History of ACM-W Scholarships with Elaine Weyuker

This month we take the opportunity of the remodeling of the ACM-W newsletter  to discuss a little of the history of the program of scholarships and its committee. There is no one better to describe the program and history that its initiator Professor Elaine Weyuker (See her in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaine_Weyuker).

So we have asked Professor  Weyuker (EW below)  four questions on the Scholarships Program and its history. These questions and her replies are below. We hope you’ll enjoy reading about our history! Perhaps some of our readers will join us in sending other questions (historical or otherwise) to the Scholarship committee. We cannot guarantee answers, but we can try to find some responses for you on the issues of the Scholarship program!

Q1. When did the Scholarship program start? Who propose it initially and to whom?

EW: In 2004, Maria Klawe who was just ending her ACM Presidency (Dave Patterson was the new president) asked me to co-chair ACM-W with Ursula Martin, then a professor at St Andrews in the UK. I agreed and then after a year of working together, Ursula stepped down entirely and I became chair.

ACM-W was at the time a not-terribly active group. When I took on the chair position alone in 2005, I initiated several new projects. The one nearest and dearest to my heart was the scholarship program. ACM-W had a very small budget at the time and I carried enough money from that to fund I believe 5 young women to attend conferences during the year. I wrote to all of the degree-granting programs I could, and made presentations to the SIG board chairs asking them to help and waive conference registration fees. Any woman that won one of the scholarships, I wrote to their dean and told them how proud they should be of this remarkable young woman and asked them to provide matching funds. I asked Valerie Barr (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerie_Barr), who I had known from the days when she was a beginning graduate student at NYU and I was a brand new faculty there, and asked her to help me run this program which I felt could be a wonderful recruitment/retention tool to help young women to aspire to something great. After the first year, I asked Valerie to continue running the scholarship program on her own while I continued as ACM-W chair through the reigns of the next 4 or so ACM presidents. When the program started to grow because we started getting outside funding, Valerie needed additional help and so I asked Adriana Compagnoni (Stevens Institute of Technology) to join and help Valerie with the program. Eventually, I think in 2012, Valerie succeeded me as ACM-W chair and Adriana took over running the scholarship program. When I stepped down at ACM-W chair, I became a member of the scholarship selection committee.

Q2. What do you think is the main motivation for the program?

I went to an undergraduate college and my family was working class, and I knew there were lots of women with wonderful talent who would never reach their full potential because they didn’t even know about research, or ever think of going to graduate school. So my motivation was to help these young women see that there was a whole world out there that might be wonderfully interesting and to give them a peek at this world and thereby encourage them to aspire to something great. My ideal recipient was an undergraduate who after going to a conference might say to herself: “Wow – I want to do that” The other perfect candidate in my eyes was a terminal Masters student who was also not involved in research. I hoped that by attending a research conference and finding out about how exciting research can be, she would want to continue on to a PhD. The other group that I hoped to target was the new graduate student who did not yet have research funding and was not at one of the “rich universities” that could afford to cover the costs. To me the goal has always been to help the young woman who is has never gone to a research conference get their first taste of research which I hoped could be a life-changer for them.

Q3. Did you think it would take this long to get women into computing?

Sadly no. I received my PhD in Computer Science in 1977 – the statistics have not changed significantly in terms of the percentage of women in the field in more than 40 years, but we keep trying!

Q4. What are your expectations for the program now?

I hope it will continue to grow with the help of people like you who are committed to expanding the pipeline, and the generosity of companies that understand that increased diversity means that there is more talent available which is good for everyone.

We thank Professor Weyuker for her admirable work on behalf of the ACM-W, of the students and especially for her dedication to the Scholarship program.

The next application deadline is April 15 for conferences taking place in Jun 1 – July 31, 2020.   

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

ACM-W Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences Winners

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. The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by themselves.

Applications are evaluated at 6 occasions each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually 3-6 awards given for each group of applications. 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 ACM Scholarships are made possible due to the generous support of Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

This month we have a big crop of winners, twelve in fact. Seven of them are undergraduate students. They are Hareem-E-Sahar (University of Alberta, CA), Varnika Kairon (Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, India),  Aleksandra Koralczyk (Lodz University of Technology, Poland), RutujaTaware (Pune Institute Of Computer Technology, India), Lavinia Paganini (Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil), Jaelle Scheurman (Tulane University, USA) and Ruba Abu-Salma (University College London, UK). The five graduate students are: Belgica  Valencia (CETYS University, Mexico), Maria Lydia Fioravanti (University of São Paulo, Brazil), Micol Spitale (Politecnico di Milano, Italy), Jingmei Hu (Harvard, USA),  and Anna Werner (LMU Munich, Germany).

We heartily congratulate all our winners and  hope they will be able to use their Scholarships! Given the current situation with the Coronavirus, travelling seems more complicated than ever!

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

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

ACM-W Connections–February 2020

Welcome from the ACM-W Chair

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jodi Tims
ACM-W Chair

Other ACM-W News

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

Report from ACM-W North America

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

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

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

News from ACM-W Scholarships

The ACM Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences program provides support for women students in Computer Science and related programs who wish to attend research conferences. The student does not have to present a paper at the conference to be eligible for a scholarship. Applications are evaluated at 6 occasions each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually 3-6 awards given for each group of applications. The ACM Scholarships are made possible due to the generous support of Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

If the award is for attendance at one of the ACM special interest group conferences (SIG conferences), the SIG will most likely provide complimentary conference registration and a mentor during the conference. The number of free registrations available varies from SIG to SIG. ACM-W has helped students attend a wide range of meetings including SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, GECCO, ICAPS, and ICSE, amongst others.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by themselves. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attend, preferably with a picture, so that we can show our readers and funders the diversity of our winners.

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

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

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

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

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

Guest Blog from ACM-W Europe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more from Elif on our blog.

ACM Scholarship Winners!

The ACM Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences program provides support for women students in Computer Science and related programs who wish to attend research conferences. The student does not have to present a paper at the conference to be eligible for a scholarship. Applications are evaluated at 6 occasions each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually 3-6 awards given for each group of applications. The ACM Scholarships are made possible due to the generous support of Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

If the award is for attendance at one of the ACM special interest group conferences (SIG conferences), the SIG will most likely provide complementary conference registration and a mentor during the conference. The number of free registrations available varies from SIG to SIG. ACM-W has helped students attend a wide range of meetings including SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, GECCO, ICAPS, and ICSE, amongst others.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by themselves. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attend, preferably with a picture, so that we can show our readers and funders the diversity of our winners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

News from ACM-W Scholarships, December 2019

The ACM Scholarship for Attendance of Research Conferences program provides support for women students in Computer Science and related programs who wish to attend research conferences. The student does not have to present a paper at the conference to be eligible for a scholarship. Applications are evaluated at 6 occasions each year, to distribute awards across a range of conferences, with usually 3-6 awards given for each group of applications. The ACM Scholarships are made possible due to the generous support of Microsoft, Google and Oracle.

If the award is for attendance at one of the ACM special interest group conferences (SIG conferences), the SIG will most likely provide complimentary conference registration and a mentor during the conference. The number of free registrations available varies from SIG to SIG. ACM-W has helped students attend a wide range of meetings including SIGGRAPH, SIGCHI, Women in Cyber Security, ACM EC, SIGCSE, IEEE Conferences, DIS, IPDPS, ICCC, ACM CHI, AAMAS, FLAIRS, WIMS, CSCW, GECCO, ICAPS, and ICSE, amongst others.

The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by themselves. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attend, preferably with a picture, so that we can show our readers and funders the diversity of our winners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2019 Scholarship Winners

In 2019, ACM-W scholarship winners, including undergraduate students and Ph.D. students, attended conference such as CHI in Glasgow, UK, WSDM in Melbourne, Australia, and more.

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2018 Scholarship Winners

In 2018, ACM-W scholarship winners, including undergraduate students and Ph.D. students, attended conference such as WSDM in Los Angeles, ISWC in Singapore, and more.

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2017 Scholarship Winners

In 2017, ACM-W scholarship winners, including undergraduate students and Ph.D. students, attended conference such as AAAI in San Francisco, Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing in Portland, and more.

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2016 Scholarship Winners

In 2016, ACM-W scholarship winners, ranging from high school students to Ph.D. students, attended conference such as SIGPLAN in Amsterdam, UIST in Tokyo, IEEE GLOBECOM in Washington DC, and more.

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2015 Scholarship Winners

In 2015, ACM-W scholarship winners, ranging from high school students to Ph.D. students, attended conference such as CHI in Seoul, SIGCSE in Kansas city, CSCW in Vancouver, and more.

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2014 Scholarship Winners

In 2014, ACM-W scholarship winners, ranging from high school students to Ph.D. students, attended conference such as SIGGRAPH in Vancouver, SIGCHI in Toronto, SIGCSE in Atlanta, and more.

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2013 Scholarship Winners

In 2013, ACM-W scholarship winners includes high school students, Undergraduate students, MS students and Ph.D. students. They attended SIGCHI in Paris, SIGCOMM in HongKong, SIGITS in Floria, and more.

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