Electronics and Computer Science well represented at ACM WomENcourage Conference
A group of five students from the Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton received academic scholarships for €300 each to present their various engineering and computer science projects at the second Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) WomENcourage conference, this year held in Uppsala, Sweden.
The ACM WomENcourage conference is an international celebration of women in computing; a scientific and career networking event bringing together researchers, students and professionals to present and share their experiences and achievements. More than 200 people attended from 38 countries and conference sponsors included Google, Inria, Oracle, Cisco, Bloomberg, Facebook, Intel, and Microsoft Research.
The ECS students attending were (pictured from left to right): Ayse Sunar, third-year PhD student in the Web and Internet Science research group (WAIS); Olja Rastic-Dulborough, recent MComp graduate in Information Technology in Organisations; Olivia Ojuroye, first-year PhD student in the Electronics and Electrical Engineering research group; Adriana Wilde, Mayflower Teaching Fellow and final-year PhD student in WAIS; and Dorota Filipczuk, fourth year MComp student in Computer Science and the ECS Society Academic President.
The students are at various stages in their careers and they all benefitted from disseminating their work to a broader audience, acquiring specific skills through a range of workshops and networking with other researchers and professionals. Adriana Wilde commented: "I'm pleased that for second time we were able to take a strong team to WomENcourage, representing ECS all the way from second year undergraduates to doctoral researchers. We were very fortunate to receive sponsorships from ACM, complemented with funds from the ECS Athena SWAN Chapter, which enabled us to attend this international conference.”
The quality of research was recognised at the conference poster session where ECS had the highest number of posters accepted for presentation. These included Olivia Ojuroye part III project "SIRI on your Wrist: Making your home smart". Olivia was delighted, saying: "The technical calibre of the female attendees were staggeringly high. If these women are part of the future STEM industry, then the world has a lot to look forward to; I was pleased to be recognised as having the same virtues when invited to present my poster at the conference."
The conference also featured a number of talks and workshops including a Data Mining session led by Adriana and a Learning Analytics session, led by Ayse Sunar and supported by Olja Rastic-Dulborough. Ayse thought very highly of session she led; "The attendees were from various backgrounds, including a teacher from Singapore, a PhD student studying agent-based learning systems and an experienced learning analyst. We discussed the use of learning analytics in the classroom as well as online learning at small and massive scale."
Dorota Filipczuk, representing the student society that promotes women's participation in the department commented: "The conference was truly inspiring and gave me new ideas of the direction our ECSWomen society should follow."
Alexander Wolf, ACM President, said at the opening of the event: "We wouldn't be here at all if it wasn't a problem in our community ... but this is not a women's problem, this is a community problem. It takes everyone to solve this problem". The University of Southampton’s Electronics and Computer Science department has been recognised for its work tackling the problem of gender inequality in science and engineering with an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. For more details, visit www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/athenaswan