GHC15: Boost the Voices and Profiles of Role Models


There are two parts to the post, the first is about why the press release for Men at GHC is good and the second is about how to keep the focus on the women even with this press release.

Why is it that I am ok and glad for the press release on the website that announces this years leading men speaking at GHC?

It is important and inspiring to see prominent men supporting women and serving as strong role models at their organizations across academia and industries.
– Telle Whitney

Any man and every man that want’s to be a <insert male advocate/ally term here> for women I support them and am happy and willing to help them improve their and our chances for true equality. They are role models for the rest of the men in industry to follow suit. This includes having a conversation that is not emotionally charged to answer their questions about how to be an advocate and also listening to them report back on their progress. This is an iterative process.

Every time a man who is working toward equality wants to stand up in front of 12,000 women and the world and tell us how they are improving the environment in which women live and work I want to hear them and I want to give constructive feed back.

I wrote this blog post two years ago and I still believe it is relevant to this day.


Switching gears a bit I want to discuss amplifying the voices of role models you meet at GHC to keep the focus on women.

The biggest reason I’m writing this post now is because while I’ve seen the other news releases made by I haven’t seen other people tweet about them unless in outrage. What about the scholarship honorees, Manuela Veloso and Clara Shih, Susan Wojcicki and Moira Forbes, Sheryl Sandberg and Megan Smith, this years ABIE Honorees and those from the past.

Have you taken the chance to look at the speaker list this year and the schedule to get excited and promote all of the inspiring women in tech? If the answer is no, then that’s what we should be doing. It is us, the community, who gets to decide the focus of the media around this conference. What we should be tweeting about is all of these amazing speakers regardless of their race, religion, identified gender, etc. If they inspire you then tweet about it, write about it, share it and discuss the future of women in our world!

And lastly please lets stop spreading ridiculous rumors as if they are facts. The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is not the ONLY conference for women.

There are dozens world-wide. Here are the other 2 from the big 3, do a simple search on eventbrite to find even more local to your area:

IEEE WIE International Leadership Conference

SWE The World’s Largest for Women Engineers

What would help boost voices?

  • Let’s compile the demographics of the entire list of speakers, of the entire list of award winners and publish them
  • Highlight inspirational people making strides in the diversity space in tech
  • Promote the voices of change with facts
  • Nominate women in tech for the awards 
  • Encourage women to submit proposals at all the conferences you care about
  • Follow above inspirational people on twitter and listen to a diverse set of people

GHC15: Building Engagement


I’m so very excited for this years Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston Texas.

You’d think that after attending, what 6 or 7 times, things would become routine. On the contrary, the GHC conferences are the most evolutional events I’ve ever attended. The year over year growth is a big driving factor of change in the way things are managed and experienced each year, mix that with the fact that all of the attendees are innovators in tech and there is no way two experiences can be the same.

This year I am most excited about the level of engagement we are seeing in the online communities before the conference. We’ve all been working on building a community and it is working. Particularly this year I’m seeing students leveraging crowd sourcing platforms to help fund their travel to GHC! I’m going to post the ones I am aware of here:  

  All of these students have registration codes, have applied for scholarships and will apply to be a hopper, they have reached $1695 of their $3000 funding goal.


This one needs to reach its goal by Aug 7th, thus far $2890 of $4000 has been raised, check out their video

  To support some local students at RICE, check out this fund


  These students have until August 1st to reach their funding goal of $8000, and also have registration codes check out their profiles on the great website. If you are a company they offer promoting job descriptions on their boards as well as advertisement on t-shirts they will wear at GHC in exchange.


Why is this exciting?

For years as a grad student a group of women and I fought with our ever changing department structure varying budgets and attempts to become a recognized official club so that we could have access to student government resources. (These resources are more than just funds, but office space, student email access, recruiting event tables etc.) So in a given year we’d organize a bunch of events, we’d tutor k-12 students, we’d provide study groups for members, social events, organize professional talks etc, and yet all of our resources came directly from our members because there was no official avenue for funds to be earmarked for our group. Countless times money that had been set aside for travel to GHC got swept into other accounts and other events because it wasn’t ours.

Why wouldn’t our club get approved?

Because the student government claimed there were too many other womens groups that they thought we should just become a part of instead of creating more division within the members. Now, yes there were other womens groups, SWE, a sub group of IEEE: WIE, a sub group of NSBE: women specific. However in our university these were primarily allocating their funds and efforts to industrial, civil, mechanical and electrical engineering conferences and students and had their own rules and regulations and if the womens groups were a sub group then they were treated as the same organization under the eyes of student governemnt funding. Which means if IEEE went to a robotics event (not women specific) then the funds were used up and special requests had to be made. We were different, we were WEECS (women in electrical engineering and computer science). Although EE was in our name, generally speaking (as I was an EE) we were the EE that were close to CS, machine learning, signal processing, etc mostly software that is closer to the hardware than traditional CS. But our interests were intertwined with CpE and CS more.

A new path

The experience I had each year changed because I as a woman in tech had changed. The things I needed support on had changed, maybe it was the PhD Forum one year that I needed, or the career fair the next, maybe it was leadership development, or mentoring, every year it has been different for me and I’ve been able to give back via volunteering with the communities committee each year connecting folks.

But this year there is another way I can help, I can pay it forward for all the times someone funded part of my trip, and I have personally funded in some small way the above mentioned groups. I’ve never met them to my knowledge, but thats sort of the point. As the path gets paved for groups to get funding they don’t need my help any more, those that have an opportunity to attend but lack the resources do.

So this year I’m most excited to help crowd source these efforts and get these groups integrated into our community so they too will be able to help the next generation trying everything they can to better themselves and their community.

Until next time.

-Signing off, your co-chair for the #GHC15 communities committee.

Hello World!


I’ve just started setting up this site in my name. Take a look at the about me tab and the blog posts from my previous blog below. You could also hop on over to my etsy shop if you are into handmade functional pottery.

Why we need men at GHC

As the percentage of women in STEM fields fluctuates we have not yet reached 50%. In particular the number of women in positions of mentoring, sponsorship, and decision making roles are even lower than women entering these fields and so we have this many to one connection that becomes over stressed. We must be willing to train men and women how to mentor and sponsor women in tech, and as women we must be willing to utilize all of our resources including the amazing men we work with.Men as well as women have a role to play in increasing the numbers of women in tech. Why? Not because the have mothers, daughters, girlfriends, or friends that are girls in tech but because there should be equal numbers! Any situation with an inequality needs to be rectified, and we should not assume the only reason they would help is because a female is asking them to. One last introductory point and then we can get into some details. Sometimes our voices (women’s voices) can be lost in the noise, bogged down in media, and if we need help until we are equally heard, then we need help. These two points were well made in a recent podcast, though the main topic was about the psychology of persuasion, women in tech and the website that helps close the gender pay gap were also discussed.

While at GHC13 I’ve asked nearly every male I came in contact with about their experience at GHC. Time constraints limited me from asking a few but hopefully you will receive an email from me about this, and if you are a man reading this right now and attended this year or in years past please reach out to me, lets talk.

First thank you to every man who attended GHC13, I for one believe we need men to attend. There have been points made by a few women I spoke with that there must be some maximum percentage that would be best because just as some men aren’t comfortable discussing these issues with women in the room, some women aren’t comfortable speaking up with men in the room. I disagree, every male who wants to attend in support of women in computing, is willing to take part in the discussion and wants to understand the problems we face and how to overcome them should attend. Take a few minutes later to listen to The Broad Experience Episode 20: The Man Show. Where three men and a woman discuss a few of these issues. Did you know that there is a group for Men Advocating Real Change (MARC) in this arena? Check it out and share with some of your male colleagues.

You might say, but eventually the conference will change! Exactly. As the field we are in changes, our experiences and issues will change, and this Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing should change to reflect the changing culture.

For now, back to the present. In one particular discussion I had at GHC13, there were three women and one man, we discussed how each of us felt when we saw him at the conference and how he felt in different situations. Remarkably even though we were all strangers to each other  after a few minutes of talking we could be honest and open about this topic. I believe this is in part because of the personalities we had present, but also because no one was on the defense or offense, GHC is the one place I’ve found that creates an environment that makes honest discussion possible. Not once have I started this discussion with men at GHC and regretted it.

We had varying ages and experience levels present as well as varying backgrounds. The two other ladies  and gentleman at the table were attending their first GHC. This was my 5th year attending and 6th year volunteering. For me it was great to see a handful of new male faces participating in sessions and giving talks as well as mixing with attendees and mentoring. For the other two women, they were hesitant at first, wanting to know why there were men here at all.

Most first timers to GHC are under the misconception that this is a women only conference, it is not, this is a Celebration of (not for) Women in Computing. In years past, and in this years sessions you will find male and female speakers in the program. This is incredibly useful, we cannot have a balanced discussion about equality in the work place with out all parties represented. For some attendees this is the first time they have been in a conversation about women in computing. Having a female majority experiencing the same biases they do is very useful, but it is just as useful to see that there are men willing to address the issues we face.

But how do we remove the stigma of men attending just as an attendee. I’ve heard from men that it is easier to answer the question why are you here when they can say “I am a speaker”, or “I am a recruiter”, or “my girlfriend/advisor/wife asked me to come” when the real answer is they support women in tech and attended to help advance the status of women in tech and celebrate women in computing. For me, and I believe most veteran attendees, this answer is a good one, but for some it is suspicious.

How do we make it easier for men who want to support us to attend, contribute, and grow? Just as we have women ABI Ambassadors whose job it is to bring the opportunities available to women back to their universities and organizations, we need a male ambassador group. What would they do? Attend sessions, take part in the discussion, take part in the solutions, learn from the sessions and bring back their experiences to their companies and networks! Be a point of contact for ABI to pass along opportunities to others. How do we make this possible? Well I’m working on it with the help of ABI and a few volunteers, so if you are interested leave a comment or contact me directly.

I will close with one last thought. By being in attendance these men are giving us permission to start these discussions. They most certainly aren’t going to attend GHC and expect NOT to talk about obstacles for women in computing. The definition of feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. This is a genderless word; as such feminist is also a genderless word. We all have unconscious biases, but we can consciously choose to work towards equal rights and opportunities, part of the goal of a conference like GHC is to provide a safe environment for addressing these issues, let’s address them together.

GHC13: Asking for a raise and getting it


This talk by Matt Wallaert, Behavioral Psycologist with Bing at Microsoft, was the third in the session Lightning Talks on Career.  The session started first with Sabrina Williams from Google giving some pointers on “Nailing Your Technical Interview”, see her blog here and the wiki notes if you missed it. Then we heard from Ketki Warudkar from Box on “Thinking Big While You’re Young”. These two very useful topics targeted the audience members just starting out, unsure of how to interview well and how to start making decisions on your career path, a perfect lead in to those who currently have jobs and are probably underpaid due to the gender wage gap quoted as around 30%.

For just the note/facts from “Asking for a raise and getting it”, see the session notes on the wiki.
The message here is important, if we start and continue our careers by being underpaid it is very difficult to close the wage gap. As Matt informs us, even if we stop eating, not stop eating out but stop eating that would not make up for the difference in salary we make in a year. See Matt discuss this here. Once you accept your incoming salary to a company all of your raises are based on a percentage of that number to increase.
How do we know what we are worth, go to, it is free.  Here you can find out based upon your title and contributions to your company, prior and future, what you should be paid based upon people in your geographical area with similar titles.
Get Raised was founded in 2010 by Matt Wallaert and Avi Karnani and has continued with the support of a few companies and team of people to bring its current incarnation to us. They have created a salary engine that is based upon government data, user information, and current job postings to narrow the wage gap and help people get paid what they are worth.
So, what if you are underpaid? The site will help you construct a raise request that maximizes your chance of getting a raise.
Raises are not about emotions or about what you want they are about value to the company. You can’t just walk in and ask for a 20% raise the answer will likely be no, the inflection point is 12%, the most successful request is 8%. Maximize the likelihood.
How has it worked for users so far? 72% of women who have used the service have successfully gotten a raise on average of >$6500. This is a big deal, integrate this over the life time of these women and you are talking millions of dollars.
Do you know what you are worth?
Are you afraid to ask for a raise?
Even if you know what you are worth, I believe we should all head on over and use the site, because I for one want everyone to be paid what they are worth and if www.getraised.comuses user data then we should all be putting our information in and giving more data points. Many companies discourage sharing what you are paid with co-workers; some even come right out and say when they give you a raise that it’s in your best interest not to talk about it citing at work jealousy as a reason.
Let’s be as brave as the women who are using this tool to ask for a raise! Watch this 5 minute video where Matt talk about this here take a few minutes to pass along this message. As of this posting, this video only has 67 views, let’s change that. I have seen our online community come together and address things on the internet that shouldn’t be happening, lets watch this video and use this tool, lets close the gap!

In closing here are a few reactions to the site and talk via twitter. Please leave a comment if you went over to the site, I did and I will write a blog on my experience later.

hey Matt Wallaert, hilarious. transformational. u are amazing, thank u 🙂 @ghc career lightening talks aud 2.
— Bobbilee (@bobbilee19) October 4, 2013

Matt Wallaert: a request for an 8% raise is most successful. A 12% raise request is the inflection point, so don’t ask more than that. #GHC
— Stacy Branham (@Branhammertime) October 4, 2013

Matt Wallaert: No one ever gets fired when asking for a raise. #GHC
— Stacy Branham (@Branhammertime) October 4, 2013

Want to learn more about how GetRaised works, and what it does? Cofounder Matt Wallaert talks about it in this video.
— GetRaised (@GetRaised) June 6, 2013

Matt turns out to be behind a bunch of impressive things; Bing for Schools & the awesome site
— Mary Branscombe (@marypcbuk) October 11, 2013


Preparing for Grace Hopper Celebration 2013

In the past few months we’ve all been gearing up for GHC 13 with session proposals, papers and posters. Then scholarship applications and early bird registration which ends today! So what’s left?
1. Secure Funding
-If you have yet to secure all of the funding you need to attend, now is the time to do so. First take a minute to read Kate’s latestblog on how she has found funding in previous years. 
-If you have funding for travel expenses including airfare and hotel but still need registration: Apply to be a Hopper, applications arenow open.. Hoppers are volunteers who work at the conference in exchange for free conference registration. You will be scheduled for 8 hours of volunteer time in one or multiple of the following activities: checking badges, assisting registration, and helping with sessions and conference activities. Shifts are available between October 2-5, 2013

2. Participate in Pre-Conference Activities
-The online communities are already alive with conversation about the conference, take a moment to join the discussions and networking through your favorite social network to meet attendees before you arrive, a list of places to connect can be found here.
-Soon the Communities committee will put out a call for official volunteer bloggers and note takers. The application will be open during the month of August and you will have the chance to get involved and increase readership of your own blog. Stay tuned for more information on this. (Psst. This year we will even be looking for some video bloggers to apply, which will give you the opportunity to interview and talk with many interesting people at GHC13.)
-Up load your resume to the resume database herewhere 110 sponsors will review it before the conference and may schedule a meeting with you in advance!
3. Plan your session schedule
The session schedule is up! Check out all the great professional development topics as well as technical papers being presented here.
It’s a good idea to make a plan before you arrive, especially if you intend on applying to be a hopper or a official note taker or blogger. Knowing the sessions you don’t want to miss can be to your advantage when scheduling your volunteer time.
Until next time,
Charna Parkey
Co-Chair, GHC 13 Communities Committee

How to Edit the GHC Wiki

Will you be attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2012? Are you already going to be taking notes or blogging about the sessions you attend?

If you answered yes to these questions then consider signing up to post your notes or blogs for the sessions you are interested in. Here’s how to sign up, it’s super easy:

  1. Fill out the volunteer application, indicate your interest in wiki note taking.
  2. A Communities Committee member will contact you confirming your interest.
  3. Head over to our wiki and create an account if you do not already have one.
  4. If your account does not automatically work don’t worry, it may not have been approved yet.
  5. When you can log in. Fill out your user profile by talking about what communities you plan on being involved in, see mine or Valeries for an example.
  6. Head back on over to the wiki page and click edit on the day that you wish to sign up for a session.
  7. Replace the Sign Up text with your name linking to your profile in the correct cell of the table for the session you wish to blog or take notes on. (Here is an example of how to link to your profile page [[User:Bubbva|Valerie]] replace Bubbava with your user name and Valerie with your name)
  8. It is a good idea to preview your changes before saving them

And Voila! you are all signed up. We need to get as many of the sessions covered as possible so please take some time to figure out your schedule before the conference and sign up.

In order to give you an idea of what we are looking for, Note-takers will add their notes directly on the wiki using the wiki markup language, and these should be factual notes of what was actually said in the session. Bloggers will blog on their own blogs anything they like and edit the session wiki page to link to their blog from their.

If you do sign up, be sure to post your notes as soon as possible after the session because we have many followers who are not able to make it to this years GHC and we want to keep them well fed with new and updated content as the conference goes on.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Using Twitter at #GHC12

Love tweeting? Do it at #GHC12! 
New to twitter? Join now to get up to date information and connect with attendees of the conference, get live updates and answers to your questions at the conference and keep in contact with all of your new contacts after heading home.
The aim of this post is to give a few tips about using twitter in conjunction with the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2012. This year we’ve decided (the communities committee) to make some hash tags for use along with the #ghc12 tag. We have so many wonderful sessions that it would be hard to follow a discussion on for example the leadership track of session. 
So here is what you do to participate:
  • Have a general question or comment about GHC12? Just append #ghc12 to your tweet

  • Are you the author or panelist of a session in one of the track and you want to publicize it before the conference? append #ghc12 as well as the track hash tag found in the table below, ie #sec
  • You are an attendee and you want to follow the updates on a certain track? Do a search on #ghc12 and the track i.e., #sec and save your search to easily access it later
  • Just wanna talk about a specific track or topic, you’ve got the hang of it now, just append #ghc12 and the track hash tag i.e. #sec to your tweet!
What else should you know?
  • Join the attendees list by sending a tweet to @ghc 
  • Get official tweets by following @ghc

Women of Underrepresented Groups Track
Security Track
PhD Forum
New Investigators
Leadership Workshop
Career Development
CRA-W tracks
Senior Women’s Summit
Invited Technical Speakers
Social Collaboration
Technical Executive Forum
Award Winners

Learning to Research, Part 4 Learning to Search, Narrow , and Visualize

A little reminder before we start. You need to have an off campus library log in to be able to search databases and catalogs for things restricted to UCF student use such as thesis and dissertation text, ebooks, and journal articles.
Part 3 Continued
                                                               i.      Research Methods and Data Sources – links you to a page with useful information for graduate students.
1. Read it

Searching the existing Dissertation Database
  1. Decide what your generic area is, in this case DSP. You need somewhere to start looking. Before you get more specific you want to know all possible people and databases that you could look for to gain information on what is worth while.
    1. The first place you want to check for topics is the library dissertation and thesis titles. The reason is that previous UCF students will be a lot more willing to give you a place to start. Especially if they just graduated, they may even give you code from their dissertation.
  1. Attempt to use review journals or databases to let you know what current and up and coming topics are, for example:

  1. Is there something more specific such as an intersecting field, this can help narrow your topic.

Example Thesis and Dissertation Search
I want to know what people are doing in the area of speaker recognition across the world. So I go to the ProQuest database search and look in the thesis and dissertation database searching on speaker recognition, and I limit my search to English documents.

49,703 results are returned! Here is a histogram of the papers released by decades, looks like the first paper returned was in 1912 and we even have some prerelease listings for next year, 2013. We want to know what the latest dissertations are right? So first let us narrow our search to the last two decades. How many papers is that?

45,316 results still remaining! Not small enough, lets take a look at that updated histogram,

and while we are at it lets look at the list of subject areas we are searching. The list is verrrry long, I’ve narrowed mine to Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Let’s see whats remaining. 1563 results! That is a lot more manageable.

From this subset I’ve taken the list of author keywords and created a wordle visualization of these keywords, take a look

Do you see just under Machine Learning there is the keyword signal processing? Lets narrow our search to the keywords signal processing as well.

And now we have 18! Yes! Lets look at these 18 titles and authors. Remember that these are dissertations or thesis so the authors have graduated from school in the last 10 years and are probably now the leading researcher in these areas. Also these dissertations have required multiple publications before they were written.

Here are our authors, titles, schools and years:

Title Authors School Year Number
Robust and efficient techniques for speech recognition in noise  Sarikaya, Ruhi; Hansen, John H L  Duke University, 2001 2001 3031012
High range resolution radar target classification: A rough set approach  Nelson, Dale; Starzyk, Janusz A  Ohio University, 2001 2001 3019554
Enhancement and recognition of whispered speech  Morris, Robert; Clements, Mark A  Georgia Institute of Technology, 2003 2003 3110442
Signal processing strategies for better melody recognition and improved speech understanding in noise for cochlear implants  Kasturi, Kalyan; Loizou, Philipos C  The University of Texas at Dallas, 2006 2006 3238589
Multi-classifiers and decision fusion for robust statistical pattern recognition with applications to hyperspectral classification  Prasad, Saurabh; Bruce, Lori M; Fowler, James E; Younan, Nicolas H; Du, Jenny Q  Mississippi State University, 2008 2008 3331332
Model-based speech separation and enhancement with single-microphone input  Lee, Siu; Ching, Chung  The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), 2008 2008 3348874
Speech processing and modeling using a non-linear time-frequency algorithm  McNamara, David  Clarkson University, 2008 2008 3340051
A sequential algorithm for biological event detection using statistical nonstationarity  DiCecco, John  University of Rhode Island, 2008 2008 3328721
A model of head-related transfer functions based on a state-space analysis  Adams, Norman; Wakefield, Gregory H  University of Michigan, 2008 2008 3304909
Signal processing meets computer vision: Overcoming challenges in wireless camera networks  Yeo, Chuohao; Ramchandran, Kannan  University of California, Berkeley, 2009 2009 3383584
Distributed multichannel processing for signal enhancement  Trawicki, Marek  Marquette University, 2009 2009 3357974
Spectral refinements to speech enhancement  Charoenruengkit, Werayuth; Erdol, Nurgun  Florida Atlantic University, 2009 2009 3351583
Applications of sensor arrays in acoustic and seismic signal processing  Xie, Peng; Grant, Steven L  Missouri University of Science and Technology, 2009 2009 3365041
Nonstationary time series modeling with applications to speech signal processing  Rudoy, Daniel; Wolfe, Patrick J  Harvard University, 2010 2010 3435443
Dimensionality reduction and fusion strategies for the design of parametric signal classifiers  Kota, Srinivas; Gupta, Lalit; Bhattacharya, Bhaskar; Botros, Nazeih; Choudhary, Ruplal; et al  Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 2010 2010 3440304
Acoustic MEMS array embedded in a scalable real-time data acquisition and signal processing platform  Turqueti, Marcos; Saniie, Jafar  Illinois Institute of Technology, 2010 2010 3435825
Use of acoustic analysis to develop, test and optimize cochlear implant sound processing  Won, Jong; Rubinstein, Jay T  University of Washington, 2010 2010 3431627
Architecture and analysis for next generation mobile signal processing  Woh, Mark; Mudge, Trevor N  University of Michigan, 2011 2011 3477118

Remember this is not a perfect science, finding the right things is an art, so do these look like what we were looking for? Yes and no depending on your specific area, but its close.

More on searching next time but for now let me point out a good data visualization tool, just be sure to read the rules before using it

Here is a visualization of the data we found:

take a look at the interactive version on many eyes if you like

Until next time!