Women of science, of technology, prepare to be empowered!

I want to be a woman….studying science….at Indiana University….over the next week. If you already meet those prerequisites then prepare to be empowered.techie women muscles

IU Bloomington’s Center of Excellence for Women in Information Technology gets things started with this weekend’s Techie Women Have More conference. Poster battle royale gets underway first, beginning at 2 p.m. Friday at Union Street Center Auditorium and ending at 4:30 p.m. after all votes in the People’s Choice Award contest are counted. It’s the only event of the day open to non-registered folks and casting a ballot gets you a chance at the schwag: an iPad Mini!

The highlight of the evening for registrants is expected to be the dinner keynote from Melissa Gregg, director of Intel’s Science & Technology Center for Social Computing (ISTC-Social). More on this in just a bit as Indiana University has a pretty impressive presence on the ISTC-Social personnel roster, while also serving as a “spoke,” or partner, with the center’s hub at University of California, Irvine.

The Techie Women event runs through Saturday at Union Street Center, offering breakout sessions and flash talks until the event wraps-up for a closing session and presentation of prizes at 4:10 p.m. The cost for student attendees is $20, and online pre-registration will continue through Wednesday. On-site registration will be available, space permitting, at the Indiana Memorial Union Tudor Room from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Friday and from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Saturday at Union Street Center, 445 N. Union St.

Sunday is a day off from intellectual inspiration – refuel – but on Monday award-winning Harvard microbiologist Rachel J. Dutton ties together her passion for microbial ecosystems, most especially the foul-smelling cheesy ones, with some motivational speaking for women in science via IU Biology’s Joan Wood Lecture Series. Think science that ferments and foments, and it happens at 4 p.m. Monday in Myers Hall 130. She’ll speak again to undergraduate science majors attending a microbiology seminar Tuesday afternoon, and the word is she’ll don a fromager’s apron and dole out more than a few metabolically manipulated taste treats.

Harvard postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Wolfe and his mentor, microbiologist Rachel J. Dutton. (Boston Globe)

Harvard postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Wolfe and his mentor, microbiologist Rachel J. Dutton. (Boston Globe)

Gregg’s appearance Friday night is an opportunity to highlight the strong relationship that Intel and IU have had. In 2005 Intel bestowed upon IU its honorary title of “Most Unwired Campus” in the country based on wireless computing access on the Bloomington campus, a fine and deserving gesture. But the “money-where-your-mouth-is” event came in 2012 when three School of Informatics and Computing professors – Jeffrey Bardzell, Shaowen Bardzell and Erik A. Stoltermanreceived $1.85 million from Intel to establish IU’s own ISTC-Social in coordination with the UC Irvine center where Gregg is based.

Since that time IU has continued to add personnel to the roster of ISTC-Social, which now numbers seven: the Bardzells, Stolterman, Gabriele Ferri, Shad Gross, Shannon Schenck Grimme and Austin Toombs, and last fall Intel Perceptual Computing Lab director Rajiv Mongia and UX Studio designer-developer Robert Cooksey led a workshop for Shaowen Bardzell’s Advanced Prototyping class, where they discussed, among other things, natural user interaction projects – like embedding 3D cameras in tech devices that, for example, would allow your PC, your smart phone, etc., to monitor your heart rate and other personal biometrics ala wireless transmission.

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