Encouraging and advocating for women’s participation in com- puting is the mission of every ACM-W student chapter, and
keeping members active and engaged
over the long run is a challenge for
them all. the ACM-W student chapter
at Kean University in Union, NJ, aims to
help female computer science and information technology students by designing and conducting their activities
in a manner that encourages students
to remain active members.
Established in October 2016, the
Kean ACM-W student chapter was soon
awarded $3,000 by Google’s charitable
arm, Google.org, and the National Cen-
ter for Women & Information Technolo-
gy (NCWIT). A community of nearly 900
universities, companies, non-profits,
and government organizations in the
U.S., NCWIT strives to increase women’s
meaningful participation in comput-
ing. For a newly established chapter like
this, the funding represents a stepping-
stone for subsequent endeavors.
Kean ACM-W plans to use the money
to subsidize some of its members who
are unable to afford the ACM student
membership fee. “At Kean University,”
says Katherine Cabrera, chapter chair,
“we work not only to recruit women but
also to retain them as our members.”
The funding will thus encourage the
members to continue their participation in the chapter’s activities.
Besides providing financial support for members, Kean ACM-W also
supports and coordinates events that
are beneficial for others in computing. For example, in collaboration with
Kean University’s ACM student chapter, Kean ACM-W helped organize and
run HackKean 2017, the third edition
of the university’s annual Hackathon.
This 24-hour event helps hackers learn
new technologies and hone their skills
alongside seasoned mentors. The team
that won top prize created an app to help
patients deal with insomnia. In addition
to awards for three winning teams, two
honorable mentions were also included.
“Kean ACM-W got exposed for the first
time to what a hackathon is and to all
the planning an event of this magnitude
requires,” says Cabrera, who is looking
forward to attending the MLH Hackcon
in August 2017 ( https://hackcon.mlh.
io/), the Major League Hacking’s origi-
nal Hackathon organizers’ conference.
Cabera plans to learn from experienced
Hackathon organizers on how to im-
prove the next HackKean.
“We also plan to organize career
fairs, invite guest speakers, and con-
duct information sessions to help
our members achieve success in com-
puter science,” says Juan Jenny Li,
faculty advisor, commenting on the
chapter’s mentorship goals. One such
initiative, the “Outstanding Female
Computer Scientist Speaker Series,”
aims to bring in speakers from other
academic institutions, as well as in-
dustry, to advise aspiring young wom-
en in computer science. The opening
speaker will be Rebecca Wright, di-
rector of the Center for Discrete Math-
ematics and Theoretical Computer Sci-
ence (DIMACS) at Rutgers University.
More importantly, it is also working
toward creating a platform where female
CS/IT students can share ideas, experi-
ence, support, and network. Called the
Promoting women’s participation in CS.
at a Glance
School: Kean University
Chapter Name: Kean ACM-W
Location: Union and Hillside, NJ (USA)
Date Established: October 2016
Officers: Katherine Cabrera (chair);
Paoline Medina (vice chair); Carina
Belino (treasurer); Marina Nessim
(secretary); Kingberli Capellan (public
Faculty Advisor: Juan Jenny Li
Current Total Membership: 36
The officers of Kean University’s ACM-W chapter along with their faculty advisor.
The number of startups,
on average, launched in
India every day.