ACM-W Connections–February 2020

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

After a three-year effort of eleven scientific organizations, the preliminary report  A Global Approach to the Gender Gap in Mathematical, Computing and Natural Sciences is available.  A major part of this project was a global survey of scientists.  Analysis of survey responses produced several significant findings emphasizing that a gender gap continues to exist across all disciplines.  These results include:

  • Women were more likely to report receiving lower salaries compared to their colleagues, even after results were adjusted for explanatory factors such as age, discipline, geographic region, employment sectors, and level of human development in their region.
  • Women were 1.6 times more likely than men to report interruptions in their graduate studies, a major factor impacting doctoral completion rates. 
  • Women were less likely to report positive relationships with their doctoral advisors and a lower doctoral program quality.
  • Across all global regions, all disciplines, and all level of economic development, women were significantly more likely than men to report discrimination based on gender.
  • Over 25% of women respondents across all the sciences reported personally having experienced sexual harassment at school or work.  Women were also statistically more likely than men to say they had personally witnessed sexual harassment.

The news was not all bad, however, as an analysis of publication patterns in Mathematics, Physics, and Astronomy revealed that the proportion of scientific publications by women has increased steadily since 1995 and now sits at 85%-95% of all publications.  Future related work hopes to include other disciplines in this analysis.

It is clear that the work that we do in ACM-W is still necessary and valuable in supporting women in computing globally.  Celebrations and grad cohort events are shown to provide much needed inspiration for those who attend, while establishing student and professional chapters ensures a level of consistent, ongoing support for chapter members. I encourage those in regions where ACM-W activity is absent to reach out to me and I will connect you to those project leaders that can help you begin one of these activities.

For anyone planning to attend SIGCSE 2020, March 12th-14th in Portland, OR, you can find ACM-W at booth 619 in the exhibit hall.  Stop by and one of our volunteers will be happy to talk with you about how you can be more involved in supporting, celebrating and advocating for women in computing through ACM-W.

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

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

Other ACM-W News

  • The Scholarships Committee announces the first awardees of 2020.
  • Reflections on womENcourage 2019 are a part of the ACM-W Europe report.
  • ACM-W North America welcomes its newest student chapter- California State University at Chico.

Report from ACM-W North America

ACM-W North America welcomes the newest ACM-W Student chapter, California State University at Chico! Shout out to Bryan Dixon (faculty sponsor), Tanya Bellen Bonilla (Chair), Paige Marie Jones (Vice Chair) and Maena Haroldson (Treasurer) and the 16 chapter members for your efforts to support, celebrate, and advocate for women in computing.

We look forward to two upcoming Celebrations, Carolina Women in Computing (Feb 21 -22) and the Tri-State Women in Computing Conference for the tri-state area of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana (Feb 14-15).

We’ve joined social media! Be sure to follow ACM-W North America for the latest news and updates as we begin to move forward with our new regional committee! Find us on Facebook (@ACMWNorthAmerica), LinkedIn (ACM-W-North-America), and Twitter (@acmwnorthameric).

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 complimentary 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, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, 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 are happy to announce the first awards of 2020! We have four students going to the conferences they requested funds for. Undergraduate students Mansi Agrawal and Maitree Leekha are going to the flagship Artificial Intelligence conference, the 2020 AAAI Conference, this year in New York. Laxmi Pandey, a doctoral student at the University of California, Merced, is going to the ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval in Vancouver, Canada.  Aurora Macias Ojeda, a doctoral student from Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Informática, Alicete, Spain is going to the International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA), in Salvador, Brazil.

Our congratulations to all! We hope they will enjoy their meetings very much!

The next application deadline is February 15 for conferences taking place in Apr 1 – May 31, 2020.   For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

To see previous winners’ trip reports visit https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019

If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, at bono@di.unito.it.

Guest Blog from ACM-W Europe

Starting from November, we are featuring a series of guest blogs from womENcourage 2019 participants. They share with us their career journeys, highlighting the challenges, the aspects of what they love the most, and the ways womENcourage inspires them.

This month’s guest blogger is Elif Akeli, a PhD student at Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Turkey. 

“I started my professional journey six years ago. During this time I have worked as both a software developer and a member of the academic staff at the university. I have been fortunate to have a taste of both career paths: industry and academic.

…From the research perspective, I feel engaged and fully absorbed when reading a new publication or testing a new algorithm. Doing research fulfills me. On the other hand, from the teaching assistant perspective, I enjoy working with students who come up with creative ideas and different points of view, for instance, about a specific algorithm. I also like to see how my contribution helps them grow and broaden their knowledge.

…I do not want to say that there is no problem at all with gender imbalance in computing, but I think that self-confidence is a key factor. We should stop comparing ourselves with our male counterparts and keep following our goals.

…Next year, ACM womENcourage will be organized in Baku, Azerbaijan, so get ready to submit your posters! And don’t do like me: I’ve not heard about womENcourage until the last day of the application…”

Read more from Elif on our blog.

ACM-Europe Blog: Reflections on womENcourage 2019

This month’s guest blogger is Elif Akeli, a PhD student at Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Turkey.

“I started my professional journey six years ago. During this time I have worked as both a software developer and a member of the academic staff at the university. I have been fortunate to have a taste of both career paths: industry and academic.

…From the research perspective, I feel engaged and fully absorbed when reading a new publication or testing a new algorithm. Doing research fulfils me. On the other hand, from the teaching assistant perspective, I enjoy working with students who come up with creative ideas and different points of view, for instance, about a specific algorithm. I also like to see how my contribution helps them grow and broaden their knowledge.

…I do not want to say that there is no problem at all with gender imbalance in computing, but I think that self-confidence is a key factor. We should stop comparing ourselves with our male counterparts and keep following our goals.

…Next year, ACM womENcourage will be organized in Baku, Azerbaijan, so get ready to submit your posters! And don’t do like me: I’ve not heard about womENcourage until the last day of the application…”

ACM Scholarship Winners!

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, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, 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 are happy to announce the first awards of 2020! We have four students going to the conferences they requested funds for. Undergraduate students Mansi Agrawal and Maitree Leekha are going to the flagship Artificial Intelligence conference, the 2020 AAAI Conference, this year in New York. Laxmi Pandey, a doctoral student at the University of California, Merced, is going to the ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval in Vancouver, Canada.  Aurora Macias Ojeda, a doctoral student from Escuela Superior de Ingeniería Informática, Alicete, Spain is going to the International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA), in Salvador, Brazil.

Our congratulations to all! We hope they will enjoy their meetings very much!

The next application deadline is February 15 for conferences taking place Apr 1 – May 31, 2020.  

For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

To see previous winners’ trip reports visit https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019

If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, at bono@di.unito.it.

ACM-W North America News

ACM-W North America welcomes the newest ACM-W Student chapter, California State University at Chico! Shout out to Bryan Dixon (faculty sponsor), Tanya Bellen Bonilla (Chair), Paige Marie Jones (Vice Chair) and Maena Haroldson (Treasurer) and the 16 chapter members for your efforts to support, celebrate, and advocate for women in computing.

We look forward to two upcoming Celebrations, Carolina Women in Computing (Feb 21 -22) and the Tri-State Women in Computing Conference for the tri-state area of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana (Feb 14-15).

We’ve joined social media! Be sure to follow ACM-W North America for the latest news and updates as we begin to move forward with our new regional committee! Find us on Facebook (@ACMWNorthAmerica), LinkedIn (ACM-W-North-America), and Twitter (@acmwnorthameric).

ACM-W Connections–January 2020

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

ACM-W is kicking off 2020 with lots of exciting news!

It with great pleasure that I announce the official establishment of ACM-W Asia-Pacific.  Following a successful workshop in Chengdu, China last May, women from Australia, China, Jakarta, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand continued to collaborate and work to establish this new regional committee.  Jacqueline Tate, Education Partnerships Manager at Coder Academy in Melbourne, Australia has accepted the role of inaugural chair of the group.  Other members of the leadership team include Deputy Chairs Pornsiri Muenchaisri (Thailand) and Jane Yang (China) and Events Chair Hiri Meidia (Indonesia).  The group has plans to convene another meeting in the coming months and explore the launching of a Celebration in the region as their first major event.  Look for more information from this committee in the coming months.

I am also pleased to announce that Viviene Sze, Associate Professor of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is the winner of the 2020 ACM-W Rising Star Award.  The award, made possible through the benevolence of Athena Lecturer awardee Andrea Goldsmith, was established to recognize a woman whose early-career research has had a significant impact on the computing discipline.  More about Vivienne and her research appears later in this newsletter.  Congratulations, Vivienne!

Over the next four months, there will be thirteen ACM Celebrations held in seven countries including India, the Philippines, Serbia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.  Visit the project web page (https://women.acm.org/2019-2020-celebrations) for more information about these events.

Thanks for standing with us as we work to fulfill our mission.
Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

Thank you, NCWIT!

ACM-W extends its sincere thanks to our longstanding partner, the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT), for its commitment to provide $27,000 to sponsor US-based Celebration during the 2019-2020 academic year.  These regional conferences are so impactful to the young women who attend.  Thank you, NCWIT, for your generous support!

Reminder: Applications for International Grad Cohort program are due – deadline extended!

For the past three years, ACM-W has been sponsoring teams of 2-3 people from countries outside of North America to attend the CRA-WP Grad Cohort workshop for women in hopes that this successful program replicates in areas around the world.  To date, events have been held in Greece, India, Ireland and Spain.  Additional events are being planned in Kuwait, the Philippines, and Turkey.  This year’s Grad Cohort workshop will be held April 16-18, 2020 in New Orleans, LA. We are extending the application deadline through January 22, 2020.  You can find the form to apply at https://bit.ly/34WQvaK

Other ACM-W News

  • The next deadline for the Scholarships Program is February 15th.  See the Scholarships web page (https://women.acm.org/scholarships/) for more details.
  • ACM-W Professional Chapters feature the ACM-W Ankara chapter
  • The ACM-W North America Committee highlights its Celebrations.
  • The ACM-W Europe report recognizes two women recently named as ACM Fellows.

ACM-W Rising Star Award Recipient: Vivienne Sze

ACM-W would like to announce Dr. Vivienne Sze as the winner of the inaugural ACM-W Rising Star Award. The ACM-W Rising Star Award recognizes a woman whose early-career research has had a significant impact on the computing discipline.  Dr. Sze will receive a framed certificate and $1,000 stipend. ACM-W would like to thank Dr. Andrea Goldsmith for her donation, which was used to establish this award.

Dr. Sze is an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department. Dr. Sze develops new techniques that bridge algorithm and hardware design, enabling designs optimized across multiple layers of abstraction for greatly improved performance. Her efforts focus on algorithms, circuits, and systems for a broad set of applications, including machine learning, computer vision, robotics, image processing, and video coding. Examples of her groundbreaking work include customized accelerators that provide substantial power reduction in computer vision and deep learning applications and new video coding algorithms that provide order-of-magnitude throughput improvements.

Dr. Sze is widely recognized and has received many awards, including the AFOSR and DARPA Young Faculty Award, faculty awards from Google, Facebook, and Qualcomm, the Edgerton Faculty Award, the 2018 Symposium on VLSI Circuits Best Student Paper Award, the 2017 CICC Outstanding Invited Paper Award, and the 2016 IEEE Micro Top Picks Award. She received the Jin-Au Kong Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Prize in electrical engineering at MIT in 2011. From September 2010 to July 2013, she was a Member of Technical Staff in the Systems and Applications R&D Center at Texas Instruments (TI), Dallas, TX, where she designed low-power algorithms and architectures for video coding. She also represented TI in the JCT-VC committee of ITU-T and ISO/IEC standards body during the development of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), which received a Primetime Engineering Emmy Award.

The ACM-W President Dr. Jodi Tims will be presenting the award (pending logistics) to Dr. Sze at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA 2020) in Valencia, Spain. We would like to congratulate Dr. Sze on her early career success and contributions to the field of computing!

ACM Celebrations in North America

Over the last two months, three Celebrations were held in three countries of North America reaching over 1,000 students! Celebrations were held by the Caribbean Celebration of Women in Computing (in Puerto Rico), Canadian Celebration (in Ontario, Canada), and a four-state Celebration in the U.S. (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas). Special shout-out to Nayda Santiago, Carol Spradling, and Wendy Powley and their volunteer teams for their time and efforts in supporting and encouraging future tech leaders. Next up are Celebrations in the U.S., including Carolina Women in Computing (North and South Carolina), Tri-state Women in Computing Conference (Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana), and Capital Area Women in Computing (Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey).

If you want to learn more about Celebrations in North America or are interested in volunteering, you can reach us at acm-w-na@volunteer.acm.org.

You can now follow us on Facebook! @ACMWNorthAmerica

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

Elena Ferrari and Wendy Mackay awarded ACM Fellowship

In December 2019, Prof. Elena Ferrari (University of Insubria) and Prof. Wendy Mackay (Inria -Saclay) were awarded ACM Fellowships, the two women from Europe to be recognised as ACM fellows.

Prof Elena Ferrari was recognised for her contributions to security and privacy of data and social network systems, and Prof. Wendy Mackay was recognised for her contributions to human-computer interaction, mixed reality and participatory design, and leadership in ACM SIGCHI.  Meet these wonderful women who are trailblazers in their respective fields.

Elena Ferrari, inspiring the next generation of women into cybersecurity

Photo by Gerald Bruneau, courtesy of  ©Fondazione Bracco, exhibition: Life as a Scientist

Elena Ferrari is a full professor of Computer Science at the University of Insubria, Italy where she leads the STRICT SociaLab.  She received her PhD and M.Sc. degrees in Computer Science from the University of Milano (Italy).

Prof.  Ferrari is a world-renowned researcher and leader with high impact research and technology contributions to data security and privacy. She leads research projects that create technologies to enable efficient and effective data sharing without sacrificing privacy or security. Prof. Ferrari’s research, ranging from social network privacy and IoT to online privacy, critical infrastructure protection, has received funding from several institutions and enterprises, including EU Commission, Google, IBM, and the Italian Ministry for University and Research. She has published several books and more than 240 papers in international journals and conference proceedings.

Prof. Ferrari is the recipient of several awards, including the ACM CODASPY Research Award for lasting and innovative research contributions to the cybersecurity and privacy fields (2019) and the ACM SACMAT 10 Year Test of Time Award (2019). She became an IEEE Fellow in 2012 for her research contribution to security and privacy for data and applications. In 2018, Prof. Ferrari was named one of the 50 most influential Italian women in tech.

Prof. Ferrari promotes cybersecurity and privacy to women extensively and has supervised numerous female PhD students. As part of the CONCORDIA EU  research project on cybersecurity, she actively participates in promoting women in cyber and has co-organized a workshop at our flagship event,  ACM WomenEncourage: Women in Cybersecurity: A manifesto for TODAY.  To date, women represent only 24% of the workforce in the cybersecurity domain. While the figure increased over the years, it is still far from the ideal of a balanced representation of both genders. Through the workshop at womENcourage, Prof. Ferrari and her co-organisers provided a much-needed forum for engaging with stakeholders from different areas of cybersecurity to agree on common objectives to bridge this gender gap.

Wendy Mackay, exploring the limits of technology interaction

Wendy Mackay is a Research Director at INRIA, Paris-Saclay and the Université Paris-Saclay (formerly Université Paris-Sud), the first and only woman promoted to Inria’s highest research rank. She received her PhD from MIT in Management of Technological Innovation, and an MA from Northeastern University in Experimental Psychology. In 2017, she was awarded Doctorem Scientarum Honoris Causa in the Faculty of Science by Aarhus University, Denmark for her whole career, particularly for her work on interactive video, participatory design and mixed reality.

She is responsible for many computing firsts: At Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), she wrote the original authoring software for IVIS, the world’s first commercial interactive video system (1983, pre-Macintosh). At MIT, she conducted the first major study of email and cognitive overload (the 1980s). At Xerox PARC, she helped establish a new community for computer augmented environments.

Prof. Mackay is currently leading the Ex)situ research group in Human-Computer Interaction at Inria. Her current research on human-computer partnerships fundamentally reenvisions interaction and shifts the perspective on the role of AI in interactive systems. Her Ex)situ research group explores the limits of interaction — how extreme users interact with technology in extreme situations. Her work particularly focuses on creative professionals, artists and designers who rewrite the rules as they create new works, and scientists who seek to understand complex phenomena through creative exploration of large quantities of data.

Prof. Mackay is a recognized leader in the international Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community, holding numerous leadership roles in ACM and SIGCHI, and has been instrumental in developing a strong HCI community in France. She received the ACM/SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award for Service this year. She is also a recipient of a European Research Council Advanced Grant.

We congratulate both professors wholeheartedly for their amazing careers, and for serving as great role models for all of us.

ACM-W Connections–December 2019

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

As we come to the end of this calendar year, I invite you to take a look back at the work of ACM-W over the 2018-2019 academic year.  For the first time, ACM-W has published an Annual Report that highlights all of the programs, partnerships, and activities of our organization.  Pulling this report together allowed us to reflect on the many ways in which students and professional women are impacted by the tireless efforts of our volunteers worldwide.  You can find the report at https://women.acm.org/acm-w-annual-report-2018-2019.  Please feel free to share the report liberally as we celebrate together the work of ACM-W.

In last month’s Connections, I shared a bit about the Gender Gap conference that was held in Trieste, Italy in November.  While we were there, we had the honor and privilege to meet Irene Beebwa, a master’s student from the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology in Arusha, Tanzania.  Irene has a real passion and enthusiasm for promoting computing to women and girls.  Included this month is a report from Irene that highlights the many ways in which she is helping to reduce the gender gap in her country.  Enjoy!

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

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

Ruth Lennon is the new ACM-W Europe Chair

Congratulations to Ruth Lennon, who has been elected the new ACM-W Europe Chair. Ruth is an enterprise application developer, researcher, and lecturer in the Department of Computing in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Natasa Milic-Frayling for her leadership, who will continue to work with ACM-W Europe as Past Chair. 

Thank you, Oracle!

ACM-W sends a sincere “Thank you!” to Oracle for its generous $20,000 donation in support of our scholarships program.  By continuing to invest in ACM-W Scholarships, Oracle’s gift will enable 18 domestic and 8 international undergraduate and/or graduate students to participate in technical research conferences that they might not otherwise have had the opportunity to attend.  We will highlight the experiences of these Oracle Scholars in future editions of Connections.

Reminder: Applications for International Grad Cohort program are open!

For the past three years, ACM-W has been sponsoring teams of 2-3 people from countries outside of North America to attend the CRA-WP Grad Cohort workshop for women in hopes that this successful program replicates in areas around the world.  To date, events have been held in Greece, India, Ireland and Spain.  Additional events are being planned in Kuwait, the Philippines, and Turkey.  This year’s Grad Cohort workshop will be held April 16-18, 2020 in New Orleans, LA. We invite applications to attend now through January 15, 2020.  You can find the form to apply at https://bit.ly/34WQvaK

Other ACM-W News

  • We welcome this month five new student chapters:
    • University of Hawaii at Manoa
    • University of Washington Bothell
    • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    • Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering
    • Boston University
  • The next deadline for the Scholarships Program is December 15th.  See the Scholarships report for more details.
  • The ACM-W North America Committee contributes it inaugural report.
  • ACM-W Europe reports on the first conference on the Advances in Computational Biology (AdvCOmpBio 2019)

Digital Inclusion for Young Women and Girls in Tanzania

By Irene Evarist Beebwa
Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST), P.O.Box 447, Arusha, Tanzania
Email: irenebeebwa@gmail.com/beebwai@nm-aist.ac.tz

1.0 Introduction

In this digital era, women participation and empowerment in Information and Communication Technology (ICTs) is vital and can contribute to global social-economic development. However, a gap still exists between women and men in ICTs especially in developing countries. For instance, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) reports that the proportional of women who have   access and use internet in Africa is a quarter less than that of men (AfriSIG, 2019).

Additionally, African school on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) reported that low digital literacy and confidence are some of the major barriers that hinders digital inclusion on gender (AfriSIG, 2019). It is against this background that Irene Evarist Beebwa who is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Information and Communication Science and Engineering is participating in various activities in order to enhance the digital inclusion for girls and young women in Tanzania.

As a Master’s Degree Student at NM-AIST, Irene has been actively involved in various outreach programs including Soapbox Science and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) promotional events organized mainly by NM-AIST.

2.0 Objectives  

  • To encourage Tanzanian girls and young women to take up studies and ​career in ICTs
  • To reduce the gap in gender digital divide
  • To contribute to sustainability of STEM outreach programs through capacity building of STEM ambassadors

3.0 Activities

3.1 About Soap Box Science

This is a platform that promotes Women in Science (WiS) and the science they do through inspirational talks in public events. Public events are conducted as a platform for girls and women to learn through questions and interactions. Irene participates in public events in Tanzania to inspire other young girls from the Science she is doing.

Irene Interacting with Secondary School girls and young women on digital inclusion during NaneNane event on August, 2019 in Arusha, Tanzania.

3.2 Promoting STEM to Young Girls in Primary and Secondary Schools

Apart from inspirational talks, Irene Beebwa also participates as a volunteer in capacity building of Students and Teachers from various Secondary Schools in Tanzania on basic ICT applications and good practice of Internet usage.

Irene talking to Secondary School girls in Meru-Arusha, Tanzania on why they should venture into ICT related career and steps to start their ICT journey
The Voice secondary school students unable to hide their curiosity on new and emerging technologies during a session with Irene
Inspiring Secondary School young girls from Arusha, Tanzania on why they should choose to study ICT

4.0 Achievements So Far

Based on the activities carried out so far the following have been the achievements scored:

  • Confidence building  amongst young women and  girls  to take up studies and ​careers in ICTs
  • Creating awareness on emerging technologies and the use of ICTs among young girls
  • Role model to young girls in STEM

Reference

AfriSIG. (2019). African women face widening technology gap. Retrieved from https://www.apc.org/en/news/african-women-face-widening-technology-gap

News from ACM-W Student Chapters

We are delighted to welcome the following new Student Chapters to ACM-W:

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • University of Washington Bothell
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering
  • Boston University

News from ACM-W Europe

Advances in Computational Biology (AdvCompBio 2019), Barcelona

The first conference on the Advances in Computational Biology (AdvCompBio 2019) was held in Barcelona, November 28 – 29, 2019,  to promote and increase the visibility of the research carried out by women in bioinformatics. The conference was organised by the Bioinfo4Women programme at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) with the collaboration of IMIM-UPF Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB), the Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute (INB/ELIXIR-ES) and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). ACM-W Europe co-organised a panel with the ISCB Regional Student Group Spain (RSG-Spain) to discuss the “Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Research”.  Read more.

Ruth Lennon is the new ACM-W Europe Chair

Congratulations to Ruth Lennon, who has been elected the new ACM-W Europe Chair. Ruth is an enterprise application developer, researcher, and lecturer in the Department of Computing in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Natasa Milic-Frayling for her leadership, who will continue to work with ACM-W Europe as Past Chair.

For more news from Europe, visit the ACM-W Europe December Newsletter https://acmweurope.acm.org/newsletter-december-2019/

Greetings from the ACM-W North America Committee Chair

The newly formed ACM-W North America committee is up and running! We are currently working on establishing roles and responsibilities as well as the important task of identifying the goals we will be working towards over the next two years in our region. North America covers a very large territory beyond the United States, including Mexico, Canada, U.S. Territories, Belize, Costa Rica, and many more.

Ellen Pao once said that “We need to understand that if we all work on inclusion together, it’s going to be faster, broader, better, and more thorough than anything we can do on our own.” On that note, we are currently looking for volunteers who might be interested in moving the ACM-W mission forward in North America. We are particularly interested in ensuring that women and male advocates outside of the United States are included in our work towards change. If you have a bit of time and a passion for supporting, celebrating, and advocating for women in computing, please reach out to me at acm-w-na@volunteer.acm.org.

Warm wishes to you and your families as 2019 comes to an end. 

Monica McGill
ACM-W North America Committee Chair

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 complimentary 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, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, 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.

This month we are proud to report that we finally finish putting up online all the award winners reports for 2019, so far (December decisions are still pending). YAY!!!

Check them out at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019 !

Making sure that our website works well for our readers, our funders, our award candidates and committee members is a big goal for us. As usual we welcome any feedback you may have on the program and/or the website. Just write to us!

Looking at the data from the year so far, we see we had 26 award winners out of 120 applicants. Out of these 15 awards were given to very promising undergraduates. From the 11 post-graduate awards, 5 went to Master’s students and 6 to doctoral students.

But we also wondered what do our readers think of the reports now online.

  • Do you like some more than others? Why? What makes an excellent report?
  • Which reports make you feel our scholarship is working?
  • Which reports would you like to see more of?
  • Would you like to vote on the best reports?
  • Would you like to give us more feedback, perhaps anonymously, in an internet form?

Do let us know! Emailing the scholarship committee chair is always an option, but would you like other channels?

We always find amazing stories in our awardee reports, they never cease to inspire us!

The next application deadline is December 15 for conferences taking place in Feb 1 – Mar 31, 2020.  

For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

To see previous winners’ reports visit https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019

If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, at bono@di.unito.it.

News from ACM-W Europe, December 2019

Advances in Computational Biology (AdvCompBio 2019), Barcelona

The first conference on the Advances in Computational Biology (AdvCompBio 2019) was held in Barcelona, November 28 – 29, 2019,  to promote and increase the visibility of the research carried out by women in bioinformatics. The conference was organised by the Bioinfo4Women programme at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC-CNS) with the collaboration of IMIM-UPF Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB), the Spanish National Bioinformatics Institute (INB/ELIXIR-ES) and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). ACM-W Europe co-organised a panel with the ISCB Regional Student Group Spain (RSG-Spain) to discuss the “Challenges of Artificial Intelligence in Biomedical Research”.  Read more.

Ruth Lennon is the new ACM-W Europe Chair

Congratulations to Ruth Lennon, who has been elected the new ACM-W Europe Chair. Ruth is an enterprise application developer, researcher, and lecturer in the Department of Computing in Letterkenny Institute of Technology, Ireland. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Natasa Milic-Frayling for her leadership, who will continue to work with ACM-W Europe as Past Chair. 

For more news from Europe, visit the ACM-W Europe December Newsletter https://acmweurope.acm.org/newsletter-december-2019/

News from ACM-W Student Chapter–December 2019

We are delighted to welcome the following new Student Chapters to ACM-W:

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • University of Washington Bothell
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering Boston University

Greetings from the ACM-W North America Committee Chair

The newly formed ACM-W North America committee is up and running! We are currently working on establishing roles and responsibilities as well as the important task of identifying the goals we will be working towards over the next two years in our region. North America covers a very large territory beyond the United States, including Mexico, Canada, U.S. Territories, Belize, Costa Rica, and many more.

Ellen Pao once said that “We need to understand that if we all work on inclusion together, it’s going to be faster, broader, better, and more thorough than anything we can do on our own.” On that note, we are currently looking for volunteers who might be interested in moving the ACM-W mission forward in North America. We are particularly interested in ensuring that women and male advocates outside of the United States are included in our work towards change. If you have a bit of time and a passion for supporting, celebrating, and advocating for women in computing, please reach out to me at acm-w-na@volunteer.acm.org.

Warm wishes to you and your families as 2019 comes to an end. 

Monica McGill
ACM-W North America Committee Chair

News from ACM-W Scholarships, December 2019

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 complimentary 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, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, 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.

This month we are proud to report that we finally finish putting up online all the award winners reports for 2019, so far (December decisions are still pending). YAY!!!

Check them out at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019 !

Making sure that our website works well for our readers, our funders, our award candidates and committee members is a big goal for us. As usual we welcome any feedback you may have on the program and/or the website. Just write to us!

Looking at the data from the year so far, we see we had 26 award winners out of 120 applicants. Out of these 15 awards were given to very promising undergraduates. From the 11 post-graduate awards, 5 went to Master’s students and 6 to doctoral students.

But we also wondered what do our readers think of the reports now online.

  • Do you like some more than others? Why? What makes an excellent report?
  • Which reports make you feel our scholarship is working?
  • Which reports would you like to see more of?
  • Would you like to vote on the best reports?
  • Would you like to give us more feedback, perhaps anonymously, in an internet form?

Do let us know! Emailing the scholarship committee chair is always an option, but would you like other channels?

We always find amazing stories in our awardee reports, they never cease to inspire us!

The next application deadline is December 15 for conferences taking place in Feb 1 – Mar 31, 2020.  

For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

To see previous winners’ reports visit https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019

If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, at bono@di.unito.it.

ACM-W Connections–November 2019

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

Several times over the past three years, I have mentioned ACM/ACM-W’s participation in the Gender Gap in Science project (https://gender-gap-in-science.org/).  This project had three major parts – a global survey of scientists aimed at understanding the experiences of men and women in science worldwide; an analysis of publication patterns of men and women in research journals; and the development of a database of best practices around recruiting and retaining girls and women in STEM.

The project held its culminating conference at the International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy on November 4-8.  ACM-W had five representatives in attendance: Tracy Camp (keynote speaker), Reyyan Ayfer (Regional Committees Chair of ACM-W), Catherine Lang and Annemieke Craig (representatives from Oceania), and myself. 

During the conference, we discussed major findings and recommendations of the project and heard from a variety of speakers spanning multiple scientific fields and many different countries.  The final report of the project will be available after the project’s official end on December 31st.  When it is released the link to access it will be provided in this newsletter.

On a personal level, I was deeply affected by the information that was presented, which made clear that the experiences and participation of women in many of the STEM fields still lags behind in comparison to those of men in science.  I was again reminded why I remain committed to the work that ACM-W does to support, celebrate and advocate for women in computing globally through our Celebrations, Chapters, and Scholarship programs.

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

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

International Grad Cohort program: 2020 applications being accepted

For the past three years, ACM-W has been sponsoring teams of 2-3 people from countries outside of North America to attend the CRA-WP Grad Cohort workshop for women in hopes that this successful program replicates in areas around the world.  To date, events have been held in Greece, India, Ireland and Spain.  Additional events are being planned in Kuwait, the Philippines, and Turkey.  This year’s Grad Cohort workshop will be held April 16-18, 2020 in New Orleans, LA. We invite applications to attend now through January 15, 2020.  You can find the form to apply at https://bit.ly/34WQvaK.

Other ACM-W News

Also appearing in this month’s newsletter:

  • The Northwest Ohio Professional Chapter is featured in the Professional Chapters report.
  • ACM-W Europe report features the new ACM Europe chair and announces womENcourage 2020.
  • A report from Grace Hopper India is contributed by ACM-W India.
  • The ACM-W Scholarships report announces the latest round of awardees.  Congratulations to the recipients!

News from ACM Scholarships Committee

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, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, 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 last round of the scholarship decisions. We are pleased to welcome five lucky winners:  one  undergraduate student,  Yasmeen Asali (from Columbia University, Astrophysics Dept), two Masters’ students (Sarah Brockman –  the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Vanessa Ann Beddoe Sawkmie – the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay), and two PhD students, Chhavi Sharma – IIT, Bombay and Nayantara Kotoky, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, India. 

Yasmeen is going across the country from New York City to Honolulu, Hawai’i, US, to present at the 235th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Sarah is going across the Northern border to the recently renamed NeurIPS,  the 33rd Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems, happening this year in Vancouver, Canada. Like Sarah, Chhava is also going to NeurIPS in Canada, but all the way from  the IIT Bombay, Mumbai in  India.  Nayantara from the IIT, Guwahati is going to Boca Raton, Florida for the 18th IEEE International Conference on Machine Learning and Applications. Finally, our last winner, Vanessa, a graduate student at IIT Bombay, Mumbai, pursuing her final year in Operations Research is going to Macau, China for the IEEE  IEEM  2019  International  Conference for  Industrial  Engineering  and  Operations  Research. We are very proud to see our students going places. Congratulations to our five awardees!!

The next application deadline is December 15 for conferences taking place in Feb 1 – Mar 31, 2020.  

For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

To see previous winners’ reports visit https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019

If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, at bono@di.unito.it.

ACM-W Professional Chapter: Spotlight on Northwest Ohio ACM-W

On Friday, October 18th, five student chapters from four different universities helped kick-off the NWO Professional Chapter 2019-2020 networking series. After an inspiring keynote from NASA’s Kristin Bury, Integration Manager, European Service Module Integration Office, each student chapter reported on their activities and shared ideas for how the professional chapter can support their members’ career development.  The next NWO ACM-W event invites students and local professionals to tour and network with the OnPoint Group, a technology company that supports distribution/logistics systems.  Check out the NWO ACM-W facebook page for more event ideas: https://www.facebook.com/NorthwestOhioACMW/

We want to shine a spotlight on your ACM-W Professional Chapter activities. Please send us your event summaries and pictures (Rachelle Hippler – rhippler@bw.edu).

News from the ACM-W Communications Committee!

Announcing ACM-W Downloadable Graphics

The Communications Committee is pleased to announce a new resource for ACM-W Chapters and Celebrations. Shareable graphics are now available from our website: https://women.acm.org/graphics/

Here you will find logos and posters and design elements suitable for use in creating promotional materials for your group or event.

What can you do with these graphics? Download them! Print them! Edit them! Share them! Use them to make stickers, badges, web-pages, banners, posters, event notices, pamphlets, flyers, tee shirts, mugs, tote bags, social media identities, magnets, coasters… and so much more!

Now Recruiting: Website Editors

The ACM-W Communications Committee is recruiting for two volunteers to maintain our websites. Specifically, we are seeking an editor for the ACM-W Wikipedia page and also for the ACM-W website.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The site editor’s primary responsibility is to ensure quality readership. Thus editor’s regular task may include, but are not confined to, the following: preparing and formatting content, reviewing articles, researching sources, editing grammar and content. It is expected that an editor will  spend less than 10 hours a month uploading content and editing existing pages.

SKILLS

The successful applicant will have experience with research and professional writing in the practice of similar assignments. The candidate will also have technical experience with WordPress, wikitext, visual editors and similar tools.

APPLICATION

Please send a letter of interest to bettina.bair@gmail.com. Include all meaningful and relevant experience.

News from ACM-W Europe

ACM Names Prof. Susanne Boll as Distinguished Member

ACM has named Prof. Susanne Boll, professor of Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems at the University of Oldenburg, one of 62 computer scientists worldwide to be recognized this year as Distinguished Members for their outstanding contributions in computing.

The ACM Distinguished Member program recognizes up to 10% of ACM worldwide membership based on professional experience as well as significant achievements in the computing field. Prof. Boll is the only female computer scientist from Europe recognised for this honour this year.

“Each year it is our honour to select a new class of Distinguished Members,” said ACM President Cherri M. Pancake. “Our overarching goal is to build a community wherein computing professionals can grow professionally and, in turn, contribute to the field and the broader society. We are delighted to recognize these individuals for their contributions to computing, and we hope that the careers of the 2019 ACM Distinguished Members will continue to prosper through their participation with ACM.” Read the ACM news release.

Prof. Susanne Boll:  A research leader in Multimedia – A true champion for diversity

Prof. Susanne Boll is a full professor for Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems at the University of Oldenburg and a member of the board of the OFFIS-Institute for Information Technology. OFFIS belongs to the top 5% research institutes among the non-university institutes in computer science in Germany. Prof. Boll has an excellent track record in the field of interactive multimedia and human-computer interaction, with an impressive number of peer-reviewed scientific publications. Prof. Boll has done an outstanding and continued professional service to the ACM community as an active member of both SIGMM and SIGCHI. The research community has recognized her leadership and scientific competence and has entrusted her with chairing important conferences and serving on steering committees, members of editorial boards.

Over her entire academic career, Prof. Boll has been championing equal opportunities and diversity. She is particularly interested in the factors and environments inspiring young girls to choose STEM subjects in their higher education and leads a research project that explores role models and curricula in Computer Science for high school girls (Smile Smart Future Me). This year, Prof. Boll has been appointed as the Director of Diversity and Outreach in the Executive Committee of ACM SIGMM. You can read Prof. Boll’s views on improving diversity in her field in this interview.

Heartfelt congratulations to Prof. Susanne Boll!

New Blog Series: Reflections on womENcourage 2019

Starting from this month, we will be featuring a series of guest blogs from womENcourage 2019 participants. They will share their career journeys, their challenges but what they also love most about this field, and how womENcourage inspires them.

Our first guest blogger is Enxhi Shkurta from Albania. She graduated from the Polytechnic University of Tirana, in Telecommunications Engineering and is currently doing a Master of Science in Telecommunications at the University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.

She writes:  “Finding a female engineering role model in college was like finding a needle in a haystack. BUT, at the womENcourage events, you can meet and talk with many inspirational tech female leaders from every corner of Europe and deep dive into tech trends that are changing the face of computing.”

Read more on our blog.

GHCI 2019 – The Grace Hopper Celebration India 2019

 November 6-8, 2019, Bangalore, India

The 10th edition of Grace Hopper Celebration India was organized by Anita Borg at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre during 6-8 November 2019. This was co-presented by ACM India.

In GHCI, a  student scholar connect session was organized on 8th November by ACM-W specifically to cater to the needs of students. This was a panel discussion on “Looking into the Future: Preparing for the jobs of Tomorrow”. This panel was moderated by one of the ACM-W India council members, Dr.Chitra Babu Prof. and Head SSN College of Engineering, Kalavakkam. The panelists were Dr. Meenakshi D’Souza, Associate Professor from IIIT Bangalore, Dr. Medha Atre from Persistent Systems Ltd and Dr. Sukanyya Misra, Senior Vice President, Master card. This panel discussed how the students can acquire technical as well as non-technical skills and competencies that are essential for the future job roles that don’t even exist today.

L-R : Chitra Babu, Sukanyya Misra, Medha Atre, Meenakshi D’Souza

There were interesting insights about how industry and academia should join hands in inculcating/nurturing these skills. It was well-received by the student community and there were lots of interactions with the panelists at the end of the session.

Interactions with the panelists during GHCI 2019

A small meet up of ACM Sponsored Scholars was organized on 7th November during GHCI2019.  ACM India  sponsored 40 participants which included students and 7 faculty/industry members. ACM-W India council chair Dr. Heena Timani along with 3 council members, Dr. Chitra Babu, Dr. Maushumi Barooah and Ms, Gunjan Lal attended the event. ACM student  representatives shared their experiences, learning and various activities they are organizing  on their campus under ACM chapter to motivate girls students .They interacted with the student members from various colleges, discussed the activities that have been happening in their respective colleges and also created awareness regarding various other opportunities that  they could make use of. Some of the opportunities include programming competition for girls, National level Hackathon for girls, girls in tech community services. ACM W strive to create a community for women in technology where they can come together to learn from each other, bond, network, discuss ideas, and encourage each other. All the ACM Chapter participants got opportunities to network with other ACM student chapters representatives.

ACM W Council Members with students  during GHCI 2019

ACM-W Connections–October 2019

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

The 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) was held on October 2-4 in Orlando, FL.  ACM-W once again participated in several activities during the conference.  In collaboration with our partners at CRA-WP and NCWIT, we presented a session entitled “What Does Success Look Like?”.  Tracy Camp, Lucy Sanders and I were joined by Kim Vorrath (Apple), Ed Lazowska (University of Washington), and two of our ACM-W student chapter leaders from College of William & Mary, Katherine Lannen and Linda Wu.  Each of the presenters told their story of success in increasing participation of women in computing in their setting.  I was particularly proud of our student leaders as they talked about the dynamic ACM-W student chapter they have built, which has won Chapter Excellence awards each of the past two years.

ACM-W, in partnership with CRA-WP, sponsored a session entitled “ACM Award Winning Research in Cybersecurity”.  Aisha Ali-Gomba Alexandra Dmitrienko, and Shagufta Mehnaz gave encore presentations of their presentations that earned them best paper honors at ACM conferences during the last year.

Finally, I want to give a shout out to Bettina Bair, Communications Chair, and the team of ACM-W faculty and student volunteers who helped make our ACM-W booth in the exhibit hall a huge success. (See Bettina’s report below for more details).  Many visitors to the booth helped fill our maps with sticky notes representing their interest in starting a new student or professional chapter or holding a celebration in their home region.  As we follow up on these leads, we hope to see a surge in ACM-W presence worldwide in the coming months. 

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

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

Reminder: Rising Star Award Nominations are Open!

The ACM-W Rising Star Award is a new award to recognize a woman whose early-career research has had a significant impact on the computing discipline, as measured by factors such as frequent citation of their work, creation of a new research area, a high degree of technology transfer and/or other positive influences and societal impact. The award will be given annually, and the recipient will receive a framed certificate and $1,000 stipend. Nominations will remain open until November 15, 2019. ACM-W thanks Andrea Goldsmith, ACM Athena Award winner, for her generous donation that made this award possible. More information about the award and the nomination form can be found at https://women.acm.org/acm-w-awards/rising-star-award/

Meeting the community at GHC 2019

Bettina Bair, ACM-W Communications Chair

ACM-W had a booth at last week’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Over the four days of the event, the booth was continuously staffed by ACM-W committee members and ACM-W student chapter members. ACM-W is especially grateful for the generous help by members of student chapters who volunteered in our booth. They really provided an incredible boost and positive energy.

Lillian Chow and Jenni Silverstein, of the Ohio State University ACM-W Student Chapter. Photo by Bettina Bair

The volunteers seemed to be having fun as well. Jin Koay, of the University of Central Florida ACM-W Student Chapter said, “Getting to volunteer at the ACM-W booth made my GHC experience all the more memorable. After a whole day and a half of visiting company booths, it was nice to do something a little different and meaningful for the community around me. I enjoyed meeting other ACM-W members, sharing about what my chapter (UCF) does, and encouraging prospective members to start an ACM-W chapter at their institutions. Side note: I absolutely loved the cute stickers at the ACM-W booth!”

Volunteer booth staff distributed more than 20k of those cute ACM-W stickers.  They also gave away thousands of pieces of ACM swag that included pamphlets, pens, pencils, and small notebooks.

We were pleased to be able to meet so many talented women in computing during the conference. There was a continuous stream of people at our booth who were interested in learning more about ACM-W.

Visitors heard about the benefits of ACM-W Chapter membership and attending a Regional Celebration. ACM-W has nearly 200 chapters and more than 70,000 members worldwide. Many times we were able to connect a booth visitor to an existing chapter already active in her school. We were also able to collect information from several attendees who were interested in starting a new chapter in their area.  

More than 70 women said that they would like to start an ACM-W Professional Chapter in their area. Popular locations included: SF, LA, Chicago, Cincinnati, Seattle and Richmond, VA. If you are interested in starting an ACM-W Professional Chapter in your area, please visit: https://www.acm.org/chapters/professionals/how-to-start-a-professional-acm-w-chapter

More than 30 girls said that they wanted to start an ACM-W Student Chapter in their school. If you are interested in starting an ACM-W Student Chapter in your school, please visit: https://women.acm.org/chapter/student-chapter-quick-start-guide/

Please visit our Facebook page to see our GHC19 photo album, and tribute to all of our volunteers: https://www.facebook.com/women.acm.org/

News from ACM-W Student Chapters

We’re excited to welcome our five new chapters: Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering in Tamil Nadu, India; Oregon State University in Cascades; University of Massachusetts in Lowell; University of Alabama in Huntsville; and Kent State University.

It was so exciting to meet many ACM-W members from around the world at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.  We’d like to thank all the student volunteers who helped out at the booth in the Exhibit Hall.  We collected information from people interested in joining or starting both student and professional chapters as well as distributing a lot of our ACM-W stickers.

News from ACM 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 complimentary 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, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, 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!

Since we are now in the process of putting up the full collection of reports from previous winners online at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019, here we simply report the award winners for the last round of the scholarship decisions. (actually, we’re still working on the backlog, but getting there!)

Bianca Teixeira, a Master’s student from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil went to INTERACT, a conference in Human-Computer Interaction in Paphos, Cyprus and wrote to us “INTERACT 2019 was my first Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) conference, which is my field of study. I am a Master’s student with little experience in academia, so attending the conference was very eye-opening. I got to meet people from all over the world who work in so many fascinating projects in HCI, and this only made me more excited to keep working and researching. I loved presenting my paper on fake news and misinformation at a workshop, and loved discussing my research with fellow researchers. The community seemed very open to engage in debate on the future of the information world regarding misinformation, which was really cool.” Kritika Agrawal, from Hyderabad, India attended the  2019 Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (NAACL 2019) in  Minnesota, United States and sweetly wrote to us: “NAACL 2019 in Minneapolis, USA was a life changing experience for me and I cannot thank ACM W and my institute’s lab, DSAC, enough for giving me this wonderful opportunity. […] NAACL was an absolutely amazing experience for me as I got to experience a community that I wish to become an integral part of some day. Though initially a little overwhelming, the numerous formal and informal sessions provided a platform for insightful, comfortable, and fun interactions. For my first conference, I could not have asked for a better experience!” 

We are proud to see our students going places and striving to give back to others. Congratulations to all our awardees!!

The next application deadline is October 15 for conferences taking place in Dec 1 – Jan 30, 2020.   For more information and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/

If you have any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, at bono@di.unito.it.

News from ACM-W Europe

Rome, Italy  September 16-18, 2019
https://womencourage.acm.org

womENcourage 2019 ACM Celebration of Women in Technology brought the buzz and much excitement to Rome in September. Women in the computing profession came together for a programme packed with insightful topics and engaging educational and networking activities. 

In the spirit of diversity, 350 participants from 32 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and America included more than half students (62% graduate and 38% undergraduate) and 15% malen attendees.

Participants were delighted with opportunities to learn from each other, to inspire and to be inspired.  After attending the womEncourage, Joanna Broniarek sent a note : 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers of the ACM Celebration of Women in Computing, womENcourage 2019 conference held in Rome, for the scholarship and wonderful experience. I enjoyed all of the aspects of this three-day event. The first day was quite challenging for me as it was my first hackathon. However, after meeting my teammates and spending a few hours building our business product we unanimously agreed that it was above all great fun and we are proud of our work.

Nevertheless, that was not the end of my challenges, because I had the pleasure to present my poster for the next day. It was also my first experience of this kind and that is why I am even more grateful for nominating my poster for the 10 best posters at the conference. It is a great honour for me. All the workshops, important talks and wonderful people were very inspiring to me. I hope to see you again at next year’s conference.”

Read more about the Hackathon and the WSense Lab in our blog: https://acmweurope.acm.org/inspire-learn-and-experience-at-the-heart-of-womencourage-2019/

In the following months, our blog will be used by womENcourage participants to share their experiences and reflections. Stay tuned!

ADA University to host womENcourage 2020 in Baku

We have exciting news! The 7th ACM Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2020 will be  held in Baku, Azerbaijan at the ADA University.

Azerbaijan is a culturally rich region, upholding its traditions. It is known as the first democratic republic (1918) in the Muslim East, where women were granted the right to vote in 1919, before many Western democracies.

Baku has been a popular destination for many international events from Eurovision in 2012 to European Games in 2015 and annual F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix starting from 2017. Most recently, it has been the home of the 31st International Olympiad in Informatics IOI2019 (www.ioi2019.az) in August 2019.

womENcourage 2020 host, the ADA University (www.ada.edu.az) is a young progressive university and has held local annual Ada’s Legacy events since 2016.

Join us in Azerbaijan! We look forward to seeing you there for another exciting and trully enthrilling womENcourage event!

News from ACM-W India

ACM-W India Celebration of Women in Computing 2019

ACM-W India Celebration of Women in Computing 2019 was organized by ACM W India and  ACM Ahmedabad Chapter at IIT Gandhinagar on 13th July 2019 under the theme “Soft Computing for Global Development”. The conference focused on the importance of Soft Computing for humanity and the career paths for Women in Computing.

Prof. Rutvi Shah, Assistant Professor, Chimanbhai Institute of Technology

The inaugural ceremony started with a Welcome Address by Prof. Rutvi Shah, Vice Chairman of ACM Ahmedabad Chapter.

Prof. Heena Timani, ACM-W India Executive Council Chair

This was followed by a Ceremonial Address by Prof. Heena Timani, ACM-W India Executive Council Chair in which she talked about the motto and purpose of ACM-W and how each one of us can contribute. During the Ceremonial Address, Prof. Timani, briefed the audience about Association of Computing Machinery being the largest computing education society worldwide that strives unconditionally to raise the bar of students by helping them in terms of career resources, mentoring, workshops, conferences and publications She focused on the objective of AICWiC’19 to support, motivate and inspire women researchers in India by providing them a platform where they can candidly interact with others and hence explained the importance of ACM-W Chapter. She also discussed the various events and awards conducted by ACM and ACM-W in India.

Dr Gargi Das Gupta, Director of IBM Research India and CTO of IBM India and South Asia

The first Keynote address of the day was delivered by Dr Gargi Das Gupta, Director of IBM Research India and CTO of IBM India and South Asia. She elaborated on how Artificial Intelligence is omnipresent in today’s world and how it can be applied to solve real-world problems, particularly in the sphere of Retail and Agriculture. She also explained the evolution of AI from Narrow to Broad to General AI and how IBM is contributing to the advancements in the field.

Prof. Joycee M Mekie, IIT Gandhinagar

The second keynote was delivered by Prof. Joycee M Mekie, IIT Gandhinagar, on the topic “Energy Efficient Hardware for AI/ML”. She highlighted the often-ignored hardware aspects of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and introduced the performance and energy challenges faced by researchers today. She focused on the trade-offs between error-resiliency and energy consumption. Other research areas explained by her include Approximation, Energy Efficient Memory Design, Radiation Hardened designs for Space, etc.

The two sessions were very complementary to each other as one highlighted the software aspects of AI, while the other drew the audience’s attention to the hardware aspects.

The keynotes were followed by a Poster presentation in which various students displayed their research work before the jury in the form of posters.

After a lunch break, the session continued with Panel Discussion on the theme “Soft Computing for Global Development/ Women in Computing”.

The Expert Panelists were:

  • Prof. Hiteishi Diwanji, Head IT Department, L.D. College of Engineering
  • Prof. Neeldhara Misra, Assistant Professor CSE, IIT Gandhinagar
  • Prof. Rutvi Shah, Assistant Professor, Chimanbhai Institute of Technology
  • Ms. Gunjan Lal, DevOps Engineer, Adobe India and ACM-W Council Member

The Panel Discussion was moderated by Prof. Heena Timani. The panelists elaborated on their career path and encouraged the girls to take their technical careers further.

(L to R) Prof. Heena Timani, ACM-W India Executive Council Chair Prof. Hiteishi Diwanji, Head It Department, L.D. College of Engineering Prof. Neeldhara Misra, Assistant Professor CSE, IIT Gandhinagar Prof. Rutvi Shah, Assistant Professor, Chimanbhai Institute of Technology Ms. Gunjan Lal, DevOps Engineer, Adobe India and ACM-W Council Member

Prof. Hiteishi Diwanji shared her thoughts on Information Technology and Humanity, and also highlighted the Pros and cons of teaching in Government set up. Prof. Neeldhara Misra connected with the students with various examples from her own life and explained how she made her career in teaching Computer Science to the bright undergraduate students. Prof. Rutvi Shah elaborated on her research in Soft computing and also focused on the non-academic activities in teaching. Ms. Gunjan Lal gave an overview of issues in education for women in STEM fields and emphasized on the different domains in the corporate world in Computing.  All the panelists shared how their association with ACM and ACM-W had helped them in their careers.

The session came to an end with a Valedictory Award Ceremony where the winners for Lady Ada Programming Competition and Poster Presentation were felicitated with prizes by Dr. Chandrashekhar Sahasrabudhe, COO of ACM India and Suji Gopalan, Country Manager of Oracle Academy India.

        The Official Vote of Thanks was delivered by Ms. Gunjan Lal who thanked Oracle, TCS and Reliscore for supporting this initiative and the whole team at IIT Gandhinagar for being such great hosts.

In her Concluding Remarks, Prof. Neeldhara Misra expressed her gratitude to the whole organizing team of AICWiC’19 and the audience for making the event a huge success.

ACM India Summer School for Women, 2-14 July 2019

The ACM-W Summer School on Algorithmic Game Theory was held from 2nd July to 14th July 2019 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar. The school saw 50 hours of lectures by nine speakers, namely: Meghana Nasre (IIT Madras), Prajakta Nimbhorkar (CMI), Sushmita Gupta (NISER Bhubaneswar), Dinesh Garg (IBM), Siddharth Barman (IISc), Nidhi Rathi (IISc), Palash Dey (IIT Kharagpur) and Neeldhara Misra (IIT Gandhinagar), apart from several tutorials supported by Chinmay Sonar (MTech scholar, IIT Gandhinagar) and Suman Banerjee (PhD scholar, IIT Kharagpur). 

The students appreciated the overall experience of the school. Apoorva Manerikar, a B.Tech final year student in Computer Science at MIT-World Peace University, Pune and a participant at the Summer School 2019, said: “A variety of eminent speakers, a fair-mix of mathematics and engineering graduates and algorithmic game theory – it was a perfect combination for us! The topics were new and we were thrilled at the way they were explained to us here. It was a wonderful and enriching experience.” Another participant, Namrata Sahayam, a Ph.D. scholar from Shri Govindram Seksaria Institute of Technology and Science, Indore, explained that this initiative by IIT Gandhinagar will be very beneficial for all the women-participants in their future careers. According to her, the most interesting part was the ease with which the speakers switched between the basics and detailed real-life examples while covering a wide range of topics. “To experience the education and the entire academic structure of IIT Gandhinagar was like a dream come true! The excellently managed library services and world-class faculty are some of the best features of this Institute,” she said. All participants received certificates of participation in summer school.

The school focused on topics in computational social choice, covering traditional topics and recent advances alike. The broad themes that were covered included stable and popular matchings, fair division of indivisible items and cake cutting and problems related to elections and voting.. The school witnessed participation from 35 girls who had come from across various colleges in the country. A special session was hosted by Ms. Pallavi Khandelwal from Codechef, who addressed various issues related to women in computing, in particular calling out gender stereotypes related to coding and math, and also issues related to societal biases. This was an especially inspiring session that lasted well beyond the planned time, and participants opened up about the various challenges that they faced even in being able to make it to the present school.

The lecture videos are now available online from this link