The ACM Ankara Celebration of Women in Computing, organized by BiLWiC (Bilkent Women in Computing), was held at MEB Şura Hall on March 11 and 12.
This was the first-ever Celebration of Women in Computing in Turkey. What makes that such a big deal? Well, ACM (the Association for Computing Machinery) is one of the largest organizations in the world in the field of computer science studies, and their Celebration event has been held all over the world for more than 25 years. ACM and ACM-W, ACM’s branch for Women in Computing, have student chapters in many countries. But BiLWiC is the only ACM-W student chapter in Turkey, and thus the only group that could organize an official Celebration event here.
To prepare for the Ankara Celebration, BiLWiC members compiled a list of over 50 women well known in the computer science field in Turkey. They subsequently narrowed the list down to 9 very successful individuals active in different sectors of computing, and invited them to speak at the country’s inaugural Celebration of Women in Computing.
The speakers were CTE instructor Reyyan Ayfer (chair, ACM-W Europe), Aslı Arbel (corporate communications manager, Microsoft Turkey), Ayşe Tartan Özocak (technical account manager, Microsoft Turkey), Nurcan Özyazıcı Sunay (Ankara manager, Turkey Computing Association), Sezen Sungur Saral (founding partner, reeder), Gülşah Yılmaz (senior analytical consultant, Google), Berrak Uyar Yenal (Commercial and Corporate Credits Unit manager, Intertech), Elis Yılmaz (founding partner, stajim.net) and Ceren Ünal (founder and president, Internet Society Turkey).
The organizers from BiLWiC expressed their satisfaction with the success of the celebration, voicing their gratitude to the speakers and also to the sponsors of the event – main sponsors Microsoft and ACM, media sponsors stajim.net, webTekno and Radyo Bilkent, and supporting sponsor Tepe Betopan – as well as to all those who attended.
BiLWic members also signaled their intent to make the Celebration of Women in Computing an annual event in Ankara, saying, “If you missed our celebration or want to experience it again, we really hope to see you next year!”