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Microsoft fellowship program supports women in computing

July 15, 2016 | By Microsoft blog editor

By Susan Dumais, Distinguished Scientist, Microsoft Research

Women's Fellowship Award Recipients

2016 Microsoft Research Women’s Fellowship recipients in order from left to right: Rui Yang, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Lucia Marisol Villacres Falconi, Georgia Institute of Technology; Jeevana Priya Inala, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Avanti Shrikumar, Stanford University; Helga Gudmundsdottir, University of Washington; Ellen Vitercik, Carnegie Mellon University; Also pictured: Jeannette M. Wing, Microsoft Research; Not pictured: Alane Suhr, Cornell University; Erin Grant, University of California Berkeley; KatieAnna Wolf, Princeton University; Natacha Crooks, University of Texas at Austin (Photography by Jake Knapp)

Women are woefully under-represented in computing-related fields. Despite earning more than half of all baccalaureate degrees throughout North America, women make up fewer than 20 percent of graduates in computer and information sciences, according to the latest figures from the Taulbee Survey.

At Microsoft Research, we’re committed to helping address this imbalance through the Microsoft Research Women’s Fellowship Program. The fellowships directly support female computer scientists as they pursue graduate studies, providing US$20,000 for tuition and conference travel. In addition, the program connects recipients with a Microsoft mentor and researchers in their area of study, and facilitates recipients to interact with each other in a collaborative peer community. The financial support and mentorship provided by the fellowship will enable promising women to excel in their studies and become leaders in the field of computer science.

We are delighted to announce the recipients of the 2016 Microsoft Research Women’s Fellowship. Their research seeks to improve our understanding of a wide range of important topics in computer science including distributed systems and algorithms, artificial intelligence, computational learning theory, human-computer interaction, natural language processing, computational biology, and program synthesis.  The recipients are:

  • Alane Suhr, Cornell University
  • Avanti Shrikumar, Stanford University
  • Ellen Vitercik, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Erin Grant, University of California Berkeley
  • Helga Gudmundsdottir, University of Washington
  • Jeevana Priya Inala, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • KatieAnna Wolf, Princeton University
  • Lucia Marisol Villacres Falconi, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Natacha Crooks, University of Texas at Austin
  • Rui Yang, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Microsoft Research is also proud to support a number of other diversity-related initiatives. The NCWIT Academic Alliance Seed Fund helps U.S. academic institutions develop and implement initiatives for recruiting and retaining women in computer science and information technology (providing up to $10,000 per project).  Our DigiGirlz YouthSpark program is designed to inspire middle- and high-school girls to considered opportunities in computing.  We also support organizations like the Anita Borg Institute, helping them build on the momentum of inspirational, high-impact events such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

Congratulations to the 2016 Microsoft Research Women’s Fellowship recipients! We look forward to exciting new research and leadership.

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