I am very proud to get up on stage like this and say that I love technology … I love math and science … and I don’t feel that makes me any less as a woman. I want our girls to be able to feel the same way,” stated Dr. Rebecca Parsons, CTO at ThoughtWorks, a global IT consultancy.
Dr. Rebecca was addressing delegates during the inauguration of the second edition of the International Conference on Women in Computing organized in the Coimbatore campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, during January 9-11, 2013.
The conference hosted by the Department of Computer Science at Amrita was co-sponsored by ACM-W and ThoughtWorks. The main conference theme centered on Emerging Trends in Computing.
On the first day of the conference, women research scholars presented their work in the field of computing, while the second and third days also revolved around college and school students respectively.
Dr. Parsons spoke about the importance of the three days and the need to embrace science and technology.
“One of the things that strikes me about the conference is the extent to which it is addressing the three very different communities within the Women and Technology Community. We have a strong community here. Conferences like this will allow us the opportunity to understand where that strength comes from and build on it,” she further elaborated.
“Women have the patience, perseverance, the ability to multi-task, and be sensitive to obstacles. As women contributing to technology, I would say we should take the sensitivity that we have being pushed to learn by society, in a very positive way,” remarked panelist Prof. Hema A. Murthy from IIT Madras.
Other expert panelists included Ms. Jyothi Mahpsekar, President, Stree Mukti Sanghatana; Dr. Mala Ramanathan, Professor at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Science and Technology, Trivandrum; Dr. Ranjini Parthasarathi, Professor at Anna University and Dr. Saraswati, Post-Doctoral Scientist, Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Notable among talks on the first day was one by Dr. Kiranmayi Pendyala from Advanced Micro Devices wherein she recounted stories of several women who had risen to the top of their fields in computing.
On the second day, distinguished speakers addressed college students who were in attendance. Not only computing, they also highlighted ways to use technology in the areas of energy, water and environment.
A quiz competition, a hands-on workshop on Open Virtualization by IBM, another on Android Application Development were other highlights of Day 2.
On the final day, school children from Coimbatore schools came to the Amrita campus for a day-long immersion in the field of computing and science and technology. Here too, the emphasis was on technological solutions for energy, water and environment.
Hundreds of students from PSG Public School; Govt. School, Kuniyamuthur; Govt. Higher Secondsary School, Mathampatti and Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya joined students of Amrita Vidyalayams in Ettimadai, Palakkad and Tirupur for the unique experience.
Amrita TBI arranged a brain storming session on Social Ideas for Future Conferences which drew massive participation from about 120 students. Those representing Nehru Institute of Engineering Technology, Coimbatore and Dr. G.R.D. College of science, Coimbatore were declared winners for their chosen theme of Global Warming.
“We haven’t participated in any exclusive international conferences for women before. This was really fun and at the same time, thought provoking. There were many interesting sessions. Thank you Amrita for giving us such a wonderful opportunity,” remarked the winners of TBI’s contest.
January 15, 2013
School of Engineering, Coimbatore