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CRA-W Sessions


As part of the GHC Career Track, the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) offers workshops and other sessions for graduate students, early professionals and mid-career/senior academics. They are open to all attendees and do not require separate registration.

If you are an undergraduate, check out the Student Opportunity Lab, also hosted by CRA-W, to learn about graduate school and the application process.

Graduate Student Workshops

Building Self-Confidence
October 14 | 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.


  • Cecilia Aragon, University of Washington
  • Patty Lopez, Intel Corporation

Graduate students often face confidence crises. This session will cover how to recover from underperforming in a course, how to address feeling as if you don’t know as much as your peers and what to do if you do not pass you Ph.D. candidacy exams on your first try. Persistence is needed in graduate school and this discussion will focus on the issues (and rewards) to help you reach your milestone.

Presentation and Other Verbal Communication Skills
October 14 | 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.


  • Kathryn McKinley, Microsoft Research
  • Susan Rodger, Duke University

Improve your communication skills! This session gives tips on speaking techniques and presentation structure so you can communicate better, whether it’s at a formal presentation, a small group discussion or a one-on-one meeting. You’ll leave knowing how to clearly explain your ideas and create engaging presentations.

Finding a Research Topic
October 14 | 2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m.


  • Mary Lou Soffa, University of Virginia
  • Valerie Taylor, Texas A&M

How should I pick a research topic for my dissertation? How do I choose a topic if I have several ideas? What should I look for in a topic/advisor? Should my career plans influence my choice? If you are struggling with any of these questions, this session can help! Discussion will focus on how to find a research topic and how to set reasonable goals and milestones so you can finish successfully.

Early Career Workshops

The Tenure Process
October 14 | 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.


  • Joan Francioni, Winona State University
  • Julia Hirschberg, Columbia University

Want tenure, but unsure about the process? This session will explain the overall process and cover the role of research, teaching, service, departmental expectations, annual reviews and letter writers in that process. It will also cover the importance of local culture, networking and strategic collaborations, as integrating yourself into the school will enhance your impact and strengthen your case. You’ll also receive tips on what to do if things don’t go as planned.

Advising/Supervising Students
October 14 | 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Lori Pollock, University of Delaware
  • Maria Gini, University of Minnesota

Join your fellow faculty members to discuss successful strategies for advising and supervising graduate students in research, including how to effectively communicate with your student, create a productive environment, guide professional development and assist in defining and reaching research goals. The session will also address helping students struggling with lack of confidence or students expressing over-confidence. While most of the session will focus on advising graduate students, it will also touch on supervising undergraduates.

Effective Leadership
October 14 | 2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m.


  • Carla Brodley, Northeastern University
  • Kathleen Fisher, Tufts University

What is leadership? How can I become a leader? Why is it important? How can I lead effectively? This workshop will answer those questions by offering strategies for building a long-term leadership role in your organization including communicating clearly, developing consensus, delegating and recognizing others. This workshop is relevant to technical women in both academia and industry roles.

Leadership Workshops

Gaining Recognition
October 14 | 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.


  • Mary Jane Irwin, Pennsylvania State University
  • Deb Agrawal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Gaining recognition and a good reputation will advance your career. This session will discuss the different recognition opportunities for researchers (academia, national lab or industry) and strategies for gaining recognition both within and outside your organization.

Mid-Career/Senior Faculty Mentoring
October 14 | 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.

  • Nancy Amato, Texas A&M
  • Dilma Da Silva, Texas A&M

Join us for small table discussions with other mid-career/senior academic mentors. Mentors will be available to discuss several pre-planned topics such as building collaborations, finding advocates/mentors and leading new initiatives. If attendees express interest in other topics, we will form tables for those topics as well. All attendees are invited to a local restaurant afterwards for lunch and more discussion.

What’s Next? Career Success Post-Tenure
October 14 2:15 p.m.-3:15 p.m.


  • Fran Berman, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Jan Cuny, National Science Foundation

Meet with other mid-career/senior academics to discuss next steps for your career. What are the opportunities for faculty post-tenure? How can you prepare? Session speakers and participants will discuss how to think about the future and take advantage of new opportunities for growth.

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