Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Ada Lovelace Pledge 2010

I'm lucky enough to work in a world where I am surrounded by inspirational high achieving women. It makes meeting my pledge on Ada Lovelace day an easy task :-)


so where to begin? home of course, in Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton

Here in Learning Socieities Lab (LSL) we have an array of female researchers, postdocs, postgrads and summer interns who are the ultimate role models for every young woman who aspires to take a role in our technological future.

Let me tell you about a few of them who I've been lucky enough to work with this year

Its a big year for LSL because we are going to have a massive graduation ceremony in the summer. Of our female post grads, Reena Pau, Ilaria Liccardi and Asma Ounas will all be stepping up and for their intellect and hard work they need a massive round of applause. We have many other postgrads, but this year, these are the three who are in the limelight.

In our lab EA Draffan, Debra Morris and Yvonne Howard are three incredibly smart and hardworking, all different, but all fabulous team workers who help us to carve out our path.

This year I have been working with folk who have established the Doctoral Consortium in Web Science, and amongst the female students on that programme, its Lisa German, a female post grad who came into Web Science with a law degree who I think can be particularly inspirational. Of course I cant think about Web Science at Southampton without thinking of Wendy Hall (Dame Professor of course) who I know is a massive role model for many of our female post grad and under grad students, and who continues to be an inspiration for me.

And that reminds me of some of the fabulous undergraduate students who we have on our computer science, software engineering and IT degrees. This year I have four female project students and they are all amazing. Carly Wilson and Anna Asanova won scholarships this year to participate in the Hopper and what an impact that made on them. Big thanks and admiration here to Wendy who is the first out of the US president of ACM, and who established our participation in the Hopper when she was head of school for ECS. My other two female project students are Colette Haladjian and Christia Houry. Another third year, a tutee rather than a project student is Colette Munelly, she too is making great progress, carving out her path as she approaches here finals. All five of those undergrads are active in ECS women and I know that the collaborative effort of ECSWomen forms an important part of the supportive fabric which they find in ECS. And that reminds me to mention Kate Macarthur chair of ECS women and a post grad in IAM, and of course Joyce Lewis, who does so many different things for the school so many of which make it a place where young women can work and believe they will acheive and be recognised for that achievement. If you are looking for female role models then in ECS we have richness indeed.

Along the way this year there have been many other women in technology who are making a difference. One who has to be mentioned this year is Sue Black (University of Westminster) is well know in the UK, her work for Bletchley Park and with the BCS has really brought her into the spotlight, but I also have a big thank you to say to her for being a mentor to one of our students, never mind here amazing example of what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.

And for me, cheery faces and excellent achievements of women from the Ed Tech communities like Helen Keoghan and Frances Bell, Josie Taylor and Josie Fraser all leap to mind. There are many more, but this is not an Oscar thank you speech, just a personal reflection.

And that I guess is what ties together , thank you everyone, you've been fabulous.

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines. Whatever she does, whether she is a sysadmin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements.

It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, or what you normally blog about – everyone is invited to take part. All you need to do is sign up to this pledge and then publish your blog post any time on Tuesday 24th March 2009. If you’re going to be away that day, feel free to write your post in advance and set your blogging system to publish it that day.