CMU women prominent among Rising Stars 2019

Annual workshop boosts women in Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Byron Spice

Nov 11, 2019

Headshots of two women

Source: Carnegie Mellon University

CyLab's Pardis Emami Naeini (left) and Elahe Soltanaghaei (right) won the Research Pitch Competition at Rising Stars 2019. Women from CMU outnumbered those from every other institution at the event.

Women from Carnegie Mellon University outnumbered those from every other institution at Rising Stars 2019, an annual workshop for early-career women in computer science and electrical and computer engineering. Two women from CyLab also won two of the four prizes in the workshop’s Research Pitch Competition.

The intensive workshop, designed for women pursuing academic careers, was hosted this year by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Oct. 29 – Nov. 1. It included the largest class of participants to date, with 90 participants from almost 40 institutions represented. Twelve CMU women attended the workshop; the University of California, Berkeley, with nine participants, was the only other institution that came close to that total. Participants were selected from about 300 applicants

Pardis Emami Naeini, a Ph.D. student in the School of Computer Science’s Institute for Software Research and CyLab, and Elahe Soltanaghaei, a post-doctoral researcher who joined CyLab last month, were winners of the Research Pitch Competition. They and the other two winners will be invited back to Illinois to present their talks. Emami Naeini’s talk was “Privacy and Security Label for IoT Devices” and Soltanaghaei discussed “Sensing the Physical World Using Pervasive Wireless Infrastructure.”

Rising Stars was launched at MIT in 2012 and has been hosted at different campuses each year since, including CMU. This year’s workshop included opportunities for one-on-one mentoring and feedback on the first eight minutes of each participant’s job talks.

In addition to Emami Naeini and Soltanaghaei, the CMU contingent included Forough Arabshahi, a post-doctoral associate in the Machine Learning Department (MLD); Naama Ben-David, a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department; Maria De-Arteaga, a Ph.D. student in MLD and the Heinz College; Hana Habib, a Ph.D. student in the Institute for Software Research and CyLab, and Guyue Liu, a post-doctoral researcher in CyLab.

Other members of the contingent were Soo-Jin Moon, a Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and CyLab; Swabha Swayamdipta, a recent Ph.D. graduate of the Language Technologies Institute and now a post-doctoral researcher at the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence; Hsia-Yu Tung, a Ph.D. student in MLD; Xu Wang, a Ph.D. student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Yang Yang, a Ph.D. student in MLD and the Computational Biology Department.

This program is open to all individuals, regardless of gender, race, or national origin.