ACM-W Scholarships Update

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 bono@di.unito.it.

 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.

ACM-W Scholarships Looking Forward

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, viviana.bono@unito.it).

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.

News from the ACM-W Scholarships Committee

The pandemic has caused many small and not so small changes in everyone’s life. We know that women are being disproportionately affected by it. From Nature (Women are most affected by pandemics — lessons from past outbreaks https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02006-z) to the BBC (Why this recession disproportionately affects women https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20201021-why-this-recession-disproportionately-affects-women) and the New York Times (Pandemic Will ‘Take Our Women 10 Years Back’ in the Workplace https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/26/world/covid-women-childcare-equality.html) it is clear to scientists and social media commentators alike that women are not faring well in this “shecession”, as some are calling this mostly female recession.

Particularly in Academia things are not going very well for women.

As Nature again reported in  April 2020 (The pandemic and the female academic https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01135-9) someone researcher tweeted “The next person who tweets about how productive Isaac Newton was while working from home gets my three-year-old posted to them!”. But trying to laugh about it has its limitations.

We would like to point out to our readers that most of the important conferences in Computing are going ahead online and that many charge fees. Some of  these fees have been reduced for online meetings, but they are not negligible. We had hoped that reduced fees would allow us in the Scholarship Committee to spread further our funds and pay for many more students to attend conferences. But given the situations described above, the women are not applying for these funds. Thus this is a heads-up and a reminder: Please apply to go to conferences! 

You do not have to have a paper to present at the conference you want to attend. Attending high-quality conferences online might not be as great as visiting the places and talking face-to-face with the important researchers in the field, but it’s actually still extremely helpful, both in terms of knowing where the field is going and of making yourself known to the research comunity you’d like to be part of. Try your best to submit papers too, because writing is like exercising: the more you do it, the better you get at it.

Lastly and most importantly, please don’t post the 3-year old!

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 next application deadline is February 15 for conferences taking place April 1 – May 31, 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

Hoping that you’re all safe and sound in these complicated times of covid-19 and wishing us all a happier New Year!

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 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-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

Interview about ACM-W Scholarships

In this newsletter, we have an interview with Prof Viviana Bono, the actual Chair of the Scholarship program. The interview was conducted by Dr Valeria de Paiva, of the Topos Institute, Berkeley, CA.

A few words with Viviana Bono, Associate Professor, Computer Science Department, University of Torino, Italy, the Chair of the Scholarship Program since August, 2018.

Viviana Bono, Chair, ACM-W Scholarships

VdP: Viviana, I know you’re very busy, but I thought the students and young professionals we usually work for in the Scholarships program might want to know more about your ideas on the history and future of the program. (We have this written conversation before and while the pandemic was hitting hard both Italy and the US, the places we work from.) So here are some questions for you!

1.  When did you join the Scholarship program? Who invited you to run it?

I joined the Scholarship program committee in 2012, invited by Adriana Compagnoni. At that time we were only three people, including Adriana, the chair. Adriana and I met long ago when I was a PhD student and she was a post-doc. We are in the same field of academic research (Foundations of Programming Languages) and we have become friends over the years. When her chair mandate was over, in 2018, she asked me if I wanted to take over and I accepted gladly.

2. I believe you are  the third “generation” managing the program and by this stage much more money from big companies like Microsoft, Google is available. However joining a moving train, like the ACM-W must be difficult, as they’re always trying to change and improve their ways,right? How difficult is it to be the chairperson of the scholarship program? What are the unexpected difficulties and pleasures of the job?

The ACM-W scholarship program was well-established when I was appointed chair. Up to then, as a member, I concentrated only on the single cycles of applications to select the scholars. Instead, suddenly I had to learn the rules of the trade: start to manage our funds, taking decisions on the behalf of the committee while trying to include all the different points of view and opinions, and make relations with the other chairs in ACM-W. It took me a year to feel comfortable. Certainly, it helped me to meet the ACM-W chair, Jodi Tims, and the other committee chairs in June 2019, in a general meeting in New York. Also, I still find important the advice of Elaine Weyuker, the founder of the scholarship program. What I love the most is to collect and read the reports that the scholars send to us post-conference: they are a source of enthusiasm and inspiration.

3. What do you think is the main motivation for the program? What are its positive points? I know that you’ve managed to get some of the computing systems working better for the program, for example, the awardee reports now get delivered directly to the report pages of the program, instead of having to be manually processed. Do you have more plans like that?

I believe it is important to encourage women to pursue a career in science in general. As computer scientists, we can do this at least within Computer Science. There are countries where the role models for women are still the old ones, wife and mother. And even if a woman has a job, the one in the family entitled to have a career is often the men, husbands and brothers. Being able to go to a conference in the early stages of the studies could be a powerful push for anyone, especially for women, in the direction of pursuing a successful computer science career in academia or in industry. About new plans: there are plans for a  general reconstruction of the ACM-W website, therefore stay tuned for possible novelties.

4. What do you think are the main challenges of the program?

I believe it is important to keep it up-to-date, that is, to go along with the scientific and societal changes. For instance, we are opening up to a broader scope, accepting applications of students not necessarily in CS departments, as long as they work on proper computing projects. This is because interdisciplinarity is becoming more and more important.

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

There were waves in this history. Think of the NASA programmers in the ’60s: they were almost all women. Then men took over. When I was an undergrad student, at the time of the spread of personal computers all over the world, women were back into computing. Now things look like we are going backwards again. I do not really know what the reason is, actually. However, I do think the problem is that interesting jobs are preferentially given to males, unfortunately.

6. What are your expectations for the program now? Do you have big new initiatives that you’d like to see implemented?

The pandemic situation stopped the flow of applications, unfortunately.

While it is important to have online versions of conferences to keep our research going, in-presence conferences are more fruitful in my opinion, as you can make alliances, working and from the human point of view alike, that will last very long. Let’s hope things will get back to normal for everything and everyone. As for new initiatives, the ACM-W scholarship program is well-established, therefore it will not change substantially, I expect. However you never know: once again, stay tuned!

VdP: Thank you Prof Bono, for your enthusiasm and dedication to research and in the Scholarships program!

We hope all of you and yours are staying healthy and well, surviving as best as we can the COVID-19 pandemic!

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 program was started in 2013 by Elaine Weyuker.

The ACM Scholarships are made possible by the generous support of Google and Oracle. We ask students to share with us some of their thoughts on the conference they attended, preferably with a picture, so that we can show our readers and supporters the diversity of our winners. We never cease to find truly inspiring stories! The full collection of previous reports can be found now at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2020.

This month we report the names of the winners from the last round of the scholarship awards for conferences, which was decided at the beginning of May 2020. As we explained in the last newsletter, despite the cancellations and postponements forced on us by the coronavirus crisis, we decided to judge requests, as usual, assuming the earlier announced deadlines. Where conferences/workshops are canceled or postponed, we discuss with the students how to best use their awards.

In the penultimate cycle, we managed to contemplate eight students, three undergraduates, one graduate (Master’s program) student, and four doctoral students. The undergraduate students are Divya Yendapally (from the University of Georgia, Athens, USA), Lauren Bhagwandat (from Queen University, Canada) and Shafika Showkat Moni (from the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky). Their interests are in very different areas, from EcoFeedback technology in HCI, to security of message passing in autonomous vehicles, via graphics and animation. The only masters’ graduate student is Vartika Agrahari, from the Indian Institute of Technology, Tirupat, India who is attending a meeting on teaching computing to novice programmers in Tartu, Estonia. The doctoral students are Zohreh Dehghani Champiri, from Simon Fraser University, Canada who’s attending HCI in Denmark; Elli Anastasiadi, from Reykjavik University, who planned to attend ICALP in Germany, Raazia Sosan,  from DHA Suffa University, in Karachi, Pakistan who plans to attend SIGGRAPH in Washington, DC and Aakriti Upadhyay, from the University at Albany, SUNY, New York, who plans to attend the Workshop on the Algorithmic Foundations of Robotics (WAFR), in Finland. As you can see, very different fields and very different personal situations. However, with the coronavirus crisis deepening, there were no applications in the last cycle, as the whole world has shut down for several months, as of this writing.

Anyhow, congratulations to all of our winners! We hope you do get to be part of your chosen research communities!

The next application deadline is August 15 for conferences taking place Oct 1 – Nov 30, 2020.  

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

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

Standing Committees Chairs’ Report – June 2020

Arati Dixit and Bushra Anjum, as ACM-W Standing Committees chairs, have been overseeing four committees for about a year now. These four vibrant pillars are the Rising Star Committee, the Scholarships Committee, the NextGen Committee, and the Professional Chapters Committee.We provide leadership advice and guidance, offer advocacy for the various initiatives, and serve as a liaison between the standing committees and the ACM-W core leadership. The ACM-W core leadership came together virtually for the annual meet up recently (picture attached) and together we acknowledged and celebrated various achievements of our standing committees. We are thankful for the leadership provided by the Rising Star Committee’s chair, Pamela Wisniewski, who successfully built a new initiative from the ground up. We also celebrate the renewed funding for the Scholarships Committee and the broadening of that project’s disciplinary focus, passionately led by its chair, Viviana Bono. Our continued focus remains on expanding the reach, viability, and success of the Professional Chapters and NextGen initiatives, and are thankful to their chairs, Rachelle Kristof Hippler and Priya Chawla respectively, for their continued work and effort. Below is a brief preview of each of the four committees. Please do consider volunteering with these amazing initiatives! Contact details are provided.

Rising Star Committee

The ACM-W Rising Star Award Committee has been formed in 2019 to recognize women whose early-career research has had a significant impact on the computing discipline. In the last year, our biggest achievements have been forming the inaugural committee and selecting the inaugural award recipient, Dr. Vivienne Sze. We would especially like to thank Andrea Goldsmith for her donation, which established the award, as well as the selection committee members, Drs. Pamela Wisniewski (chair), Samaher Al-Janabi, Lilia Georgieva, Bimlesh Wadhwa, and Tao Xie. If you are interested in knowing more or volunteering with us, please reach out to Pamela Wisniewski (pamwisATucfDOTedu).

Scholarships Committee

The ACM-W Scholarship program has been started in 2013 by Elaine Weyuker to allow early-in career woman students to travel to a research conference, to open their eyes to the world of research, and help them aspire to something they might not otherwise even consider.

In the last year, we were able to fund many students. You can read their stories at https://women.acm.org/scholars/acm-w-scholars/?sch_year=2019. We would especially like to thank our sponsors Google and Oracle for their support to achieve our goals. Looking forward, we are excited about starting to open to applications of woman students working on computing projects also in interdisciplinary environments. We have open positions of committee members. If you are interested in knowing more or volunteering with us, please reach out to Viviana Bono (vivianaDOTbonoATunitoDOTit)

NextGen Committee

The ACM-W Next Generation Committee was formed in 2018 to engage the next generation of computing talent and industry professionals to develop membership sustainment activities among future generations as they move from academic chapters to the career stage. Some of the highlights from last year are leading the “Design Thinking Workshop: Global Challenges for NextGen Women in Computing” at WomenENcourage conference in Rome, Italy, and establishing a Global Ambassadors Group to grow ACM-W NextGen volunteer base globally. Looking forward we are excited to work with the ACM-W Professional Chapters & Celebrations Committees to host virtual events for our members. If you are interested in learning more or volunteering with us, please reach out to NextGen committee chair, Priya Chawla (chawlprATgmailDOTcom).

Professional Chapters Committee

ACM-W Professional Chapters give you a local voice for change with the backing of an international organization. Professional chapters work with student chapters and industry leaders to advocate for equity and diversity in the tech industry. We recognize the work of our professional organizations around the world: ACM-W UK, Ankara, Azerbaijan, Belgrade, Chennai, Cyprus, Delhi, Greek, Northwest Ohio, Inhambane, Jamshoro, OCWiC, Pune, Tallinn, Trondheim, and Windhoek Chapter. Won’t you consider starting an ACM-W Professional Chapter near you?  Contact Rachelle Kristof Hippler (rhipplerATbwDOTedu) for more information.

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

But everyone knows that with the Coronavirus Crisis we are living through, many of the Computer Science conferences are being delayed, made virtual and sometimes plainly cancelled. Everyone has had to adapt and the Scholarship Committee has decided to keep our deadlines as usual and to deal with the delays and cancellations as they arise.

Therefore, in April we will assign scholarships for the conferences officially scheduled in June and July. However, if the conferences is postponed or cancelled, the scholars will retain their scholarships for the same conference, or another later conference. In both cases, the scholar must inform the ACM-W Scholarship committee. Moreover, in the latter case, the ACM-W committee will decide if the other conference is suitable. In any case, the scholarship will not be lost.

If you’ve read our last newsletter we may have seen that we were planning some questionnaires to help us improve the communication with our readers and the  distribution of the scholarship awards. Given the severity of the coronavirus situation and the need for all of us to survive quarantine and all it implies, these plans are on hold for the time being.

We hope all of you and your loved ones are healthy and well. We will get through this together, hopefully stronger and  fairer in the long run!!

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.

The next application deadline is June 15 for conferences taking place in Aug 1 – Sep 30, 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 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. The scholarship exposes students to prominent researchers in their field, introduces students to new research, and excites them about doing research by themselves.

But everyone knows that with the Coronavirus Crisis we are living through, many of the Computer Science conferences are being delayed, made virtual and sometimes plainly canceled. Everyone has had to adapt. The Scholarship Committee has decided to keep its deadlines as usual and to deal with the delays and cancellations as they arise.

Therefore, in April we will assign scholarships for the conferences officially scheduled in June and July. However, if the conference is postponed or cancelled, the scholar will retain their scholarship for the same conference, or another conference later on. In both cases, the scholar must inform the ACM-W Scholarship committee. Moreover, in the latter case, the ACM-W committee will decide if the other conference is equally suitable. In any case, the scholarship will not be lost.

If you have read our last newsletter we may have seen that we were planning some questionnaires to help us improve the communication with our readers and the distribution of the scholarship awards. Given the severity of the coronavirus situation and the need for all of us to survive quarantine and all it implies, these plans are on hold for the time being.

We hope all of you and your loved ones are healthy and well. We will get through this together, hopefully stronger and fairer in the long run!!

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.

The next application deadline is April 15 for conferences taking place in June 1 – Jul 31st, 2020.  

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

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.