Welcoming Suzhou ACM-W Professional Chapter

Top Row: Yilin Pan (Chapter Member), Haiyang Zhang (Membership Chair), Yunzhe Wang (Secretary); Middle Row: Lin Lin (Treasurer), Jia Wang (Vice Chair), Feng Chen (Chapter Member);  Bottom Row: Yao Lyu (Chapter Member), Qian Zhen (Chapter Member), Nan Xiang (Chair)

As we celebrate the establishment of the new ACM-W professional chapter, we are all  thrilled to envision what lies ahead for the founders and members in the coming year. The Vice Chair Jia Wang (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University) reflects, “This new chapter not only symbolizes a fresh beginning but also presents a platform for growth, learning, and empowerment within our community”.

The Chair Nan Xiang (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University) considers ACM-W is an amazing platform that supports the development of women in computing. Throughout his career, he has worked with many outstanding women whose talents have often left me in awe. He believes that with the platform provided by the chapter, the chapter has the opportunity and responsibility to offer more help and support to women. He also believes the chapter will be instrumental in promoting the interaction among local researchers and building a bridge between researchers in Suzhou and those around the world. 

The chapter brings together a capable and enthusiastic team from different universities. Both Membership Chair, Haiyang Zhang (Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University) and Lin Lin (Tsinghua University), who will be serving the chapter as the treasurer, expressed that they are honored to be part of an organization that champions the advancement and representation of women in the field of computer science. 

This is indeed truly an exciting time for their chapter members. The chapter members can look forward to a year of cultivating a supportive environment where all members can thrive. Yunzhe Wang (Suzhou University of Science and Technology), is the chapter’s secretary, and explained they are dedicated to empowering women in tech through mentorship, diversity, and community building. This year, members can look forward to engaging events, workshops, hackathons, structured mentorship programs, and numerous networking opportunities. The chapter will also host guest speakers and panel discussions, fostering professional development and collaboration. Qian Zhen, a Chapter Member from Suzhou University of Science and Technology, said: “ We will work on creating a supportive community and advancing professional growth.”

Their collective efforts will surely advance the cause of women in computing, fostering inclusivity and innovation. The chapter is also eager to collaborate on projects that challenge them to make a significant impact in the field and their professional lives. 

We wish them success in their new journey!

Starting an ACM-W Professional Chapter 

By Bettina Bair

On November 6, 2023, the Central Ohio ACM-W Professional Chapter was officially chartered by ACM’s Chief Operating Officer, becoming the third active ACM-W Professional Chapter in the United States. There are 16 active ACM-W Professional Chapters worldwide. Our chapter has close ties with the NW Ohio ACM-W, OCWiC ACM-W, and two ACM-W Student Chapters in Central Ohio.

All of us in the Central Ohio ACM-W Professional Chapter (nicknamed 614ACMW) are thrilled to be welcomed into the ACM-W global network of professional women in computing.  Since we just went through our chartering process, I thought I would share some of the strategies we found to be helpful. 

Would you like to start an ACM-W Professional Chapter?  Here’s how.

To start with, the requirements to start an ACM-W professional chapter are simple: 3 officers, 7 members, and contact information (chapter name, address, email, phone).  It does take some time, though, so we’re here to break it down into steps. 

Step 0. Develop a Value Statement.

When you are looking for officers and members, people will want to know why they should be involved.  And also, why ACM-W and not some other unaffiliated club?  It really helps to write down your value statement so that you can be confident and clear when you answer these questions. 

Amanda and I developed this list of ACM-W Professional Chapter benefits, and we share it at meetings. You can also use the list ACM published: Professional Chapter Resources and Benefits.

  • ACM-W advocates, supports, and celebrates women in computing.  Chapters provide an environment for members to make professional and social connections, learn about technology, get career advice, participate in mentoring, organize events, and provide community service. 
  • ACM-W is a globally respected professional association. There are hundreds of chapters worldwide with 70k+ members.
  • ACM-W Professional Chapters have access to ACM’s Distinguished Speaker list. ACM will cover the cost of sending any of these speakers to your chapter event. Chapters get free web hosting.  Professional Chapter members get access to many ACM publications with tech news, career announcements, conferences, and more.  ACM-W Chapters can connect with other chapters via the ACM-W Buddy project and ACM-W Celebrations.  ACM-W Professional Chapter members come from industry, non-profits, start-ups, and academia. 

You may develop additional benefits or member requirements for your chapter. Every local community is different.  As long as your priority is advocating, supporting, and celebrating women in computing, you are doing it right. 

Step 1. Find Officers. 

Since you will be the chair, you really only need to find two more people to be officers. You should look for people with leadership experience who are also friendly, responsive, and enthusiastic.  All your chapter officers need to be paying ACM members

Here are some places I looked for chapter officers: colleagues, best friends, co-authors, former ACM-W student chapter officers, ACM-W Celebration event sponsors, speakers, and organizers. I looked at hackathon programs and company organization charts. Ultimately, Facebook and LinkedIn proved to be the most useful. Using a filtered search, I was able to generate a list of women I knew who were working or living in my city. 

Amanda Kauppila and Bettina Bair

Very soon after, I made contact with Amanda Kauppila, who would become our chapter’s vice chair (Hi Amanda!). Amanda had been an officer of her ACM-W Student Chapter, so she was a perfect person to step into an officer position in an ACM-W Professional Chapter. 

Step 2. Recruit Members.

You need ten members in total. Your officers count as part of that minimum number. And your non-officer members do not need to be ACM members. ACM-W Professional Chapter members can be women, men, non-binary, academic, and industry technology professionals at all levels. You can be selective, but ACM-W encourages professional chapters to have diversity in their membership.  In particular, members should be from multiple employers and include academic as well as industry organizations

So, Amanda and I needed to find eight more members. To find interested people, you should organize a recruiting event. You can also contact people individually and invite them to become members, but a recruiting event can establish your chapter as a welcoming place.

Our first recruiting event was a tech talk headlined by a rockstar professor from Ohio State University, Dr Tanya Berger-Wolf.  Tanya is a popular speaker with cross-disciplinary research that touches on AI, big data, and biodiversity conservation.  (Hi Tanya!)

We reserved a meeting room at our local library and advertised the event on Meetup, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  Again, LinkedIn proved to be the best media channel to connect with local women in computing.

After Tanya’s talk, Amanda and I did a presentation about our intention to create an ACM-W Professional Chapter.  Tanya volunteered to be our third officer, and we signed up four new members. 

Step 3. Build Critical Mass. 

After your first recruiting event, you may still not have enough members to apply for an ACM-W Professional Chapter charter. We didn’t.  But Amanda and I felt that the success of that first meeting – having Tanya sign up to be our Treasurer and getting four members – was a vote of confidence, and it motivated us to carry on. 

Amanda and I realized that we needed to build an online presence where we could show who we were and what our chapter was about. So we set about creating a website and social media groups where we could host more community-building activities. Amanda started talking to people about being speakers at future meetings. 

In effect, we started acting like we were already a chartered ACM-W Professional Chapter.  Believing in ourselves helped others believe in us. And slowly, one at a time, we added members. 

Step 4. Check on Details. 

When you have three officers and ten members, you are *almost* ready to submit your application for an ACM Professional Chapter charter.  Here are a few additional required details you should have handy. 

  • Chapter Name – Your chapter’s official name must be “City-name” ACM-W Professional Chapter unless the city-name is not unique.  There are 23 cities named Columbus in the U.S., so we were able to get an exception to call our chapter the “Central Ohio” ACM-W Professional Chapter.
  • Chapter Mailing Address – Your chapter can request promotional material from ACM, so you need to have a shipping address.
  • Chapter Email Address – This should be a unique email address, not the same as any ACM or ACM-W member. 
  • Chapter Phone Number – I’m not sure why this is needed, but it’s a required field. 
  • Chapter Type and SubType – “Professional” and “ACM-W”
  • Officer ACM Member IDs – The form will ask you for the member IDs, not the names.  You can’t look up the ID, so you should get it from your officers.  You will designate one person each for Chair, Vice-Chair, and Treasurer.
  • Email List Name – ACM will create two listservs for your chapter: one for officers and one for members.  You can make up your own name but it has to start with a letter, be 10 characters or less, and only alphanumeric, without spaces or periods. Dashes and underscores are permitted.
  • Member Names, Email, Affiliation – You need first name, last name, email, and affiliation (company). Or an ACM member ID.  You can enter these one at a time or upload a CSV file with this layout: Last Name, First Name, E-mail, Affiliation (not ACM). 

I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s really just a few small things that are very specific. 

5. Submit! And Next Steps.

When you click “Submit” on your ACM-W Professional Chapter application,  your chapter will begin its formal approval journey.  This is very exciting, and you should definitely celebrate.  Whatever happens next, you have done a great job assembling a small community of smart and motivated women in computing. 

Initially, you will get an email from the ACM local activities chair to let you know that the process has started and to advise you that there might be a one or two-week wait for a final decision on your application.  

At this point, I recommend that you reach out to the people who will approve your application, introduce yourself, and give them an opportunity to learn more about your chapter. Here are the people you should contact:

local_activities@hq.acm.org – This person can help you fix any problems with your application and will also be able to ensure that your chapter gets the ACM resources that are available to you.

ACM-W Professional Chapter Chair  – all chapter applications are approved by the ACM-W Professional Chapter chair. Let her know that your group is applying for a charter and see if there are other chapters or activities happening in your area. 

Regional Chair – If your chapter is in India, Europe, or North America, it will be a part of a larger geographic regional group.  Contact the regional chair and let them know that you are interested in being a part of their community.

Pretty soon, you will get that special email from the Local Activities chair letting you know that your chapter has been welcomed as a member of the ACM-W global community of women in computing. 

What will your chapter do next?  Here are 101 ideas

Conclusion.

Congratulations on taking the first step to starting your own ACM-W Professional Chapter! I hope this guide has been helpful. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or to the ACM-W staff.

I wish you all the best in your chapter’s journey!

Supporting, Celebrating, and Advocating for Women in Computing

Professional chapters work with student chapters and industry leaders to advocate for equity and diversity in the tech industry. We celebrate the work of our ACM-W professional chapters and are grateful for the work they do to empower women in IT.

  • ACM-W UK Chapter, United Kingdom
  • Ankara ACM-W Chapter, Turkey
  • Azerbaijan ACM-W Chapter, Azerbaijan
  • Chennai ACM-W Chapter, India
  • Cyprus ACM-W Chapter, Cyprus
  • Delhi ACM-W Chapter, India
  • Greek ACM-W Chapter, Greece
  • Hibernia ACM-W Chapter, Ireland
  • Jamshoro ACM-W Chapter, Pakistan
  • Kharkiv Information & Communication Technologies ACM-W Chapter, Ukraine
  • Northwest Ohio ACM-W Chapter, USA
  • OCWiC ACM-W Chapter, USA
  • Pune ACM-W Chapter, India
  • Tallinn ACM-W Chapter, Estonia
  • Trondheim ACM-W Chapter, Norway
  • Windhoek ACM-W Chapter, Namibia

And, we welcome our newest chapter:

  • Ibadan ACM-W Chapter, Nigeria


Spotlight on the Ibadan ACM-W Chapter

Interview with Dr. Oluwasefunmi Arogundade, Ibadan ACM-W Chapter Chair

When did you get your chapter charter?

We got our chapter chartered in February, 2021.

Why did you decide to form an ACM-W Professional Chapter?

We have been members of ACM professional chapter but we see the need to form ACM-W professional chapter because of the peculiarities of women in computing starting from low participation to challenges due to gender issues. We see it as an avenue to directly impact women in Tech and connect more women to ACM activities and benefit; and interestingly inspire African girl child to choose  Computer Science as career through educational workshops and mentor-ship.

What strengths does your chapter have?

The strength of our chapter is the coverage of our members all over the country. We have members in all of the geopolitical zones of Nigeria. This makes it easier for us to hold programmes in different zones at the same time because each will be anchored by our members in that zone. Our chapter is blessed with hardworking, dedicated, determined  team who are ready to increase the visibility of  ACM -W agenda to every corners of the nation.

Where do you see your chapter in five years from now?

In the next five years we hope to see our chapter covering 90% of Higher Education institutions in Nigeria in terms of membership.

Do you have photos of your team?

We have photos of our Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer and the fliers for the first few programmes. We don’t have a group picture yet because we started our chapter when Covid was ravaging.

What projects have you completed?

Since we chartered in February we have been up and doing to keep the ball rolling for our chapter. We have completed a career symposium for secondary school students in celebration of Girls in ICT day which attracted more than 100 participants, mainly from high school. We also held a six week summer school on Digital Marketing for our students that are on holidays.

What projects are you currently working on?

We are planning to have a web based and mobile responsive platform to serve as a career clinic for high school and university undergraduate students. The platform will serve as a communication and interactive platform for the concerned categories of students to answer questions that concern their career in computing and related fields. This is to serve as a follow-up on the symposium we already completed. We are planning to have our website and social media handles up and running.

What connections do you have with university students? What activities do you do?

We do collaborate with the ACM student chapter to hold programmes like the one we had in June tagged Career Pathfinder in Computing where we invited seasoned young researchers in academia and industry to reveal what it takes to have a successful career in academia and industry. We also collaborated with the ACM-W student chapter to have tech talks on deep learning. The following fliers testify to this.

What connections do you have with K-12 students? What activities do you do?

We had connections with state ministries of education, science and technology in some of the states. The goal is to get the stakeholders involved in the programme. One of the educators from the government agency joined us in the symposium. We celebrated GIRLS in ICT day on April 22nd, 2021. We organized symposiums in four geopolitical zones of Nigeria. The title of the symposium was Career Prospects in Computing. We planned to join this celebration every year by organizing a unique programme for K-12 students.

If there is a local ACM-W Celebration near you, what involvement do you have?

Presently we are not aware of any ACM-W celebration but if we have anyone we will graciously give our support as may be required with the consideration of necessary virtues for successful collaboration.

What benefits do the members of your chapter gain from your connections?

The following are the professional, social and support our members stand to gain from the connections:

  1. Exposure / acquiring new ideas and knowledge in the field of computing by organizing lecture series, seminars, webinars and workshops for all members
  2. Organizing national and international conferences for both members and non-members to attend
  3. Organizing inter-tertiary institutions talent hunt and quiz competition for membership institutions to participate and prizes and awards are giving to the best institutions
  4. Providing sponsoring or soft loans for members to attend international conferences, to publish journals and to make progress in their academic pursuits.
  5. Providing mentorship to all the mentees
  6. Organizing career/ social get-together for both our members and non-members in order to know each other better
  7. Providing enable environment for collaborations for all members
  8. Providing assistance ranging from financial, emotional to physical to all members who are in need.

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. Our chapters around the world organize conferences, hack-a-thons, fundraisers, lecture series, community service, and networking events that gather together local students and IT professionals. Start one today!

Contact Rachelle Kristof Hippler (rhippler@bw.edu) for more information.

https://www.acm.org/chapters/professionals/how-to-start-a-professional-acm-w-chapter

ACM India Celebration of Women in Computing AICWiC 2020

 A Virtual Event – 5th September, 2020- Report

ACM India celebration of women in computing –a virtual event was organized by ACM-W India, ACM Nagpur Professional Chapter in association with ACM Nagpur Student Chapter  of Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering, Nagpur, Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management, Nagpur, Priyadarshini College of Engineering, Nagpur and Persistent Systems Ltd. on 5th September,2020 under the theme “Covid 19: Innovation in IT” . The inaugural ceremony started by Dr. Mukta Paliwal Technical Expert of Persistent Systems. Due to the current pandemic, the event was organized in virtual mode on the online platform zoom webinar.

She introduced the ACMW India, described recent events held and how the organization has played a vital role in motivating the women including professionals, researchers and students in technology. She mentioned how the tech industry has collectively demonstrated remarkable leadership in responding to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic while explaining about the theme of the event.

Main objective of AICWiC 2020 was to provide an explicit platform for women in technology to showcase their innovation and ideas and motivate others to take up the challenge and help the nation in becoming Independent technologically during these tough times.

She introduced Dr Heena Timani, ACM W India Council Chair, Data Scientist, Co-Founder, Director iAnanya Datalytix Pvt. Ltd. to deliver the welcome address and as a session chair for the keynote speech. As this event being the flagship event under ACM celebration women in computing Dr. Heena envisioned and heilighted the entire operational and key benefits of ACM-w membership and took the opportunity to brief about past events and upcoming events going to be held under the canopy of ACM India. She took initiative to provide the platform for women to showcase their talent and insisted on numerous opportunities for women scholars to grab several scholarships to the candidates under ACM-w India Chapter. She has always been a key inspiration to all young technocrats and actively involved in supporting and organizing computing events for women in India under ACM-Women Council.

Dr. Heena welcomed Prof. Reyyan Ayfer, Vice-Chair, ACM-W & Professor, Bikent University, Turkey for the keynote address. She contributed her expertise to international committees, most notably as a council member of ACM Europe and as the Founding Chair of ACM Women in Computing Europe Committee as well as leading a community of students who have formed the first international ACM-W Student Chapter. She is now serving for women in computing as the chair of Regional Activities of ACM-W. She received the Anita Borg Change Agent Award in 2008 after serving as the ACM-W Ambassador of Turkey for 8 years.

Dr. Reyyan delivered a keynote on “Changes, Challenges, Opportunities” and she began with saying that Our lives changed suddenly when the novel coronavirus spread throughout the world. We faced many challenges both in our personal and professional lives. Are there any opportunities in this especially for women in computing? She discussed some of the success tips and strategies for the budding innovators. Her address was mainly based on how COVID-19 has changed everyone’s lives and meanwhile impacted the opportunities for the students.

Prof. Devishree Naidu, session chair of second keynote introduce Dr. Jaya Sreevalsan Nair from IIIT Bangalore. She leads the Graphics-Visualization-Computing Lab and is one of the core team members of the E-Health Research Centre at IIITB. Her research interests in data visualization, scientific computing, computer graphics, and computational geometry. She has projected many data modeling concepts for visualizations and identified appropriate visualizations for complex datasets in data science workflow. The most interesting research that includes semantic classification of LiDAR point clouds, spatial and statistical analysis of population surveys, automated data extraction from chart images, community detection in biological and brain networks, and virtual world reconstruction of traffic scenes from monocular images. She has been supported by grants from SERB, DST, GoK, Intel, IBM, to name a few. She is an ACM member and IEEE Senior member. Her keynote specifically brought attention to “Data Dissemination during COVID-19: The Rise of Visualizations” in which she discussed the significance of data dissemination techniques discovered during the present COVID-19 scenario and tools used by computer scientists to make a lay-man understand complex facts and figures. She elaborated about 5 V’s Velocity, Veracity, Volume, Variety and Value of data. She also made all aware about Florence Nightingale as a data science who was also a pioneer in data visualization with infographics effectively used for graphical presentations of statistical data. Dr.Jaya discussed some of the research that took place at Karnataka region for showing statistics of Covid-19 and explored about the tools with additional futuristic which opened an eye for key research in the field of data science.

A panel discussion was organized during AICWiC2020 on theme ”Innovation Opportunities for New Normal during Pandemic”.A panel was moderated by Dr. Lipika Dey, Principal Scientist at the TCS Research and Innovation Labs. , faculty at the Department of Mathematics at IIT Delhi. (till 2007).The panelist were Dr. Maya Ingle, Director,DDU-Kaushal Kendra at DAVV Indore, Mrs. Rachna Patrikar,Senior Manager-Enterprise application and emerging technologies, Mahindra and Mahindra),Dr.Manik Gupta, Assistant Professor at BITS Pilani Mrs. Vandana Gupta, Director at  Multivirt India Pvt Ltd & FNN Media Pvt Ltd ,28 years of experience in IT industry.

The Panel discussion started with a poll as a quick activity. The poll was conducted to know the experiences of the participants about Innovations during Covid-19 pandemic. After the poll chairperson of the panel Dr Nita Thakare welcomed all and briefed about the objective of panel discussion. She welcomed and introduced moderator of the panel Dr Lipika Dey. Dr Lipika Dey introduced the panel members and panel discussion was divided in to three phases. In the first phase all panel members have shared their experiences about the current scenario of innovations and their thought on the opportunities for IT innovations during covid pandemic. They discussed the Innovation Opportunities for New Normal during Pandemic in brief.

Moderator of panel Dr Lipika introduced panelist and coordinating with panel members. Dr Maya Ingle talked about the role of IT in education sector. She also discussed about the reasons for change in education methodologies and the opportunities for the educationalist and researchers during COVID 19 pandemic. Also she shared some examples on how practices changed from Offline classes to Online Classes. Mrs Rachana Patrikar ,discussed about current situation of Covid 19 pandemic and its effect on lifestyle of people also she talked on increase in usage of online market and online transaction. Dr Manik Gupta talked about latest technologies being used in innovations. She also discussed,how online platforms are helpful in pandemic and how blessed it is to share our knowledge with the community through virtual conference. Dr Vandana Gupta presented various products developed by her company to cater the pandemic situation.

She also discussed about innovations opportunities during Pandemic and motivated the participants to implement innovative ideas. During question – answer session, the Moderator Dr Lipika asked questions on behalf of the participants to panel members. The participants benefited by the answers of experts. The session ended with the concluding remark by Dr. Deveshree Naidu.

Poster Presentation Competition was part of Virtual Event for celebration of Women in Computing by ACM India. The competition was specially organized for UG/PG girl students of CS/CE and IT branches to boost innovative ideas. There were total three round in poser presentation competition. Education , Health care, Environment / Ecosystem / Waste  Management , Age of Sustainable Development (Sustainable Cities and Communities) themes were decided for poster presentation competition. We received maximum posters in Health Care domain. We got good response  from various reputed institutes of India, total 105 teams registered for poster presentation competition.

These groups were divided into 6 Teams of judges for evaluation and selection purpose. From this 24 teams were selected for second Skype interview round. Total 6 posters were selected for presentation in the final round during event.

Dr. Gauri Dhopavkar, Head, Department of Computer Technology, Yeshwantrao Chavan College of Engineering, Nagpur hosted the finale round of poster presentation competition on 5th September 2020 .Dr. Heena Timani, Chairperson, ACM-W, India, Dr. Rituparna Chaki, Professor, A K Choudhury School of IT, University of Calcutta, Dr. Tejaswini Apte,ACM-W Pune Professional Chapter Chair and ACM-W India council member, Mr. Darshan Kansara, Senior Consultant with Anblicks, Ahmedabad, were the judges for the finale. 

During finale round, each finalists’ posters and videos explaining the detailed concept was presented to all audience. This round was followed by question/answer session to the poster presenters by judges. Out of 105 groups registered for this competition, 6 groups were shortlisted for finale round. Cash prizes were sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services.1st Prize: Rs.16,000, 2nd Prize: Rs.12, 000,3rd Prize: Rs. 8,000

A result of the virtual poster presentation was declared by Dr.Heena Timani. Below is the list of poster presentation winners

RankName of StudentProject TitleInstitute Name
1Soundarya KrishnanNetwork Community Analysis based enhancement of Online Discussion forumsBITS Pilani, Goa Campus
2Sona STechnovid 2020Thiagarajar College of Engineering,Madurai
3Shradha SehgalSab Jeevika: Enabling job search for the deprived sectorInternational Institute of Information Technology. Hyderabad

In concluding remarks Dr.Heena Timnai thanked organizing team Dr. Devishree Rohit Naidu, Asst. Prof. ,Shri Ramdeobaba College of     Engineering and Management,Dr. Gauri Dhopavkar , HoD, Yeshwantrao Chavhan, College of Engineering, Nagpur,Dr. Mukta Paliwal ,Technical Expert -Data Science, Persistent Systems Nagpur,Dr. Nita Thakare, Associate Prof. and Head, DCT, Priyadarshini College of Engineering, Nagpur,Dr. Swati Hira, Asst. Prof., Shri Ramdeobaba College of Engineering and Management, Nagpur,Mr. Vinit Kapoor ,Chief Architect, Persistent Systems Nagpur and Dr. Rutvi Shah Assistant Porf at Chimanbhai  Patel Institute  of Computer Applictions.           She also thanked the poster prizes sponsors Tata Consultancy Services and Platinum partners of ACM Google, Persistent, Icertis.Mr. Chandrashekhar Sahasrabudhe,COO, ACM India congratulated team for their successful smooth completion of virtual event using Zoom Webinar.

Dr. Mukta Paliwal thanked to  Keynote speakers, Panelists, ACM India, ACM W India  and ACM International office bearers Various sponsors, Partner Industries, Partnering institutes, Participating institutes, Committee members, Evaluators/Judges, Students who took part in poster competition, Finalists, the Organizing team & all those who are directly or indirectly involved in the organization of this event. Everyone agree with the promise of staying connected to each other through these events, as a supportive and strong women community in the field of computer science education, research, and industry.

Spotlight on ACM-W Professional Chapters

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. Our chapters around the world organize conferences, hack-a-thons, fundraisers, lecture series, community service, and networking events that gather together local students and IT professionals. Learn about these activities through two interviews with ACM-W Chapters who have offered to share their experiences.

Interview with Bojana Milasinovic, Belgrade ACM-W Professional Chapter

Why did you decide to form an ACM-W Professional Chapter?

Thanks to Reyyan Ayfer we found out about ACM and the opportunities for local communities.  Because we were already dealing with the topic of women in tech on local level, forming ACM-W chapter opened a new door to us. Through chapter we could connect more people from local community to ACM activities. 

When did you get your chapter charter?

It was in 2016. after the conference Women in Tech held in Brussels. 

What projects are you working on?

Enter: ACM-W Celebration of Women in Computing is a two-day conference held in Belgrade. We have held this student-centered conference twice with about 500 attendees per event. We are planning to continue with similar events, focusing more on practical work than on classic lectures.  A hands-on approach seems to be more popular and useful to participants, so we would love to continue our work in that direction. 

Photo: Belgrade ACM-W Professional Chapter Committee.
Photo: Enter: ACM-W Celebration of Women in Computing Conference.

What connections do you have with students?

We are in contact with several different student groups. Most of our programs are designed for them so we are trying to meet their needs by helping them on their way through professional challenges. 

What benefits do the members of your chapter gain?

We try to connect members with other IT people (especially successful women from local IT community) so they can build a strong social network.  Additionally, members can learn from women in the local IT community through different workshops about soft skills and technical skills. We also keep members informed about all ACM-W benefits.  Most importantly, we listen to the problems they are facing in the professional world and note the skills they need and create programs to help them to adjust. 

 Photo: Hands on activities with local professionals.

Where do you see your chapter in five years from now?

We hope that at some point we can pass the chapter activities to some young and motivated people who will be willing to carry on with the activities and fresh new ideas.

What suggestions or feedback for any groups looking to start their own chapter?

Go for it! 🙂 It can be very useful experience, leading you to the great people and great output of all successfully done activities. 

Interview with Panagiota Fatourou, Greek ACM-W Professional Chapter

Why did you decide to form an ACM-W Professional Chapter?

Our motivation to form an ACM-W Professional Chapter in Greece stems from the need to enhance and advocate gender balance in computer-related scientific fields and professional sectors in Greece.

Based on 2014 Eurostat data, women are strongly under-represented in computer-related studies in most European countries, including Greece. Specifically, 80% or more of the students enrolled in computer-related study programs are men. Unfortunately, this trend seems to be persistent as these statistics have not been observed to improve the last several years. In parallel, Greece (and Europe) under-utilize women scientists in research and innovation, as well as in leadership positions, while women’s participation in the digital labour market decreases with age (the “leaky pipeline” phenomenon).

Action is necessary to discover, understand, and defeat the glass ceilings with the goal of addressing any form of gender imbalance in scientific leadership and decision-making processes, and ensuring a fair development of outstanding career paths with no barriers and misconceptions for both men and women in the digital sector. The Greek ACM-W Chapter aims at contributing in this direction by promoting gender-equal access to computer-related scientific frontiers, encouraging and educating women and men in an equal way to achieve their professional goals and utilize their potential in digital professions, and celebrating and disseminating the achievements of computer professionals, women and men, in a fair and gender-equal way.

When did you get your chapter charter?

The Greek ACM-W was chartered on July 2, 2018.

Photo: Greet ACM-W Professional Chapter committee chairs: Georgia Koutrika (Treasurer), Panagiota Fatourou (Chair), Maria Roussou (Vice Chair)

What strengths does your chapter have?

The main strength of the Greek ACM-W Chapter is its member base. Our founding members number more than 40 women covering diverse domains of computer science and engineering. Our members work primarily in academia and research institutions from all over Greece and abroad; however, Chapter membership working in the computing industry is also increasing. The Chapter’s overall member base has exceeded 190 individuals of all genders, in less than two years since its establishment (including most women professors working at Computer Science (CS) related Departments in all Greek Universities).

Can you tell me a little more about what projects you have been working on?

Photo: Founding and new members of the Greek ACM-W Chapter.

In the almost two years of its operation, the Greek ACM-W has succeeded in mobilizing a considerable number of women and men to become members of the chapter; establishing its online web and social media presence; and organizing events.

The Greek ACM-W chapter’s website (https://acmw-gr.acm.org) was launched in the first few months after the establishment of the chapter. The website aims to maintain a dynamic nature; it is being systematically updated with news regarding our activities and our members as well as resources, especially relevant reports and papers (https://acmw-gr.acm.org/index.php/en/resources/reports-papers). We have also created a YouTube (https://tinyurl.com/y2hresdk) and Flickr (https://tinyurl.com/ybrl3mfq) channels for storing more audiovisual resources. Most notably, our YouTube channel includes video documentation of all of the talks and sessions of our major event. In parallel, we update our Twitter https://twitter.com/GreekAcm and LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/groups/8721327/) spaces with the help of student volunteer members of our chapter.

Our first major event was the 1st Summit on Gender Equality in Computing, on June 7, 2019 in Athens, Greece. The GEC 2019 brought together students, researchers and professionals in the field of Computer Science. It was attended by 121 participants, of whom almost half were students. The program featured a) four keynote talks, b) a poster track including a flash talks session, c) several industry talks, d) a career development track, and e) a panel of women with distinctions and women in senior technical positions. Participants were inspired by the talks and activities that took place during the Summit, and enjoyed the offered opportunities for networking and sharing experiences. See https://tinyurl.com/y7w54urk and  https://gec19.athenarc.gr/.

We are also in the process of establishing the following working groups, and collecting our members expressions of interest, indicating in which groups they would like to participate and contribute to:

  • Celebrations and Events   
  • Networking and Connecting   
  • Raising Awareness and Dissemination
  • Sponsoring Programme   
  • Computer Science and Education prior to the University    
  • Support during the University Studies    
  • Mentoring and Role Models Program
  • Assessment and Evaluation   

Following the big success of GEC 2019, we are currently organizing the 2nd Summit on Gender Equality in Computing, which will take place on June 12, 2020, as an online event (due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

We also plan to carry out a variety of mentoring initiatives and Summer Schools, as well as a seminar series focusing on gender equality issues in education, research and innovation.

Finally, we hope to formalize our chapter’s procedures, e.g. management structures for the different working groups, and chapter events so that these can be streamlined and sustainable across the different leadership boards that will assume responsibilities in the future.

Photo: Prof. Geraldine Fitzpatrick during her keynote speech at the GEC 2019 Summit in Athens, June 7, 2019.
Photo: Snapshots from the poster session and flash talks at the GEC 2019 Summit in Athens, June 7, 2019.

What connections do you have with university students? What activities do you do?

A large number of our members are academics and, through this network, the Chapter has a strong connection with university students. In the planning of our first event, the GEC 2019, we ensured that students would be active participants and thus held a poster session especially for students and young researchers. Through a peer-reviewed process, 35 abstracts were selected and presented via flash talks and a dedicated poster session.

The Chapter has established a working group especially for supporting University students and will continue in this direction. Another working group is devoted on providing mentoring and coming up with a pool of role models.

What connections do you have with K-12 students? What activities do you do?

The Chapter has so far participated in the 1st Summer School in Computer Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (WiSTEM ’19), organized for high-school students in Heraklion, Crete, and with a presentation in “Youthtopia”, a non-formal youth group’s event for the International Day for Women in Science.

The Chapter has established a working group for K-12 and activities will pick up its action in the near future as we plan for summer schools and other activities for the K-12 target group.

What involvement do you have with local ACM events, chapters and initiatives?

As a Chapter, we collaborate with other local chapters, such as the ACM-W Student Chapter AUTH, with which we co-organised an event in Thessaloniki and the Greek ACM SIGCHI Professional chapter, as well as other ACM initiatives (e.g. with presentations at the ACM Summer Schools on Data Science 2018, 2019).

At a broader, regional and international scale, members of our Chapter are actively engaged with womENcourage and participate in Committees of ACM-Women Europe. Most notably, a members’ team poster was among the ten best posters (out of more than 70) selected at womENcourage 2019.

Photo: Maria Roussou (Vice Chair) presenting the Greek ACM-W Chapter at the ACM Summer School on Data Science 2019.

What professional, social, support benefits are gained for the members of your chapter?

The Greek ACM-W Chapter aims to create a community in Greece and has succeeded so far in providing networking opportunities to its members.

Our members can gain awareness about the CS-related issues through our newsletters, our website news, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We have been very active in informing our members about initiatives and events in Greece and abroad. We provide access to scientific papers, studies and other resources on our website, all talks given at the GEC 2019 are available on our YouTube channel.

Furthermore, our members’ achievements are promoted through our website and social media channels.

Where do you see your chapter in five years from now?

We aspire to continue expanding our member base, so that five years from now, the Greek ACM-W Chapter will have established a critical mass or active and engaged members, and a presence that can truly make an impact. We hope that the various working groups will have gained ground to organize their own activities, and contribute to a decentralization of the Chapter’s activities in order to spread impact across different parts of Greece.

What suggestions do you have for groups looking to start their own chapter?

Our 22 months of experience since establishing the ACM-W Chapter have highlighted the importance of motivation and transparency. Our suggestions, in a nutshell, include:

  • to be clear about your vision and goals from the outset,
  • to convene a small but active team that will work together as a core team to realize the vision and goals,
  • to become familiar with all the resources that are out there and are available through ACM, and to leverage these resources,
  • to be prepared for a lot of hard but very rewarding work!

Supporting, Celebrating, and Advocating for Women in Computing

We recognize the work of our ACM-W professional chapters and are grateful for the work they do to ensure women thrive in the tech industry:

  • ACM-W UK Chapter
  • Ankara ACM-W Chapter
  • Azerbaijan ACM-W Chapter
  • Belgrade ACM-W Chapter
  • Cyprus ACM-W Chapter
  • Delhi ACM-W Chapter
  • Greek ACM-W Chapter
  • Northwest Ohio ACM-W Chapter
  • Inhambane ACM-W Chapter
  • Jamshoro ACM-W Chapter
  • OCWiC ACM-W Chapter
  • Pune ACM-W Chapter
  • Tallinn ACM-W Chapter
  • Windhoek ACM-W Chapter

We also welcome our newest chapters and are excited to see what they will do:

  • Chennai ACM-W Chapter
  • Hibernia ACM-W Chapter
  • Kharkiv Information & Communication Technologies ACM-W Chapter
  • Trondheim ACM-W Chapter

Won’t you consider starting an ACM-W Professional Chapter near you?  See the ACM-W website for more information: https://women.acm.org/acm-w-professional-chapters/

Not ready to start a chapter but want to get involved?  ACM-W is looking for people to help support the professional chapters. If you have a few hours a month to donate to a worthy cause, please contact Rachelle Kristof Hippler (rhippler@bw.edu) to find out how you can help.

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