March is Women’s History Month, but why wait for one month out of the year to acknowledge and honor women when we can celebrate their achievements every day? This month and year-round, we celebrate pioneers like Grace Hopper, who helped discover the power in computers. We honor Ada Lovelace, who allowed us to see all of the possibilities that exist within those computers.
These amazing women and many like them led the way for emerging leaders in the computing industry. Today many women, both professional and entry-level, are making serious strides in our communities. Here are a few standout ladies who are creating change:
Joy Buolamwini uncovered a significant racial and gender bias in AI services provided by big-name companies. In response to her research, Joy founded the Algorithmic Justice League; a cultural movement focused on illuminating the social implications of artificial intelligence on society. For more on Joy’s efforts to diversify and create a more inclusive and ethical tech industry, visit her website https://www.poetofcode.com.
Cecilia Aragon is a professor at the University of Washington, an author, and an aerobatic pilot. Cecilia was the co-inventor of the treap and randomized search tree. She is also the co-founder of Latinas in Computing and a proud advocate for young women in STEM. For more on Cecilia, visit her website wwwceciliaaragonauthor.com.
Sandra Begay is an R&D researcher at Sandia National Laboratories and chair of the UNM Rainforest Innovations Board of Directors. Begay leads Sandia’s technical efforts to assist Native American tribes with their renewable energy developments. She created an internship to teach American Indian students about tribal renewable energy and continues to American Indian tribes and villages with renewable energy assistance.
Synge Tyson is an experienced professional with a background in legal work, government, health and rehabilitative care, and postsecondary education. Synge currently researches different ways to improve accessibility for people with disabilities, including accessible wireless emergency notifications, barrier-free designs, and improving meeting and conference access.
Dr. Ayanna Howard is currently a professor and chair for the School of Interactive Computing and holds a faculty position in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She founded and directed a healthcare robotics trainee initiative. Dr. Howard is also the founder of Zyrobotics that creates educational technology for children. To learn more about Zyrobotics, visit www.zumolearning.com.
Dr. Jeanine Cook is a principal member of the technical staff in Sandia National Laboratories. She serves as the leading researcher in High-Performance Computing, performance characterization and modeling, hardware accelerator technologies, and large-scale system monitoring and data analytics. In addition, she has focused on diversity issues in computer science throughout her career, focusing on engaging people with disabilities in computer science.
So much of the past influences how we think and function today. Without the strides of these women, and those who came before them, we wouldn’t have the leaders to inspire generations to come. We honor these women and the aspiring leaders of tomorrow.