Kharkiv ACM-W Chapter – Science and Technology Empower Women

This month Oleksandra Yeremenko,  a professor of V.V. Popovskyy Department of Infocommunication Engineering at Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics, Ukraine, shares with us their story of starting the Kharkiv Information & Communication Technologies ACM-W Chapter. 

I am Oleksandra Yeremenko, a professor of V.V. Popovskyy Department of Info-communication Engineering at Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics, Ukraine. It is such a great pleasure to share a story with you about starting the Kharkiv Information & Communication Technologies ACM-W Chapter (Kharkiv ICT ACM-W Chapter) (Pic. 1).

Pic. 1 Kharkiv ICT ACM-W Chapter

Despite the specific name of the chapter, our main goal is to unite girls and women from very different technical fields. Nowadays, regardless of our fields, we are all connected by computing technology and its widespread use. Each one of our members has something special, their own superpower. For example, we have girls who are extremely skilled in modern programming languages, some others in using artificial intelligence methods and data analysis (Pic. 1 and 2). However, we also see that expertise in communication technologies, indispensable in modern times, is becoming even more important during the pandemic. As we follow the rules of safety and isolation during the pandemic, we rely more on communications engineers, who must ensure reliable communications and interaction of all critical services, and be always ready.

Pic. 2 Kharkiv chapter bring together women from different technical backgrounds.

I am happy that within the Kharkiv chapter, we have a universal platform for communication and collaboration that will help consolidate our efforts and find the opportunity to involve young girls in professional and research activities. We all know how difficult it is sometimes to find the right approach to inspire a pupil or student, but at the same time, it is really fulfilling to see the twinkle in their eyes with curiosity, and fascination. On the other hand, it is also difficult to bring a real scientist to light, as people are extremely busy and sometimes, completely immersed in their work or creative process. Thus, we see an urgent need in combining youth and experience to understand each other and lend a helping hand when needed.

The youngest member of our chapter is only 15 years old and studies software engineering.  I have known her first as the only girl member of the First Lego League robotics team. I once had the opportunity to help her team as a volunteer. Frankly, it was a wonderful and unforgettable experience! Her contribution and perseverance in achieving high results in the team were invaluable.  She was successful in everything – in design, programming, and other activities. It is very cool that we can find a continuation of all that together in the ACM-W chapter.

The ACM-W community allows us to break down the boundaries and destroy the myths and stereotypes that exist in society about women in science and technology. In this context, I cannot help but mention the womENcourage, which for me is like a breath of fresh air. My deepest gratitude to ACM-W Europe for initiating such a global and large-scale conference. It is a great opportunity for networking and disseminating knowledge and results. It creates such a warm atmosphere, which gives hope for a bright future even in these times. First and foremost, only together, we can do everything and even more!

To infinity and beyond!

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