First Women’s Workshop on Communications and Signal Processing
WICE is proud to be a sponsor and organizer of the First Women’s Workshop on Communications and Signal Processing, which was held at the Banff International Research Station (BIRS) in July 2012. Organized around the two-day format, the workshop had two categories of participants: 8 women with more established careers who served as speakers and 19 women just beginning their academic careers. Several prominent researchers were asked to speak at the workshop and the selected speakers provided a comprehensive range of topics on communications and signal processing. The junior applicants provided a two-page abstract of their poster, a curriculum vita and the names of two references. The selected junior participants ranged in experience from near completion of their Ph.D. to a few years into a position as an assistant professor. Furthermore, we had one participant each from India, the United Kingdom, Spain, Tunisia and Colombia; the remaining were from Canada and the U.S.
This first workshop was in many measures a success and provided a unique opportunity to all participants. While there are many workshops devoted to women in engineering, they mainly focus on mechanics of being a woman in engineering, i.e., addressing gender dierences, work-life balance, children, etc. Until this past July, there were no stand-alone workshops in the disciplines of communications and signal processing that were technical in nature and provided women the opportunity to bond outside the technical discussions. The First Women’s Workshop on Communications and Signal Processing provided exactly this venue. As a result of attending the event, four of the junior participants joined the IEEE Communication Society; and one senior and two junior attendees are now part of the organizing team for the proposed Second Women’s Workshop on Communications and Signal Processing. As such, the workshop’s immediate outcomes included 1) increasing the number of women members in the Communication Society; and 2) initiating junior members into leadership roles within the society. In addition, several participants identified paths for future collaborative research; and both senior and junior attendees provided strongly positive feedback about both the technical and non-technical discussions enabled by the workshop.