It has been a wonderful experience attending the ArabWIC 5th Annual International conference on Arab Women in Computing at the American University of Beirut (AUB) on August 10 to 12th, 2017. The Arab Women In Computing Association (ArabWIC) mission is to support, inspire, retain, encourage collaboration among, increase visibility of and help elevate the status of Arab women in computing from the various computing/technology sectors(academia, industry and entrepreneurship), and allow them to achieve their career goals. The group was founded by Sana Odeh, a Clinical Professor at the Computer Science Department, New York University, and Kaoutar El Maghraoui, a Research Scientist at IBM.
The conference schedule had inspiring talks and events which included keynote speakers, panels, technical research talks and workshops, students research posters, applied technology workshops and lightning talks, career, mentoring and coaching workshops, hackathon, and career and technology fair. There were 500 attendees from across the globe. My participation involved four different roles:
1. First, I assisted in the organizing committee for the conference. I served as a member at research committee where I helped to review papers and poster submission. Also, I worked on social media strategies for the event and virtual community building.
2. Second, I participated at a panel discussion on “women in computing/technology in Academia and Industry, challenges and opportunities” where I shared my experience as a graduate student and researcher in an applied computing field.
3. I have also participated in a Design Thinking Workshop organized by the IBM team (Joud Odeh & Susan Malaika). The process of Design Thinking is a client-centric approach to problem solving that aims to simply and humanize with the use of 5 steps: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. This workshop aimed to design thinking for ArabWIC chapters. The question we solved was how to improve ArabWIC members experience in Saudi Arabia and more particularly in technical events and hackathons.
4. At the end of the conference, I have presented an overview of our ArabWIC Saudi Chapter activities and achievements for the last two years. Here is the slides of the presentation. In the annual awards ceremony, our chapter was recognized as the best chartered ArabWIC Chapter for 2017.🏆 It is a tremendous honor to receive the most best chartered ArabWIC Chapter !!!!!