions of committee members. If you are interested in knowing more or volunteering with us, please reach out to Viviana Bono (vivianaDOTbonoATunitoDOTit)

NextGen Committee

The ACM-W Next Generation Committee was formed in 2018 to engage the next generation of computing talent and industry professionals to develop membership sustainment activities among future generations as they move from academic chapters to the career stage. Some of the highlights from last year are leading the “Design Thinking Workshop: Global Challenges for NextGen Women in Computing” at WomenENcourage conference in Rome, Italy, and establishing a Global Ambassadors Group to grow ACM-W NextGen volunteer base globally. Looking forward we are excited to work with the ACM-W Professional Chapters & Celebrations Committees to host virtual events for our members. If you are interested in learning more or volunteering with us, please reach out to NextGen committee chair, Priya Chawla (chawlprATgmailDOTcom).

Professional Chapters Committee

ACM-W Professional Chapters give you a local voice for change with the backing of an international organization. Professional chapters work with student chapters and industry leaders to advocate for equity and diversity in the tech industry. We recognize the work of our professional organizations around the world: ACM-W UK, Ankara, Azerbaijan, Belgrade, Chennai, Cyprus, Delhi, Greek, Northwest Ohio, Inhambane, Jamshoro, OCWiC, Pune, Tallinn, Trondheim, and Windhoek Chapter. Won’t you consider starting an ACM-W Professional Chapter near you?  Contact Rachelle Kristof Hippler (rhipplerATbwDOTedu) for more information.

The First ACM-W Professional Chapter in Turkey: ACM-W Ankara

ACM-W Ankara is set up to carry out the ACM-W mission to “support, celebrate and advocate for the full engagement of women in all aspects of the computing field” and to become a model for the future Turkish ACM-W Professional Chapters. As the first professional ACM-W chapter established in Turkey, ACM-W Ankara will organize events and also act as an umbrella organization for the existing ACM and ACM-W student chapters in the country. The initial target group of the chapter is female students at the graduate level in computer science and related fields. The initial programs will aim to provide platforms for networking, motivating and encouraging women in computing. The chapter plans to extend its target as the students at the undergraduate level and K12 in the future.

The work to establish ACM-W Ankara Professional Chapter started just after two professors of Computer Engineering, namely Pelin Angın from Middle East Technical University, Ankara and Öznur Özkasap from Koç University, İstanbul attended the CRA-W Grad Cohort for Women Workshop in April 2019, Chicago and returned home with great inspiration to organize a similar event in Turkey.

The first meeting to start working for ACM-W Ankara was held in July 2019 to which Reyyan Ayfer from Bilkent University, also attended. Having a mission, specific and well defined goals and planned activities helped to bring together many women to kick-off the chapter.

The same reasons attracted the attention of organizations to support the activities. After a meeting held in İstanbul, the first step was taken for partnership for Grad Cohort Women Turkey with inzva, which is a hacker community established in 2017, focused on Algorithm and Artificial Intelligence, aiming to cultivate the talents of Turkish students through a series of events ranging from year-long study groups to camps. Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed and work for organizing the first Grad Cohort for Women in Turkey started.

Grad Cohort events will be targeting women in computing pursuing their graduate studies at masters or doctorate level. The aim is to bring them together to encourage, inspire and network. Two events will be organized annually, one in English to have international role models as speakers and second in the local language Turkish.

The first Grad Cohort is planned to be held in April 2020 at inzva, which is located inside a historical factory building at Beykoz, İstanbul.

The initial activities of ACM-W Ankara Professional Chapter will be to:

  • Organize Grad Cohort events twice a year one in English and one in Turkish
  • Organize Turkish ACM and ACM-W Student Chapters Meeting once a year
  • Participate in research conferences in Turkey to raise awareness about the issues
  • Reach out to women in computing by blog posts, news and events via social media