ACM-W Europe Newsletter

August 2015

Vicki Hanson, Vice President of ACM to Speak at womENcourage 2015

As a continuation of the keynote speaker series for womENcourage 2015 we now travel to Scotland to speak with Vicki Hanson. She is a Professor and Chair of Inclusive Technologies, School of Computing, University of Dundee, UK, and also a Distinguished Professor of Computing at Rochester Institute of Technology, USA, and an IBM Research Staff Member Emeritus.

Her research in human-computer interaction seeks to improve the accessibility of technology for people with disabilities and the aging population. Efforts she led at IBM include a bilingual educational application for deaf children (recognized as a National Merit Winner in the Johns Hopkins National Search for Computing to Assist Persons with Disabilities), and accessibilityWorks, a system allowing disabled users to adapt Web content to fit their needs (recognized by multiple awards including Product of the Year by the National Disabilities Council). At Dundee, her work has examined ways in which mainstream technology can be changed to ensure all people can participate in the emerging digital economy. This work is expanding to include considerations of care home design and technology support to improve the quality of life for care home residents.

Professor Hanson is Vice President of ACM and serves on the ACM-W Europe Executive Committee. She is a Past Chair of the ACM SIG Governing Board and Past Chair of ACM SIGACCESS. She co-founded ACM’s Transactions on Accessible Computing and has served on numerous conference program and organizing committees including ASSETS, CHI, CUU, Hypertext, and OOPSLA, as well as the ACM Awards and Fellows committees.

She is a Fellow of ACM, Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, recipient of the Anita Borg Institute Woman of Vision Award for Social Impact, and recipient of the ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award. She has received an IBM Corporate Award for Contributions to Accessibility, multiple IBM Outstanding Contribution Awards for her work in accessibility and education, the University of Oregon Arts and Sciences Alumni Fellows Award, and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award.

1. Why is the conference important to you?

This conference is important to me as a way for women (particularly women in early stages of their careers) to understand the options available to those of us in computing. The conference affords a number of networking opportunities to enrich careers of all attendees. It also provides attendees the chance to learn about a number of technical areas within computing.

2. What do you enjoy most about your work?

My work has a number of different dimensions. I have my research area, my interactions with students through teaching, and my involvement with the worldwide computing community through a number of ACM volunteer activities.

My research area relates to using computers by people with diverse abilities and needs. The goal is to ensure that people with disabilities as well as older users are fully able to participate in society. As a goal, I feel constantly excited by this challenge and am passionate about the need to use our technology to benefit everyone.

In terms of teaching, I am constantly invigorated by the challenge of keeping material fresh and relevant to students. My teaching is directed at postgraduate education, working with students pursuing Masters degrees and PhDs in computing.

I have been involved with ACM as volunteer for most of my career. Most notably, I currently serve as the Vice President of this international organization. I consider it a huge honour to serve this community of computing professionals! I’ve volunteered in a number of conference capacities as conference Chair and Programme Committee chair and as a member of numerous programme committees. I’ve also served as the Vice President (currently) of ACM’s Special Interest Group in HCI (SIGCHI) and previously as the Chair of the Special Interest Group on Accessible Computing (SIGACCESS). I’ve chaired the SIG Governing Board and served as the ACM Secretary-Treasurer. In each of these experiences, I’ve gained from the people I’ve met and the network of professionals from whom I could learn.

3. What would you want the participants to learn from your keynote speech or the conference in general?

From my keynote speech, I hope that participants gain a broader understanding of what we can do in computing. My talk will focus on computing for people diverse needs and I hope this raises awareness of accessibility issues and possibly even excites some people to think of diverse users in their work.

Blog post: Why would I attend womENcourage 2015? Memories from womENcourage 2014!

Poonam Yadav reflects on last year's womENcourage in Manchester Read her blog post here.

Register for the first ACM-W Europe and Codess hackathon - its FREE


Make something that will improve the world for someone less fortunate than you. ACM-W Europe and Codess Hackathon sponsored by Intel® and Microsoft will be held in Uppsala, Sweden on September 24th 2015, in conjunction with womENcourage 2015 Celebration of Women in Computing. The challenge is to build innovative and exciting projects which improve the day to day lives of people using the Intel® Edison Development Board and the Intel IOT DevKit. Your resulting project could be anything that will help humanity.
All you need to bring for the hackathon is your laptop. We will provide the computing supplies, food and drinks.
To register, click here.


Career Fair: Are you looking for an internship or a permanent position?

Let our supporters know that you are interested in talking with them at the Career Fair on 24 September. When registering for womENcourage 2015, you have the opportunity to add your name to the CV database. This database is being collected to allow you to inform the supporters in advance that you will be attending the Career Fair. Our supporters - Inria, Google, Oracle, Bloomberg, Cisco, Facebook, Microsoft Research, Informatics Europe, Intel and FreeBSD - are very interested in meeting with you and talking with you. Let them know you are interested in talking with them! Sign up today.

News around the world

News from ACM-W UPV Women

ACM-W UPV of Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) was founded after creating and having experience as members and founders of ACM-UPV Student Chapter.

Only 10.8% of students of Computer Students from the ETSInf (Higher Technical School of Computer Engineering) of UPV are women. Their motivation to start ACM-W chapter was to encourage girls and women to study Computer Science, so they do not drop out for lack of motivation or for feel displaced. They started the chapter as a group of girls in undergraduate and masters programs, but soon more people joined them, including a number of males, giving them another perspective about the issues women face at work and in academia.

The group organized various activities during the past year including:

  • Talk on "Animal Computer Interaction", which is a new line of research that tries to figure out how interact with animals using new technologies, such as tablets or drones.
  • Fourth Bits in Feminine Conference: a series of lectures that seeks to discover the role of women in the professional and academic world in different areas of computer engineering. The speakers to date were Virginia Grande, Computer Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, working on education research in Computer Science and human-computer interaction; María Cabezuelo, Computer Engineer from the UPV, who is currently engaged in the development of game software; Inés Toribio, Computer Engineer from the University of Valencia with over 10 years of experience in software quality assurance and testing.

In addition, they are working to implement a project in some schools of Valencia to introduce children between 8 and 10 years in programming, using graphical tools such as Scratch, and break the stereotypes that are created around the profession. These measures will encourage children to study engineering and, in particular Computer Science. The group thanks the UPV, and especially the ETSINF and Informatics Museum of UPV, for providing the necessary resources to carry out the activities, and the support given to them since they started.