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Conference Celebrates Women in Computing

Women in Computing 2081
The Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences celebrated accomplishments of women in computing with a conference March 15 and 16.

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ACM-W’s Celebration of Carolinas Women in Computing provides college and graduate level students with an affordable opportunity to participate in a regional conference and connect with other women of the field. These conferences provide networking between professional women and students, build community and break down any feelings of isolation. ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) hopes to reach as many women as possible through a network of these small regional conferences. Interested high school students are also invited to attend as they look to begin their academic path.

CWIC24 group

The conference featured speakers from industry and education, presentations of students from across the Carolinas, workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities.

The conference began with keynote speaker Dr. Manuel A. Pérez Quiñones, professor of Software and Information Systems from UNC Charlotte. Dr. Pérez led a talk on the case for bilingual technology, exploring limitations presented by using only one language at a time and how it affects usability of bilingual users.

That evening, student research was presented through an interactive poster session before conference attendees left for a bit of rest before returning the next morning. The posters were judged by a panel of academic and industry professionals.

  1. Maria Duran and Ixchel Peralta-Martinez  – Implementing Human Feedback in Reinforcement Learning for ClaraNP: A Hallucination-Mitigated AI Interface Tailored for Nursing Education
  2. Daisy Clavijo Ramirez – Parking Lot Vehicle Recognition and Counting: Leveraging Drones and Artificial Intelligence
  3. Elif Sahin – BlueAI: Designing Artificial Intelligence for Environment Science and Climate Change Learning Experiences for K12 Students
  4. Megdalia Bromhal – Anti-Blackbeard AI: An Analysis of the AI Defending Cargo Ships Against Modern Maritime Pirates
  5.  Mina Gachloo – Use Machine learning models to predict Dissolved Oxygen in the Neuse River Estuary 
  6. Nisa Soltani – Stress and Mental Workload Factors in Human-Robot Collaboration: Investigating Speed, Robot Density, and Robot Orientation Effects


Saturday morning, keynote speaker Amanda Buchanan, a senior cyber engineer with Raytheon Technologies, gave her perspectives on cybersecurity in the aviation industry, particularly with older systems still in use that were established before securing them from outside hacking was considered.

Dr. Paige Meeker, Professor of Coding and App Development at Anderson University’s College of Arts and Sciences, chaired the conference. She has been a part of these regional conferences since their first appearance in South Carolina in 2010. As a part of the conference, she led a workshop devoted to modeling text in Blender. Participants got hands-on experience on their own laptops using the popular design application.

In a workshop titled “Down and Dirty Podcasting,” Bobby Rettew, media communications professor in the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences and owner of Rettew Media, led an interactive experience covering the basics of podcasting. Participants explored how they could take their podcast idea and develop a brand identity, plan how they would do their show and then finally record and publish their first episode. 

The conference also included student lightening talk presentations:

  1. Heidi Dillow – The Creative Analysis Woven into Code
  2. Derek Williams – Tactic to Improve Women’s Engagement with Computing 
  3. April Villeda Roblero – Conversational AI assistant for UNCW (CAI) 
  4. Megdalia Bromhal – Anti-Blackbeard AI


Another highlight of the conference was engaging panel discussions. 

Dr. Mia Wang, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the College of Charleston, led a panel session titled “How I am Where I am – Stories of Our Life Leading to and Becoming a  Professional.” Panelists were Amanda Buchanan, Dr. Elicia Frelix and Dr. Paige Meeker.

Leslie Wright led a panel discussion on skills and qualities employers look for in recent college graduates.” Panelists were Robyn Sanderson, Anderson University associate vice president for student engagement; Dr. Manuel A. Pérez Quiñones; Lee E. Meeker of Raytheon/Codex; and Sarah Curnow, co-founder & CEO of Credo Software.

Dr. Meeker said of the conference, “This wonderful event helps bring together women and minorities from across North and South Carolina to meet, network and realize that they are not alone in the world of Computer Science. It is an honor and a privilege to bring this conference to Anderson University and to serve the students in this way.”

In addition to Anderson University students, according to Dr. Meeker, were students from the College of Charleston, UNC Wilmington, USC Aiken and Furman, as well as professors from these schools, UNC Charlotte and Winthrop University with professionals in the field attending from the U.S. Department of State, Raytheon/Codex and Credo Software. The conference was sponsored by Anderson University, along with UNCW, ACM-W, Raytheon/Codex, and the U.S. Department of State.

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