We’ve reached the end of another year of programming for ACM-W. And what a year it has been! In spite of the challenges we’ve faced, ACM-W activity worldwide continued in the form of virtual Celebrations, Chapter activities, and our webinar series, Celebrating Technology Leaders. My heartfelt thanks to those who worked hard and used creativity to ensure that we could continue to support, celebrate and advocate for all women in computing.
As has become customary, the ACM-W leadership team will be taking a little time off in the coming weeks and then working in earnest to plan for the next year’s activities. Consequently, there will not be a newsletter in July or August, but we’ll look forward to connecting again in September.
Thanks for standing with us as we work to fulfill our mission.
Jodi Tims, ACM-W Chair
Attending conferences in person allows young and upcoming researchers to make meaningful human connections leading to strong collaborations, sometimes life-long ones, and to aspire to be more than they might otherwise do. The pandemic is still not over, and its impact and consequences have been felt across the world. We, the ACM-W scholarship committee, feel sorry especially for those female students who are at the beginning or in the middle of their PhD, when attending a conference in person can be a true life-changer.
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. This program was started in 2013 by Elaine Weyuker.
The student does not have to present a paper at the conference to be eligible for a scholarship. Applications are evaluated on 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.
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.
Scholarships Awarded – Congratulations to the Recent Winners!
This month we report the names of the five lucky winners who will be attending conferences in July 2021. In undergraduate; Majoring in Computer Science, Abigail Oppong from Ghana to attend Computing, Computational Modelling and Application in Ghana. Majoring in Mathematics, Hetvi Jethwani from India to attend The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO) 2021. In Graduate School; The following students from Italy will also be attending GECCO 2021, Masters in Engineering, Giorgia Nadizar, Masters in Computer Science, Lara Dal Molin (studying in UK) and PhD in Engineering student, Erica Salvato.
Apply for Next Scholarship
The deadline is October 15 for conferences taking place between Dec 1 – Jan 30, 2022. For more details and to apply visit: https://women.acm.org/scholarships/
For any questions, please contact the scholarship committee chair Prof. Viviana Bono, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Awards that May be of Interest
Grant: Helmut Veith Stipend for Female Master’s Students in Computer Science – Scholarship for women in mathematics/computer science at http://www.vcla.at/helmut-veith-stipend/
Annual Deadline: November 30
Announcements from the ACM-W Scholarship Committee
We welcome Dr. Catherine Inibhunu, the new ACM-W Scholarship Committee Member. Catherine is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Ontario Tech University in Canada. https://businessandit.ontariotechu.ca/ai4hw/researchers/post-doc/index.php.
We look forward to when some normalcy may suffice as we continue to advance science and technology in virtual settings.
Jessica Hair, Jaelle Scheuerman, Gürkan Solmaz, Pam Wisniewski
A recent survey of early-career computing professionals found that although many people benefit from the flexibility of remote work, many groups, particularly women and minorities, face challenges while working remotely. A volunteer team from the ACM Future of Computing Academy (FCA) explored the impacts of the new era of remote work after COVID-19 on early-career computing professionals. They conducted a survey to understand how remote work affects many aspects of early-career computing professionals’ personal and work lives, including their productivity, mental health, and well-being. The survey also asked how working remotely is impacting the usability, accessibility, privacy, security, diversity, and inclusion of work environments. The survey was completed in July 2020 with 253 respondents, 39.3% of which identify as women. Some questions asked people to rank how positively, or negatively, they felt about various aspects of remote work. Other questions were open-ended, asking respondents to highlight the most significant impacts of remote work.
Survey responses indicated that remote work affects people in a variety of different ways. When asked to rank how positively remote work impacted diversity and inclusion efforts, 36% of women reported seeing a positive effect on diversity and inclusion compared to men, of whom only 12% reported positive effects on diversity and inclusion. Respondents mentioned benefits, such as how flexible work hours and reduced commutes have allowed them to spend more time with family. Others noted the benefits of virtual conferences and meetings for diversity and inclusion efforts. Participants also mentioned many drawbacks faced by women in remote work. Video calls and chat rooms made some women feel isolated and unheard. Mothers faced many challenges juggling child-care with work. For example, some noted that some decision-making meetings were scheduled during times they were unavailable due to child care.
Overall, the survey highlighted that while many people benefited from remote work, many experienced drawbacks as well. As many organizations begin implementing long-term remote work, it is vital that they carefully design their remote work policies and environments to address the unique challenges faced by early-career professionals and women.
A blog series describing the insights gathered from the survey, including the benefits and drawbacks of remote work and recommendations for coping with the major challenges, can be found on Medium at: https://medium.com/p/5d7ed50c923/.
We are delighted to host guests on ACM-W Europe blog, and this quarter we had fantastic contributions.
Breath of Fresh Air: Diversity Heroes – Barbora Buhnova Our March 2021 guest was Barbara Buhnova, is a Co-Founder and Governing Board member of Czechitas, the community behind the scenes of the womENcourage 2021 conference. This Czech non-profit organisation emerged in 2014 to empower girls and women to engage in computing education or career transition. Bara is an Associate Professor and vice-dean at Masaryk University (MU), Faculty of Informatics in Brno. She leads multiple research teams at the Faculty of Informatics MU (software architecture), the Institute of Computer Science MU (big data analytics), and the Czech CyberCrime Centre of Excellence C4e (critical infrastructures). Bara is a leading member of multiple initiatives engaging more women in tech (e.g. Czechitas, Informatics Europe working group Women in Informatics Research and Education (WIRE), EU COST Action: European Network for Gender Balance in Informatics) reaching across the entire Europe. Read more from Barbora on our blog.
Blog Series: Telling our Stories: Aayesha March 2021 postwas by Aayesha, who recently completed her MS in Computer Science from Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST), Pakistan. Her research focuses on automating the detection of epileptic seizures using machine learning techniques. “When I enrolled for MS in computing, I was confused about picking my research topic, and I could not find assistance from my teachers. After several days of searching on the web, I chose machine learning-based epilepsy detection as a research topic. I wrote a complete thesis on this topic as well as two research articles.” Well done Aayesha for persevering and discovering your passion! Read more from Aayesha on our blog.
How to organise an ACM-Women Europe Celebration in 10 Steps In April 2021, we caught up with Laura Castro from the Spanish celebrations to share their insights and lessons learnt. Laura Castro is a professor at the University of A Coruña, where she has been teaching since 2005 on Software Architecture and Software Validation. Her research focuses on software testing (automated, model and property-based testing), applied to software in general, and distributed, concurrent, functional systems in particular (mainly working with Erlang/OTP and Elixir). She shared with us the top lessons she learnt for creating a new celebration. It starts with: A few friends that want to make a difference can come together and create a celebration! For the rest visit our blog!
womENcourageTM 2021 that is going to be virtual (coordinated from Prague, Czech Republic), 22-24 September, 2021.The slogan of this year’s event is “Bridging Communities to Foster Innovation”. In an increasingly technology-driven world and a rapidly changing economic environment, the field of computing cannot reach its full innovation and creativity potential if formed of homogeneous expertise, represented unevenly only by a fraction of the population. To foster innovation, we shall stop compartmentalising scientific progress by disciplines and encourage innovation across boundaries.
Here are 5 reasons to join us at the womENcourage 2021 this year:
- For inspiration and connection: Continue building the future of opportunity. Get inspired by the leading figures in computing, many of which are women. Inspire others and make connections. Find your voice among a diverse community of early-career to mid-career or transition to new directions (retired / returning) colleagues. Pave the way for cooperation by meeting and connecting with like-minded individuals and top minds in your field.
- For challenge and validation: Challenges are important parts of life that shape us. Learn to understand the value of your ideas and push them from the drawing board into reality. Continue growing your self – esteem and appreciating the ideas you bring to the table.
- For encouragement and support: We all have faced struggles and obstacles and, at one point or another, have not always seen the best in ourselves. If you feel like you could use a bit of help from others in your area of expertise, this is a conference for you. After all, #womENcourage embeds the support in the title itself.
- For purpose: Research/poster sessions that represent the social impact on challenges facing our communities and the world. Join or start projects that might bring breakthrough progress to our society.
- For opportunity: Women in computing across sectors are making change real and possible across a changing business, policy, and cultural landscape. From employment to partnerships to investment, learn what’s happening around the world and how you can grow opportunities for yourself, your company, and your networks.
Get A Scholarship
Thanks to the generous womENcourageTM supporters, local and international alike, you have a chance to receive a participation scholarship to join the event. Together with our supporters we are proud to announce scholarships to a number of students, who actively participate in the conference (with poster, workshop, tutorial, hackathon). A small number of scholarships will be offered to students who do not contribute to the program actively, but have shown exceptional interest in the relevant fields, and are preferably in the first year(s) of their studies
|Registration open||June 1, 2021|
|Scholarship applications due||June 10, 2021|
|Hackathon interest to participate due||August 10, 2021|
To learn more, follow this link to the Call to Take Part.
Wish to organize the 2023 womENcourage? – Call for Proposals Open
The call for hosting womENcourage 2022 is now closed. The venue will be announced on 24 September 2021 during the closing session of womENcourage 2021. We are now looking for proposals to host womENcourage 2023.
The proposal process includes two phases (all the templates you will need are provided at the end):
- Expressions of Interest (EoI) to be submitted no later than 17 June 2021 23:59 AoE, but earlier submissions are welcome and indeed highly recommended. Submitting an EoI does not constitute a firm commitment to hosting. It is a first step towards a conversation with ACM-W Europe which will help you navigate the process of applying to be a host venue, by thinking early about what you need to have in place to fulfill the requirements to host the event. Notification of a successful EoI proposal will be communicated via email by 2 July 2021.
- Full Hosting Proposals to be submitted by 12 August 2021 23:59 AoE. Notification of the final decision on 10 February 2021.
Here are the links to the call documents:
|Expression of Interest Due||17 June 2021 23:59 AoE|
|Notification of a successful Expression of Interest proposal||by 2 July 2021|
|Full Proposal deadline||12 August 2021 23:59 AoE|
|Notification of a successful Full Proposal||by 1 October 2021|
Whew. What a year it has been. And you survived. Or maybe, even found a way to thrive. I want to let you know that we see the work you are doing, and we appreciate your dedication to supporting, celebrating, and advocating for women in computing. This dedication has come in many different forms, all valid and important. In some cases, that dedication was the hard decision your team had to make to cancel your celebrations. I know how agonizing those decisions were to cancel events that we know the students need. I applaud you for taking care of yourself and focusing on what you can do well. ACM-W student chapter leaders, we know all the different ways you and your students were stretched and understand that academics had to come first and in some cases that consumed the totality of your time. ACM-W professional chapter leaders, you had to balance ever changing professional obligations and had to make hard decisions not to hold outreach events that normally would bring us much joy and satisfaction. In some cases, your dedication meant finding ways to hold virtual events and we are amazed by your efforts. In some cases, even with zoom-fatigue, you found just one more hour that you could bring together your chapter members. We are impressed and grateful for your work. We celebrate all the wonderful things you accomplished this year and look forward to a new year with new hope and new creative ideas to support, celebrate, and advocate for women in computing worldwide.
Rachelle Hippler, ACM-W Professional Chapters
by Jodi Tims, ACM-W Chair
“There is no such thing as a free lunch” – or so the saying goes. In spring of 2012, I accepted the invitation of Gloria Townsend, then ACM-W Celebrations Chair, to attend an ACM-W luncheon at the close of the SIGCSE Technical Symposium. Prior to this time, my knowledge of ACM-W was focused primarily on the Celebrations project as I had been serving in various positions on the organizing committee of the Ohio Celebration (OCWiC). Little did I realize, I would walk out of the luncheon that day having agreed to take on the role of Celebrations Chair as Gloria transitioned to the role of Chapters Chair. Over the next few years, we saw rapid global growth in both of these projects. In subsequent years, I served as ACM-W Vice Chair and worked alongside Valerie Barr, then ACM-W Chair, learning the ins and outs of leading a global women-in-computing organization through the inspiring example that Valerie set. As I assumed the role of ACM-W Chair, I was humbled to have the honor and privilege to work alongside many capable members of our leadership team that are the heart and soul of ACM-W. As I reflect back over my involvement with this organization, I can honestly say that that lunch in 2012 turned out not to be free, but the efforts I have invested in ACM-W have led me on a truly amazing journey that I will be forever grateful to have taken.
ACM-W Committee Volunteer Opportunities
If you have a passion for supporting, celebrating and advocating for women in computing, I invite you to consider joining the ACM-W Leadership Team. We are currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers to fill two vacant positions:
- Standing Committees Co-Chair – this role oversees ACM-W’s standing committees of Professional Chapters, Scholarships, and the Rising Star Award Committee. In addition, standing committees chairs determine the creation of new standing committees or ad hoc committees that are formed to address shorter term efforts.
- Treasurer Co-Chair – this role oversees the operating budget of ACM-W and works with the ACM-W Chair to develop strategies for fundraising and philanthropic activity on behalf of the organization.
The selected applicants will serve a two-year term of office beginning July 1, 2021 and ending June 30, 2023. Leadership terms can be extended for one additional term depending upon the approval of the ACM-W Chair.
Nominations can be submitted via this form, https://forms.gle/K9LpCzAGbUeKswkk6, and will be accepted until May 20, 2021. Individuals may self-nominate. We ask that nominations on behalf of others be made only if the individual is willing to accept the nomination.
Thanks for standing with us as we work to fulfill our mission.
by Viviana Bono (chair of the ACM-W scholarship programme)
The pandemic is not over and we are all subject to its consequences. Travelling is still a dream these days. Who could foresee that the world would look so big again, after decades of having almost all corners of Earth within reach in a few hours. For us working in Science and Technology it means also missing many opportunities to attend conferences in person and make those human connections leading to strong collaborations, sometimes life-long ones, that make our jobs much better. We, the ACM-W committee, feel sorry especially for those female students who are at the beginning or in the middle of their PhD, when attending a conference can be a true life-changer.
Scholarship Awarded – Congratulations Yulia Goldenberg!
In the past two cycles, December 2020 and February 2021, we had, respectively, zero and two applications. However, we were at least able to assign a scholarship to Yulia Goldenberg, a PhD student from the Department of Software & Information Systems of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, to attend CHI 2021. This is going to be yet another virtual event. Nevertheless we hope it can be a good experience and a great opportunity for Yulia, to whom we wish all the best for her future in CS.
Scholarship Committee Volunteer Needed
I’d like to take the chance to advertise a new position in our committee: we need someone dynamic and enthusiastic, interested to be our PR and work with Valeria de Paiva and myself on the newsletter and other communication initiatives, as we strongly hope to move into a better future. Please feel free to contact me directly (Viviana Bono, email@example.com).
Apply for a Scholarship!
Last but not least: the next deadline to apply for a scholarship is June 15. Refer to this page for detailed information.
A virtual ACM W regional celebration India was organised by ACM W Pune Professional chapter in association with Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering on 3rd March 2021
The event started with the welcoming of all the dignitaries and the participants.
To begin the event well, we paid our respects to Goddess Saraswati with the Saraswati Vandana. Then, we had Prof. Rahul Patil, SDW coordinator to address the event. After that, our mentor Dr. K. Rajeswari, HoD, Computer Dept., PCCoE, and Vice-Chair of ACM-W PCCoE guided us and motivated us towards entrepreneurship and all the opportunities that are provided to develop ourselves. Then we had Dr N. B. Chopde, Director, PCCoE to address us further.
At the end, Dr. Heena Timani, ACM-W India Council Chair and Director of iananyadatalytix , Pvt Ltd. guided us about the ACM-W Chapter and the importance of entrepreneurship.
We had Ms. Maggie Inbamuthiah as the Keynote Speaker for the event. She gave a brief description of her career and shared her thoughts and experiences in her journey of entrepreneurship. She introduced us to the attributes needed to be developed to be a successful entrepreneur. She explained how yoga can be helpful in managing various problems on our own. She made us aware of the importance of equity and inclusion with the help of various examples.
The seminar concluded with a Q & A session in which she answered questions regarding some life lessons about choosing the way we lead our life, managing fear, etc.
Ms. Nikita Gandhi gave a Technical Talk on Flutter. Firstly, she introduced us to the basics of Flutter and Dart. She explained the difference between Dart and the other programming languages. Then moving towards the concepts in detail, she explained how to add an image , how to add basic widgets and other components in order to make an app. She gave a complete roadmap that should be followed to become a skilled Flutter developer.
She also gave insights about the events that
Google plans for the Flutter community. At the end she shared resources to explore and excel in Flutter.
Dr. Vidhi Bhanushali gave a talk on her startup “Dental Dost”. She explained how their team found out various problems regarding dental health and its treatment. They tried to solve these problems and the solutions that they have built up are very useful. She gave a brief idea about this startup and motivated us to work towards solving such problems and how to take proper decisions. Along with this, she also explained about the technologies that they have used in this startup (for eg. flutter).This gave students great insights about how technology can be used in the medical field.
Mrs. Sarika Panhalkar had an Open interaction on Women Entrepreneurship. She gave a brief description of her career journey and Tarpan Foundation. She guided students by sharing her personal experiences. She inspired students to explore innovative ideas and gave valuable tips to work towards them.
Then moving forward, she introduced different government schemes which are available for the startups that are led by women entrepreneurs.
Seminar concluded with a Q & A session in which she highlighted an important point, “Believe In Yourself And Always Keep Learning”.
An interactive session by Dr. K. Rajeswari and Ms. Prajakta Joshi began with the self-introduction of Prajakta Joshi. She gave a brief description of her career journey as an academician and then as an entrepreneur. She shared about the hurdles that she faced during her transition from academician to entrepreneur.
Further, the session took an interesting turn when Dr. K. Rajeswari started an entrepreneurial conservation with Mrs. Prajakta Joshi.
This conversation led to various important points such as the importance of networking, time management, being ready for challenges, every day is a new learning, SWOT analysis, etc.
“It’s never too late to start a new thing” is a valuable advice given by Ms. Prajakta Joshi from her personal experience. Seminar concluded with an engaging Q&A session.
The Valedictory ceremony started with the prize distribution, where the winners for the Blog writing competition and the poster making competition were announced. Then the winners shared their experiences of the competition.
Carrying forward the session and to make it more interactive and lively, attendees were asked to express their views on the seminars conducted on ACM-W Regional Event day. The Regional Celebration concluded with amazing feedback by attendees.
DA-IICT with ACM-W hosted an ACM Winter School on Natural Language Processing during 4 January to 14 January 2021. The 10 days’ winter school was coordinated by Dr. Prasenjit Majumder and had 47 women undergraduate and postgraduate students as participants. Following the norms, it was an online school held via Zoom, a web-based video conferencing tool.
Professors engaged in the research in the NLP domain came forward to share their ideas and conduct sessions. Day 1 started with an introduction of Natural Language Processing, given by Prof. Prasenjit Majumder from DA-IICT, the session continued with Prof. Tathagata Bandyopadhyay from IIMA, demonstrating the requirement of Mathematics in NLP.
On days 2 and 3, Prof. Tanmoy Chakraborty from IIITD, explained Language Modelling and Parsing concepts. Day 4 began with Prof. Mandar Mitra, from ISI Kolkata revealing the notions about Information Retrieval and ended with Prof. Suman Mitra, from DA-IICT describing the role of Word Embeddings.
Machine Translation sessions were taken by Prof. Pushpak Bhattacharyya, from IITB on days 5 and 7. Prof. Prasenjit Majumder discussed the topic of Social Media Analysis. Prof. Sriparna Saha from IIT Patna conducted the session on Information Extraction and Dialogue Management on days 6 and 8. On Day 9, Dr. Parth Mehta discussed Text Summarization.
Apart from the theoretical discussions, each day had a hands-on session on the topic that had been discussed in the school. Participants were provided with materials as well as with the assignments that they had to submit. Day 10, was wrapped up with three projects and a short quiz. The projects and assignments were given to the participants to demonstrate the application of NLP and to give them in-depth clarity about the theoretical aspects that they had learned in the school.
The New York Celebration of Women in Computing 2021 (NYCWiC’21) was held virtually on April 9-10, 2021. Organizers used a combination of real-time interaction through Gather, Zoom, and Slack. Over 200 students, faculty and industry representatives registered for this conference which included welcome remarks from Lt. Governor Hochul, a poster session & career fair, research talks, workshops and community events. After a year of zoom calls, the organizers wanted to give attendees a space to rest their eyes and brains and offered sessions on well-being in the pandemic, yoga, and a maker event with 3D printed spinner rings and paper airplanes.
Boxes of goodies includes snacks for the poster session, late night game night, and coffee talk and sponsor swag, plus the maker event materials were sent ahead of time and attendees were told not to open until NYCWiC. We did a community un-boxing which many people found delightful and quite fun.
Keynote speaker Doris Conti, Vice President, IBM Public Cloud Release Manager, spoke about her journey and gave recommendations to attendees on how to succeed. One tip was to find your “girl gang” which prompted one attendee to create a GroupMe for whoever wanted to join and many of the attendees joined immediately so they could carry through the support of the group beyond the conference.
We held a question and answer session with Jen Oneal, Executive Vice President, Development, Blizzard Entertainment. ACM-W Chair Jodi Tims joined us for the session and led an informative and interesting discussion about Jen’s non-traditional path through game development.
The conference utilized a platform called Gather.town. UAlbany student Andy Xu built a multi-room world with rooms named after famous women in computing, a video arcade, and a beach. The platform is proximity-based, so as avatars got closer, they could see and hear each other, much like in a “real life” setting. It also utilized zoom so when you entered certain rooms, it would take you into a zoom session for the actual presentations. The career fair, networking and poster session were held entirely in Gather with small group discussions and easy navigation from one booth or table to another.
Slack was also used to facilitate discussions, submit raffle tickets, share slides, and cultivate a sense of community. The Slack space will stay open.
With all the technology underlying the event, a class of 40 UAlbany interns assisted the organizers by working at an info booth, managing Slack, sharing information and being Zoom captains. Savanah Crouch, graduate student from the MS in Information Science program at UAlbany managed the extensive raffle with prizes provided by sponsor SUSE. Conference organizations included Jennifer Goodall, University at Albany, Conference General Chair; Caroline Buinicky, Emma Willard School, Program Chair; Chris McEvoy, Velan Studios, Registration Chair; Pablo Rivas, Baylor University, Budget & Sponsorship Chair; Catherine Parker, University at Albany and Cynthia Worrad, Career Fair Co-Chairs; and Michael Leczinsky, University at Albany, Technical Chair. Marketing and promotion support offered by Quinn Miller, Velan Studios.
The team is planning to offer an in-person NYCWiC in April 2022 at the Fort William Henry Hotel in Lake George, NY.
On March 8th we celebrated International Women’s Day. In some countries, the entire month of March is designated as Women’s History Month. In ACM-W, we celebrate, support and advocate for women in computing year-round. But at this time of the year, we are especially reminded of the hard work and sacrifices of so many women over the years to ensure that women’s rights and opportunities continue to advance. Each of us, on an individual level, likely has one or more women who have played a vital role in our lives. I encourage all ACM-W supporters to take a few moments to send a note of thanks to those women who helped you achieve your personal and professional goals.
I personally want to thank the champions of ACM-W – the multitude of volunteers who lead student and professional chapters, plan Celebrations, and serve on ACM-W committees worldwide. I particularly want to thank those on our ACM-W Leadership Team – Bushra Anjum, Reyyan Ayfer, Bettina Bair, Valerie Barr, Amelia Cole, Arati Dixit, Sarah McRoberts, Pat Ryan, and Yuqing Melanie Wu. ACM-W would not be able to pursue its goals without your dedicated service. I feel honored to work alongside you.
Thanks for standing with us as we work to fulfill our mission.