Carnegie Mellon University
October 27, 2015

Women in Computing

Carnegie Mellon University women in computing are furthering innovation across the globe. They gathered from all four corners for the advancement of women technologists at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Computing Conference, Oct. 14-16 in Houston.

Manuela VelosoThe Hopper event is the world's largest conference for women in computing, with this year's attendance estimated at 12,000. It is co-presented by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI), a non-profit that reaches 65 countries, and the Association for Computing Machinery.

CMU, a strong supporter of women in technology and a Hopper conference sponsor, had a number of representatives at this year's event. Friday's keynote speech was given by CMU's Herbert A. Simon University Professor of Computer Science Manuela Veloso, who personifies this year's theme, "Our Time to Lead."

"CMU has a long tradition and an outstanding record of supporting women in computer science," said Veloso, whose research spans artificial intelligence and robotics.

"The Grace Hopper Conference is a unique event that brings together women in computer science at multiple stages, from undergraduate students to any level of advanced career," she continued. "These interactions are quite important both for networking and providing role models."

Marie Claire Murekatete (HNZ 2014) and Solange Tuyisenge (HNZ 2015), graduates of CMU-Rwanda's master's program, attended. Murekatete was selected as one of 10 TechWomen Fellows offered an ABI-sponsored scholarship and Tuyisenge is currently participating in the program. TechWomen is a U.S. Department of State mentorship program supporting young women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.

CMU's colleges and departments have had a presence at the conference for many years. Heinz College has provided conference funding to student technologists attending the GHC to help them develop professionally and expand their network. In 2015, Heinz College formalized its partnership with the Anita Borg Institute, further strengthening the bond between women studying technology at Heinz and the GHC. In addition, the Information Networking Institute has been a gold-level sponsor since 2006.

"As a woman, CMU has enabled me to develop, to build a confidence in my computing skills and to always try something new," said Murekatete, a senior software engineer at the Rwanda Development Board.

"As I continue to grow in my career in IT," she said, "GHC introduced to me many interesting role models for amazing women working in the technical field, as it brings the best and the brightest women from around the world together to exchange ideas."

Darshana Sivakumar, a CMU-Silicon Valley master's student, Houda Bouamor, a CMU-Qatar senior researcher, and Siddha Ganju, a Language Technologies Institute master's student in Pittsburgh, were chosen as GHC Scholars.

"GHC is an amazing platform to network with women from all over the world who are passionate about technology. It's an opportunity to make additional connections with new mentors," Sivakumar said, noting that CMU's "strong alumni base" has provided her with valuable female mentors who have helped her with both career and technical advice.

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