Summit on Women and IT in Portland

Recently, I participated in the fascinating National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) annual Summit on Women and IT, in Portland, Oregon. A year ago, I wrote a blog entry called Women in IT: Think Globally, Act Locally about a similar NCWIT event. I learn so much and meet such interesting people through NCWIT!

This year, I lead a table discussion on “Visibility for Women as Great Technical Thinkers” and I was also part of a panel called “Evaluating What We Do: Challenges and Solutions”. For the panel, I presented data, analysis, and methods from my 2009 Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009 Technical Report. Our panel moderator was Dr. Wendy DuBow (NCWIT Research Scientist). The other panelists were Tricia Berry (Director of both the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) and the Texas Girls Collaborative Project (TxGCP) at The University of Texas at Austin), and Dr. Debra Richardson (Dean of Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Science, University of California at Irvine).

Because of another eruption of Iceland’s volcano, a speaker from Scotland could not attend. The last-minute replacement speaker was Brian Nosek Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Virginia and Project Implicit (a collaboration of the University of Virginia, Harvard University, and the University of Washington). Dr. Nosek gave an impressive and surprising presentation on “Mind Bugs – the Ordinary Origins of Bias”. Other presentations which were memorable included a panel on Women in Open Source and a presentation on the University of Michigan’s “Approach to Increasing Faculty Diversity”.

I was pleased to be able to see more of Portland. (Yes, it rained every day.) I enjoyed riding their excellent public transit system and saw Portlandia at last. I first heard about this huge copper statue during a lecture by Tom Wolfe in 1980. I also saw the umbrella man (“Allow Me” sculpture), Powell’s City of Books, and a variety of moose heads (one of which had its own flying squirrel companion).

On a street near Powell’s,  there was a delightfully peculiar set of objects: a concrete chair painted bright pink next to a tiny plastic horse carefully tied with a steel cable to an iron ring set into the street curb.  The unexplained arrangement somehow seemed a very-Portland.

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Images Copyright 2010 Katy Dickinson

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