#SheIsWhyICode Women’s History Month – Barbara Simons

Barbara Simons (1941 – present)

Barbara Simons at a lectern

The 2020 Women’s History Month theme is “Valiant Women of the Vote”, and in this article, we celebrate Barbara Simons, a retired computer scientist who believes that paper is the only safe voting technology. She began her career at IBM in their research division and worked on compiler optimizer, algorithm analysis, and clock synchronization. After 17 years there, she became president of the Association for Computing Machinery. She served as president of ACM for 9 years and focused on policy associated with technology regulations. After leaving ACM, she began working on voting technology policy, specifically the dangers of unverified voting via technology.

Learn more: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/12/guardian-of-the-vote/544155/

During Women’s History Month this March, ACM is encouraging computing professionals and students to use the hashtag #SheIsWhyICode to share stories of women in computing who have inspired them at any point in their career or education. The stories might range in topic from one’s earliest introduction to computer science to overcoming a recent professional obstacle, and the subjects could vary from luminaries of the computing field to someone’s high school computer science teacher or current boss.

What to Expect When You’re Proposing (a Conference Session)

After attending my first SIGUCCS I realized I wanted more, and getting more from my next conference meant putting more in. I needed to present! I had only recently started in higher education computing support and had no idea what to present or how to get started. I felt that a poster was a reasonable start to my professional presentation career and picked a project I worked on with a colleague to be sure I had a support network while preparing the poster. 

Eric Handler, 2020 Conference Program Co-chair
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SIGUCCS 2019 Conference Takeaway – Campus Experience for Online Classes

Bringing Campus Experience to Online Classes

Key problems in making the online experience “equivalent” to campus experience were the ability to have real time meetings, a good recording/streaming platform, and how to handle labs and specialty software. University of Oregon discussed the solutions that they implemented to support these three issues and how the platforms that they implemented provided a solution that satisfied their students and faculty.

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SIGUCCS 2019 Conference Takeaway – Accessibility

An A11yance: Approaches for Transferring Expertise to Build Accessibility Liaisons in the Campus Community

Rutgers University and Princeton University presented on their individual approaches to building accessibility awareness and expertise across their campuses.

Princeton University has a program in place to allow members of the university to get CPACC certified. These people become local experts to assist with accessibility questions within their departments. As part of this certification, they have a study group for people working on the certification class together. This includes quizzes and lunch and learn sessions.

Rutgers University uses a series of in-house training classes to educate staff within departments to become their accessibility liaisons. Additional resources are available through online offerings.

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SIGUCCS 2020 Conference Introductions – Dan Herrick

This article is part of a series introducing the SIGUCS 2020 Conference Committee. Each Committee member submitted answers to questions created by the SIGUCCS Marketing Committee.

Dan Herrick, IT Asset Manager at University of Colorado – Boulder, is the Executive Committee / SIGUCCS 2020 Conference Liaison.

Dan Herrick

How many SIGUCCS conferences have you attended?
10

Which previous SIGUCCS conference was your favorite, and why?
I have too many favorites! Some highlights: My first SIGUCCS conference (fall 2005), because I was introduced to this fabulous community and couldn’t wait to get back; my first SIGUCCS presentation at a conference (fall 2009), because it inspired me to challenge myself and share my experiences with my peers; my first conference as a conference committee member (fall 2017), because it gratified me to give back to the conference and elevated my level of participation. And, of course, the last one I attended (fall 2019), because it’s fresh in my mind and the experience just seems to get better each time!

How did you get involved as a volunteer in SIGUCCS?
I recognized that becoming part of the volunteer team helped me expand my networking reach, improve my organizational and planning skills, and gave me greater insight into what the SIGUCCS community values. Plus, I loved giving back a little something to the community that helps me grow!

What’s an accomplishment that you are especially proud of (personal or work-related)?
I’ll never forget the first major presentation I gave, which was at SIGUCCS 2009. It felt like I’d reached the next level to be accepted as a presenter. Before my presentation, I worried that I wouldn’t do it right, that no one would come, that it wouldn’t be interesting. As I walked into the room (late!), I saw that the room was full and even overflowing into the hallway. They’d all come to listen to ME. That was when I felt the flash of pride and humility at the same time: I was proud that they were there for my presentation, and humbled because I knew I was just one of them, doing my best to teach what I had learned.

You can always stop and talk to me about …
Personal productivity topics of all sorts, life hacks, science (especially cognition and eusocial superorganisms), and coffee.

For fun, I like to …
I love to explore new places, learn new things, and discover the depths in people. At conferences, you’ll find me doing all these things. I love tabletop gaming (all kinds, but not Monopoly). The art of coffee enjoyment. (I’ll happily demo a pourover coffee technique!)

SIGUCCS 2020 San Diego… what kind of hot sauce do you put on your tacos?
Depends on the taco; I go for complementary seasoning, not heat. Cholula and sriracha are among my faves.

SIGUCCS 2019 Conference Takeaway – Applying Design Thinking

Applying Design Thinking: Panel

How familiar are you with Design Thinking? Were you aware of the 5 steps (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test)? Did you know you could apply design thinking to IT support? The team from Texas Woman’s University provided an overview of how they used problem solving and empathy to get to the heart of what their customers were needing.

Texas Woman's University Team
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SIGUCCS 2020 Conference Committee Introductions – Tom Wilk

This article is part of a series introducing the SIGUCS 2020 Conference Committee. Each Committee member submitted answers to questions created by the SIGUCCS Marketing Committee.

Tom Wilk

Tom Wilk, PC Engineering Manager for Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, is a SIGUCCS 2020 Program Co-Chair.

How many SIGUCCS conferences have you attended?
2

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