5th ACM-W India National Level Virtual Hackathon 2020

19th -20th December, 2020                                                                            

5th ACM-W India National Level Virtual Hackathon 2020 started with an ideology to support and motivate the girl students in the field of Computer Science. Initially, it was supposed to be in offline mode but the pandemic situation brought new challenges to overcome and it was finally decided that it will happen in online mode. This event was successfully hosted by ABES Engineering College, Ghaziabad. In this virtual hackathon there were three rounds. First was the idea selection round where the teams from all over India were asked to present their ideas/solution for a problem based on the given theme of ‘SELF RELIANT INDIA’ with various domains such as Healthcare, Education, Finance, Agricultural and Social Innovation. The entries for this round were initially accepted from 1st October 2020 to 25th October 2020 and due to the popular demand, the deadline was extended to 30th October 2020. For the first round more than 75 entries we received.  From which only 20 teams were shortlisted for the 2nd round which was the interview round. In this round the selected teams had to explain their idea/project to a panel of judges from which 10 teams were supposed to be selected pan India. This round was organised on 22nd November,2020 and for this round we had 16 judges from the various industries, different ACM chapters and from ACM Student chapter and ACM-W student chapter of ABES Engineering College, Ghaziabad.

On 19th December 2020, the final round started with the inaugural ceremony which was addressed by Mr. Chandrashekhar Sahasrabuddhe (COO, ACM India) followed by Dr. Heena Timani (Chairperson, ACM-W India), Dr. Shailesh Tiwari (Director, ABESEC) and Dr. Pankaj K. Sharma (Head, CS Department, Faculty sponsor ACM ABES Chapter). This inauguration ceremony was concluded by Ms. Madhuri Gupta, Faculty Coordinator, ACM-W ABESEC Chapter followed by a vote of thanks by Ms. Sanika Singh. Finally, the hackathon began with the selected top 10 teams.

Glimpse of Virtual Inaugural Function of Hackathon

They were asked to develop a solution on a problem statement that was allotted to them on 19th December 2020. Problem statement of hackathon are listed below.

On the same day, there were two mentoring sessions for each team, to help them with the problem statement followed by one evaluation session on the same day. For refreshment purpose a cultural program was even organised on 19th December 2020.  After continues coding for 24 hours the teams were ready with their project. By the end of the hackathon i.e. on 20th DECEMBER 2020 teams were supposed to submit a 3min video illustration of their project and after that a final evaluation was conducted with panel of reputed judges.

Glimpse of Presentation by participants of Hackathon
Glimpse of valedictory ceremony and prize distribution of Hackathon

The valedictory ceremony was initiated by Ms Ritika Malik, Faculty Sponsor of ACM-W ABESEC student Chapter with a small briefing of the entire event. Hackathon winners were announced by Dr. Heena Timani, Chairperson ACM-W India.

1st Prize:   ₹ 24,000                     Team Leader  Ms.Sakshi Singh College: K.I.E.T Ghaziabad Project Title: Spam SMS Filtering    2nd Prize: ₹ 15,000 Team Leader Ms. Ruchika Sharan College: IIT Mandi Project Title: A system for detection of corona virus in human body using artificial intelligence  3rd Prize: ₹ 12,000 Team Leader Ms. Sanjana Jain College: ABES Engineering College, Ghaziabad Project Title: System for prescribing drug in hospitals and it’s substitute availability in the medical shops of the area/city

Which was followed by address by Mr.Chandrashekhar Sahasrabudhe, COO, ACM India and a vote of thanks by Ms. Sanika Singh, Asst. Professor, ABESEC Ghaziabad, marked the end of hackathon.

CSTA Expands Focus on CS Equity

Following the success of the inaugural cohort, the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) has expanded their CSTA Equity Fellowship program to include 15 fellows who have demonstrated success in disrupting inequities in K-12 computer science and want to improve equitable access and achievement at a broader scale. These 15 fellows, selected from 131 applicants, have a combined 150 years of K-12 teaching experience, including 80 years teaching computer science, and represent 11 states and provinces. 

This year-long program will provide leadership development opportunities to fellows and identify opportunities for the group to develop ongoing, peer-to-peer professional learning experience focused on addressing issues of equity in the computer science classrooms for CSTA members.

To compliment the flash talks, projects and CSTA Voice articles developed by the inaugural cohort, this year’s Fellows will be: 

  • Collaboratively authoring a book on equity-based practices in K-12 CS education
  • Developing three online workshops, focused on Anti-racist/CR PD, Curriculum Development PD and Supporting School- and District-Wide Solutions 
  • Creating a multimedia website and podcast, and 
  • Planning CSTA’s first Equity in Action Summit 

The Equity in Action Summit, set for March 6, is a one-day virtual event that brings together K-12 CS teachers to call out inequities of access and achievement in marginalized groups and to share strategies and resources to empower and equip teachers in addressing the digital divide. Registration is now open! Please join us and share with K-12 teachers that may be interested in attending.

womENcourage 2020 Took Place Online, 24-27th September

In September, we all gathered virtually at ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan for the ACM womENcourage 2020, more than 200 registered participants from some 40 countries of Europe, Asia, Africa, Americas and Australia.  Dr Araz Yusubov, Dean of the School of IT and Engineering, ADA University, led this year’s organization, and he thanks all the participants for their active participation and meaningful contribution to the first-ever virtual womENcourage celebration.

The ACM-W Europe Chair, Ruth Lennon wrote:

“Moving from in-person to virtual conferences is hard. How do you engage people with the program? Have a dedicated team constantly texting in chat windows? have a live ‘networking session’ that runs 12 hours a day? I think the most important thing is to have an engaging program and amicable people willing to meet. Keynotes, company representatives, organisers and all attendees willing to contribute to the discussion. These past 4 days were a great success. It is not often that I get to say how much fun I had working with an organising committee. The photo really is a good image to represent a year well spent. I have to thank Araz Yusubov, Bev Bachmayer, Rukiye Altin, Adriana Wilde and Nuria Castell. ACM-W Europe Thank you ADA University for hosting womENcourage 2020. I look forward to The ACM Celebration of Women in Computing: womENcourage 2021!”

ACM womENcourage 2021 will go to Prague, the Czech Republic next year. We are already excited! The event will be chaired by Dita Přikrylová, founder of Czechitas, is due to be held in September. Plans for both in-person and virtual formats are being organised so that we are ready for whatever happens.  In 2021 womENcourage we hope to encourage bridging communities. Computing impacts the lives of so many people more so now than ever before and the conference will explore the many aspects of computing and how it touches our lives.

ACM-W Europe 2020 blog

We are delighted to host guests on ACM-W Europe blog, and this quarter we had fantastic contributions.

Breath of Fresh Air: Diversity Heroes – Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein Catherine D’Ignazio (MIT) and Lauren F. Klein(Emory) wrote for us “How to Teach Data Science like an Intersectional Feminist”, was adapted from their book, Data Feminism (MIT Press, 2020). “Women faculty comprise less than a third of computer science and statistics faculty. More than 80% of artificial intelligence professors are men. This gender imbalance, and the narrowness of vision that results, is compounded by the fact that data science is often framed as an abstract and technical pursuit. Steps like cleaning and wrangling data are presented as solely technical conundrums; there is less discussion of the social context, ethics, values, or politics of data.” Read more on our blog.

Kharkiv ACM-W Chapter – Science and Technology Empower Women Oleksandra Yeremenko,  a professor of V.V. Popovskyy Department of Infocommunication Engineering at Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics, Ukraine, shares with us their story of starting the Kharkiv Information & Communication Technologies ACM-W Chapter. “The ACM-W community allows us to break down the boundaries and destroy the myths and stereotypes that exist in society about women in science and technology.”

Blog Series: Telling our Stories – Rahma Mukta Each year we meet wonderful women at womENcourage. This year was no different, and in the rest of the year, we will have womENcourage participants telling their stories in blog posts. We start with Rahma Mukta, from University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, Australia. She is a second-year PhD student in Computer Science and Engineering. She works on blockchain security and anonymous credential systems.   “My second-year [in the PhD program] started with the challenge of quarantined life due to COVID-19. In this new normal, for the very first time, I got the chance to introduce myself to the ACM womENcourage conference 2020. The conference was my first ever experience to join an online event to present my work.”  

Updates on ACM-W Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences

The ACM-W 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 six times each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences. The ACM Scholarships are made possible nowadays by the generous support of Google and Oracle. The program was started in 2013 by Elaine Weyuker and has been run without any funding interruptions since then.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research 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. The full collection of previous reports from the students awarded scholarships, with their pictures can be found now at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/.

This month, almost nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, with many conferences postponed, cancelled or transformed into online events, fewer people are submitting applications. Thus, we decided that this was a convenient time to write about our Scholarship Committee, some about our origins, and motivations, some about the people that keep it running.

We first had short inteviews with the Chairs of the Scholarship Committee, professors Elaine Weyuker and Viviana Bono, in previous editions of the newsletter. But it also seemed appropriate to ask the members of our committee about their personal histories. Of course, as you may have noticed yourself,  working from home has not made life easier for researchers and professors. Everyone who teaches  has had to adapt to the new conditions. For many, this has proved a very difficult journey to digital teaching, without any time for learning or preparation. Still, everyone in academia is l trying to cope with the new reality of the pandemic as best as they can, and we are not an exception.

This seems a good time to tell you a bit about why we run the Scholarship Committee the way we do and also a bit about the stories of the people behind the scenes. And we’re glad to start off with a  researcher who was an alumna of the program herself, only a few years back. Yelena Mejova is a Senior Research Scientist at the ISI Foundation in Turin, Italy, a part of the Digital Epidemiology Group. Her research concerns the use of social media in health informatics, as well as tracking political speech and other cultural phenomena.

1. Could you tell us briefly how your career has been so far (your background, your motivation to engage with computing, your initial research, your intellectual influences)?

I received a PhD in Computer Science at The University of Iowa in 2012 and since then worked as a postdoc at Yahoo! Research in Barcelona, as researcher at Qatar Computing Research Institute in Qatar, and now as a senior research scientist at the ISI Foundation in Turin, Italy. It is an amazing time to be in this area, since the notion of “data science” was being born right as I was doing my PhD, and now there are actual graduate programs in it! During my studies, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my interest in sociology can be combined with the computing methods I was learning, in something that is now defined as “computational social science”. Now, my research involves studying phenomena ranging from political debates and elections to medical misinformation and news, all through the lenses of big data available on social media. Throughout, I have realized that it is not easy to do social science using quantitative means, as is expertly described by Duncan Watts in `Everything Is Obvious’, and this idea now is central for my thinking even about everyday life. I am skeptical about “common wisdom”, and I’m always looking out for truly robust, experimental ways to verify causal (and even correlational) hypotheses about people. These days as social media become even more important in public opinion formation, understanding the mechanisms of belief, group think, bias, etc. is an exciting field of research.

2. Did you experience any special difficulties as a woman? If so, could you tell us about it? If not, what would you attribute this rare situation to?

I am glad to report that I did not experience any special difficulties that I can attribute to being a woman. In universities, even though I was a minority (and in 10% when doing PhD), I never felt alienated, I had a female advisor, had female classmates, and even when I didn’t, it didn’t bother me. I never felt discriminated against or left out of important meetings. I have noticed that teams working on computational social science tend to be more gender balanced (just see attendance of, for instance, ICWSM, CSCW, CHI, IC2S2, etc). I have also been outspoken whenever I felt something needed to be done and did not hesitate to approach my superiors to get it done (for instance, at my current position I am pushing for investment in a backup server, and formalization of rules around smart working). It also may be because as a child I grew up in Russia (until 9th grade), where gender differences in STEM did not seem to be drastic or in the culture. 

3. What were and are your main research interests? What is your main research focus at the moment?

At the moment, my research interests revolve around how people understand health-related information, and how that affects their behavior. For instance, I’m interested in how pro- and anti-vaccination sentiment is being expressed online, whether two sides communicate (or are in “echo chambers”), and what information they use to support their stances. I am looking to see whether dangerous diets and home remedies have sprung up around COVID lockdowns when people may be more desperate for solutions in uncertain times. Finally, I am looking into whether women express experiencing different hardships during these lockdowns than men, in an effort to see whether there are unmet needs both in health access, and in socio-economic matters. Much of this research revolves around social media — a resource that is becoming more and more important (something I couldn’t have predicted 8 years ago when I used it for my PhD).

4. Would you like to see any changes in your sphere of work? Could you tell us which one or which?

As a member of ACM, and as an academic, it would be great if there were more resources about how to plan for, seek out, and apply for funding. As this is an important way that a researcher builds their line of research, makes connections, and makes an impact that is beyond an individual’s work (no matter how productive one person may be). I have always felt that funding depended too much on “who you know” (network, wasta, etc), and often knowledge of funding opportunities or collaborations are passed along established lines of power. Especially for women breaking into male-dominated areas, this could be a real difficulty and obstacle to career development. I hope this can be addressed by the community.

Many thanks Yelena for sharing your ideas and enthusiasm!

We hope all of you and yours are healthy and well!

The next application deadline is December 15 for conferences taking place February 1st—March 31st, 2021.   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, bono@di.unito.it

ACM-W North America News

Despite at times feeling like we are at a standstill in 2020, we are excited to see that four new ACM-W Student Chapters have formed. This recognition that needs still remain for women to support other women in the field of computing is important. Since we are starting to hear more and more that the pandemic has impacted women more than men, we can think of no better way to support women at this critical juncture than now.

We are delighted to be able to highlight six women in computing in this newsletter. These women are from various sectors, including a high school student, Lillian Peterson, who won the prestigious ACM/CSTA Cutler-Bell Prize, and Saiph Savage, the co-director of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s (UNAM) Civic Innovation Lab and one of MIT’s 2018 35 Innovators Under 35.

We’ve also recently launched our newest subcommittee, the Empowerment of Marginalized Communities Subcommittee. This team is forming in order to specifically address the unique needs of those who do not identify as men and who face additional challenges placed on them within the culture of the computing community. Through this subcommittee, we will work to ensure all of our services are meaningful and relevant to all women in our community.

Monica

Volunteers Needed

ACM-W North America volunteers are the best! We are committed to celebrating, advocating, promoting, and supporting women in tech. Care to join us? We are in particular need of volunteers outside of the United States. If you live in North America and have experience with communications (e.g., interviewing, editing, preparing social media), forming student chapters or advocating for marginalized groups, we would love to hear from you. Reach us at acm-w-na@volunteer.acm.org.

New Chapters

Welcome to the four newest ACM-W Student Chapters, including one from Mexico! Say hello to:

  • Universidad Panamericana ACM-W Student Chapter in Mexico City, Mexico with shout outs to Sarahi Aguilar Gonzalez, inaugural chair, and faculty sponsor Dr. Lourdes Martinez Martinez.
  • Christian Brothers University (CBU) ACM-W Student Chapter in Tennessee, USA, with shout outs to Wendy Almendares, inaugural chair, and faculty sponsor Dr. James McGuffee.
  • University of New Orleans ACM-W Student Chapter in Louisiana, USA, with shout outs to Huong Nguyen, inaugural chair, and faculty sponsor Dr. Farjana Z Eishita.
  • California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) ACM-W Student Chapter in California, USA, with shout outs to Mariana K Duarte, inaugural chair, and faculty sponsor Dr. Chandrika Satyavolu.

Thank you all for your time and commitment supporting women studying computing.

ACM Celebrations in North America

We are now accepting registration for Celebrations in North America. Visit this link to complete the registration form. Additional information relevant to 2020-21 Celebrations (including virtual Celebrations) is available here.

ACM-W North America Profiles

We have recently interviewed six women in North America:

Saiph Savage
  • Saiph Savage. Saiph is one of MIT’s 2018 Latin American Innovators Under 35, talked about how she got into computing, her work studying the intersection between tech and activism, and what work she’s most excited about right now. Her interviews are recorded in both English and Spanish.
Lillian Petersen
  • Lillian Petersen. Lillian is a young researcher and the winner of the 2019-20 of the ACM/CSTA Cutler Bell Prize for creating a tool to help aid organizations increase food security in sub-Saharan Africa. She has been doing a research project every year since 7th grade on topics ranging from predicting weather patterns to studying cancer.
Clara Yuan
  • Clara Yuan. Clara Yuan is a senior research science lead at Convoy Inc, a digital freight network startup. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Tech. She has a bright intensity that she brings to everything from the world of transportation to her dog, Donut.
Sydney O’Connor
  • Sydney O’Connor. Sydney O’Connor, a fifth year student at the University Of Cincinnati and president of the school’s ACM-W chapter talks about her path to computing, her inspirations, firmware development, and why it’s important to find community in computing.
Karina Mariela Figueroa Mora
  • Karina Figueroa. Dr. Karina Mariela Figueroa Mora is a professor and researcher in the Physical-Mathematical Science Department of Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo. She’s focused in the study of algorithms, information retrieval, metric databases, as well as software development for math education. Her interviews are recorded in both English and Spanish.
Mary Baker
  • Mary Baker. Working in 3D print is the first time Mary has been able to apply programming, design, mathematics, and artistic license all at once. She talks about her experiences in this interview.

Eight Unexpected Ways to Connect with ACM-W

https://women.acm.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/fb-profile-pic.jpg?246bcc&246bcc

by Bettina Bair, ACM-W Communications co-Chair

Did you know that ACM-W has more than 40,000 ACM-W members, all over the world? I love looking at this map! It looks like we built a circuit with flashing lights, but the lights are awesome people! But without our in-person celebrations on hold, we are finding new ways to stay connected. We believe in supporting, advocating and celebrating women in computing, across the whole circuit, even when we can’t see your face.

What’s new in your world?

Personally, my morning routine involves checking email, checking my newsfeeds and finishes with Facebook. (I know. I’m not immune to Facebook struggles, but apparently I have minimum daily requirement of outrage, sunsets, and kitten photos.)

ACM-W is posting updates on all of these media channels

If you want to keep up with what’s happening with ACM-W, you have choices. It’s just like an all-you-can-eat buffet.

  1. Facebook: ACM-W, Chapters, Celebrations for announcements and stories
  2. LinkedIn for career tips and discussion
  3. Twitter for announcements and chat
  4. YouTube for recorded webinars, workshops and more
  5. Check out student chapters near you. They may have their own newsletter, Twitter and Instagram.
  6. Say Hello at our virtual event booth
  7. Subscribe to the email Newsletter
  8. Follow our blog via RSS

How about you? Tell us where you are!

    Print MediaNews Reader (RSS)EmailFacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedInRedditSnapchatOther


    Lets get together soon. I miss your face.

    ACM-W Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences

    The ACM-W 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 six times each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences. The ACM Scholarships are made possible nowadays by the generous support of Google and Oracle. The program was started in 2013 by Elaine Weyuker and has been run without any funding interruptions since then.

    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. The full collection of previous reports from the students awarded scholarships  can be found now at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/.

    This month, almost eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are happy to introduce the two winners of the Scholarship Awards last round. Yes, academia is still trying to cope with the new reality of the pandemic, and many conferences decided to hold virtual meetings only. Many conferences have decreased their fees, some have not. As we mentioned in our last newsletter in September the Committee has decided to keep judging and granting scholarships, if students need them. In  the last newsletter, the committee has also communicated its decision to open the application process to women students working on computing on interdisciplinary environments.

    Thus we are pleased to announce the award granted in the last round of discussions to Bhavya Peapully Shroff, from the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) to attend ICIS,  the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) 2020 and to Jiayi Li from UCLA, Dept of Statistics, to attend NeurIPS 2020, the Thirty-fourth Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems.

    We hope all of you and yours are healthy and well!

    The next application deadline is December 15 for conferences taking place February, 1st—March 31st, 2021.   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, bono@di.unito.it

    ACM India Celebration of Women in Computing AICWiC 2020

     A Virtual Event – 5th September, 2020- Report

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Spotlight on ACM-W Professional Chapters

    ACM-W Professional Chapters give you a local voice for change with the backing of an international organization.  Professional chapters work with student chapters and industry leaders to advocate for equity and diversity in the tech industry. Our chapters around the world organize conferences, hack-a-thons, fundraisers, lecture series, community service, and networking events that gather together local students and IT professionals. Learn about these activities through two interviews with ACM-W Chapters who have offered to share their experiences.

    Interview with Bojana Milasinovic, Belgrade ACM-W Professional Chapter

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

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

    When did you get your chapter charter?

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

    What projects are you working on?

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

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

    What connections do you have with students?

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

    What benefits do the members of your chapter gain?

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

     Photo: Hands on activities with local professionals.

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

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

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

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

    Interview with Panagiota Fatourou, Greek ACM-W Professional Chapter

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

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

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

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

    When did you get your chapter charter?

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

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

    What strengths does your chapter have?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Supporting, Celebrating, and Advocating for Women in Computing

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

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

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

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

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

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

    New from ACM-W Europe

    Message from the ACM-W Europe chair

    Why is diversity seemingly an NP-Hard Problem? Why can we not simplify the issue and just fix it? There are many issues involved, some of which we either have not identified yet or do not realize we are failing at. Sometimes we are afraid to try as we may fail and cause more damage. Making a change requires bravery. When solving a mathematical equation, we teach our children to do the easy bit first and then try to work out the rest. Starting is always the hardest bit. So let’s make a start, what easy thing can we do to make a positive change? Let’s begin by highlighting members in their diversity. #BlackLivesMatter is an incredible movement, and we want to do more to make a change rather than simply to speak the words. Help us move forward by nominating yourself or others for any of the following outlining the reasons why you/they should be considered:

    1. Volunteering with our Working Groups. Let’s make a change to ensure that we have greater diversity in our leadership roles
    2. Blogs/Diversity Heroes. Is there someone you would like to see featured? Suggest someone for one of our series.
    3. Wikipedia. We need to highlight more women in computing. Let’s work together to highlight another role model! Who would you choose?
    4. Nominate more women to ACM Distinguished Speaker Program.

    These things are simply our starting point. We know that we want to do more for our members. We want to hear from you and work with you to make a positive change, so please do consider the above points. We can make progress as a community of professionals, and we can be passionate about the need for change as a family of like-minded people. Stay strong and stay hopeful for a brighter future for everyone.

    Ruth G. Lennon, Chair of the ACM-W Europe

    Breath of Fresh Air: Diversity Heroes

    Starting from June 2020, we talk with several heroes about their tech career journey, about their perspective on intersectionality and reflect on initiatives for equality. Here is how they answered: “If you were to change something in the way we run tech communities and networks, what would you change?”  Read more on our blog: https://acmweurope.acm.org/europeblog/

    Bolanle Ojokoh

    June 2020 – Bolanle Ojokoh: There should be more recognition and rewards for excellence. One important thing is outreach work,  especially North-South collaboration and reaching out to the under-represented in developing settings, who are talented and would have been better contributors to developing the world if there had been more enlightenment. Improved industry-academic linkage, especially in the developing settings, should be more encouraged too.

    Masshuda Glencross

    July 2020 – Masshuda Glencross: I would grow diversity among people in senior decision-making roles to help build a much stronger commitment to supporting the whole community rather than just a certain section of the tech community. We still have too few women in senior academic positions, too few on boards of tech firms and even fewer people of colour in these roles. Decision-makers need to mirror the rich diversity of our community. We all bring strengths, through different perspectives, and these perspectives are too often overlooked.

    Amani Boughalmi

    August 2020 – Amani Boughalmi: I would suggest that tech companies and other tech initiatives facilitate international internship opportunities. These would allow women to sharpen their skills in a real work environment, working with experienced professionals and using specialised software and hardware.  Finally, many talented people in the world are born in developing countries and are sometimes under-represented. They should be reached out to contribute to world development, and so, to ensure geographic diversity and equity.

    womENcourage 2020,  virtually hosted by ADA University in Baku, Azerbaijan

    24-27 September 2020

    womENcourage team is working tirelessly to bring you an exciting program. The registration opened on the 20th of July. Register to hear from an impressive line-up of keynote speakers!

    The participants will be welcomed by Vafa Kazdal, Vice-Rector of Academic Affairs at ADA University; Gabriela Kotsis, ACM President, and Ruth Lennon, ACM-W Europe chair. Nuria Oliver, Chief Scientist at Data-Pop Alliance will present the Data Science to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic: the Valencia Case. Prof. Cecilia Mascolo, Cambridge University will describe the progress in Health Diagnostics through Audio Signals Collection and Analysis. Georgia Koutrika, Research Director at Athena Research Center, will discuss Democratizing Data Access through Intelligent Data Exploration Tools. Claudia Pohlink, Head of AI at T-Labs, will question Who Makes Wiser Decisions? Men, Women or Machines? Silvana Badaloni, University of Padova, will talk on Gender Fairness of Machine Learning Techniques. They will be joined by Prof Sarit Kraus, Bar-Ilan University, who is an expert on the development of intelligent agents that can interact proficiently with people and with robots. Check the details of the program here: https://womencourage.acm.org/2020/program/

    ACM-W Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences program

    The ACM-W 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 six times each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences. The ACM Scholarships are made possible nowadays by the generous support of Google and Oracle. The program was started in 2013 by Elaine Weyuker and has been run without any funding interruptions since then.

    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. The full collection of previous reports from the students awarded scholarships  can be found now at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/. We never cease to find truly inspiring stories!

    This month we introduce the two new members of the Scholarship Awards committee. Our previous chairperson Dr Adriana Compagnoni has reduced her activities to be only on an advising capacity to the committee and we’re fortunate to have two new full-time members. As we discussed in the last newsletter, the committee is looking forward to opening the application process to women students working on interdisciplinary environments. Our new members are ideal to help with this task, as both work on multidisciplinary aspects of Computing.

    Dr Sara Kalvala (https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/dcs/people/sara_kalvala/)  is a reader at the University of Warwick, UK, and her research focuses on Computational Biology and Formal Methods, especially compilers.

    Meanwhile Dr Elaine Wah (http://www.elainewah.com/) is currently the Head of Quantitative Research at IEX, the Investors Exchange, Fintech computing. We’re particularly excited about the fact that Elaine was one of our scholars back in 2014.

    We also pleased to announce the award granted in the last round of discussions. Silvia Pagliarini, a PhD student at the Computer Science Dept, University of Bordeaux has received a grant to go to Chile, where she’s co-organizing the workshop “SMILES: Sensorimotor Interaction, Language and Embodiment of Symbols”, in October 2020. We do need many `smiles’ in these times of pandemic difficulties.

    We hope all of you and yours are healthy and well!

    The next application deadline is October 15 for conferences taking place December, 1st—January 31st, 2021.   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, bono@di.unito.it

    ACM-W North America News

    Like everyone, we are asking ourselves questions about the coming year. In particular, we have had lengthy discussions about how best to support and enable ACM Celebrations and ACM-W Student Chapters in North America during the 2020-21 academic year. This also means looking at events related to the move to virtual spaces and asking ourselves how we can use this as an opportunity to bring more Celebrations and Student Chapters to women.

    Our answer? We are still working on some of this, including looking at regional areas that have never held a Celebrations or formed a Student Chapter and using virtual means of supporting them. However, we do know a few things. One, existing Student Chapters have already begun to move to virtual spaces, like the University of Oregon’s Women in Computer Science chapter. This spring, they used the move to online meetings to invite UOregon and WiCS alumni, Sierra Battan, to discuss her engineering role at Nike.

    Similarly, Arshia Khan, Associate Professor of Computer Science, decided to launch the first virtual Celebrations in North America for the Women in Computing Celebrations at University of Minnesota Duluth (MinneWIC). They condensed the 1.5 day planned Celebrations to 6 hours on a Saturday, with guest speakers and students sharing their research.

    As we continue to consider how we can support you with Celebrations and Student Chapters, please feel free to reach out. In the meantime, we plan on announcing some new goals for helping Celebrations and Student Chapters grow in regions that are presently underserved by ACM-W.

    Monica

    Volunteers Needed

    ACM-W North America volunteers are the best! We are committed to celebrating, advocating, promoting, and supporting women in tech. Care to join us? We are in particular need of volunteers outside of the United States. If you live in North America and have experience with communications (e.g., interviewing, editing, preparing social media) or advocating for minoritized women, we would love to hear from you. Reach us at acm-w-na@volunteer.acm.org.

    New Chapters

    Welcome to the newest ACM-W Student Chapter, Marymount University ACM-W Student Chapter in Virginia! Shout out to Rama Najib, the inaugural chair for the Chapter, and the faculty sponsor, Diane Murphy (Professor and Department Chair, IT, Data Science, and Cybersecurity). Thank you both for your time and commitment to in supporting women studying computing!

    Student Spotlight: Erica Smith

    What’s it like to pivot to online learning as a CS major? Erica Smith is a student from Richmond, Virginia. She is a Sophomore at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (NCAT) State University, pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science. She is the ACM-W president for the NCAT chapter the 2020-2021 school year and a 2020 Google STEP intern.

    How did you come to computing? What was the “spark” that made you know you wanted to be involved in computing?

    I was first exposed to computing through Hour of Code in the eighth grade. This inspired me to sign up for an HTML/CSS course for the following school year. I remember, on the first day of class, we had an in-depth discussion about what a computer was and how they work. I found this conversation enthralling and I knew that I wanted to learn as much as possible about this field.

    What is the biggest obstacle you face right now?

    The biggest obstacle I face right now, is the current pandemic. Like many other people, I had to leave college early to come home, and since then, I haven’t been out much.

    Doing school and work at home has been a constant battle of maintaining motivation and staying positive. I like to keep my spaces very separate, at school for learning, workplace for working, and home for relaxing. Now that they’ve been blurred, shifting headspaces for tasks has been difficult.

    To maintain positivity, I just try to see the light at the end of the tunnel, knowing, that one day, things will get back to normal.

    What things is your university or is your ACM-W chapter doing to address COVID-19 and keep interaction going?

    Like most colleges, my school shut down their campus in March and sent everyone home. Since then, they’ve been regulating communicating to students about developments within the state and likeliness of campus opening for the upcoming fall semester.

    Our ACM and ACM-W chapter has been keeping in contact with members of our organization through Slack, giving regular updates and sharing remote opportunities for this summer.

    What are you most excited about right now in what you are doing or in computing?

    Right now, I’m most excited about my internship at Google. I just started May 18th and I’ve already learned so much. It’s not the experience I thought I would be getting because of COVID-19. I’m making the most of the situation and I know I’m in for a very informative and compelling summer.

    What’s something you learned that you’d like to pass along?

    Always ask questions.

    When it comes to school, jobs, and regular life, there will always be someone around that is willing to help and answer any question you may have.

    There is no such thing as a stupid question. I had to learn this in quite a frustrating way. This past fall semester, I was stuck trying implementing a feature of a major programming project for three hours. I decided that I would go ask my teacher about it the next day. After asking my question, I was able to wrap up the entire project in about an hour. Since then, I have asked my teachers, mentors, or peers whenever I get stuck so I never have to repeat that experience.

    What advice would you give to a young student in computing to be successful?

    Never doubt yourself and your abilities.

    I’ve done plenty of that myself and it harms more than it helps. If computing is truly a field you’re interested in, pursue it. Never think that you don’t belong in this field, because you do.

    Read more here: https://acmwnorthamerica.acm.org/2020/08/03/acm-w-na-profiles-erica-smith/