Women Programmers' Interviews

What is this?

An initiative for CERN and Fermilab (FNAL) women software engineers to briefly describe, in short online interviews, the joy of being a programmer and inspire young girls to follow studies in this field.

This call for volunteer women professionals in computer programming, in preparation for the next year UN celebration of "Women in Science Day" on 2018/02/11, aims at promoting this profession and attracting the interest of the younger generation. We would like to discuss the advantage of this profession: creativity, challenges, gratification, constant learning of new things and good salary.

Reasons: The number of women in computing has decreased drastically since the early 1980ies, which is not the case for other scientific fields. Women somehow are not aware of this profession's advantages because this discipline is not promoted enough in high schools and colleges. This phenomenon also creates a socially unbalanced environment at work. We also encourage speaking up about the challenges and strains met daily.

This project is based on an original idea by Tanya Levshina, IT manager at FNAL, after discussions with colleagues at CERN, following the 2018/02/11 UN Day interventions at schools in Geneva and the , above mentioned movie and CHEP 2016 presentation about a gender gap in the HEP community.

Actual End Product

The CERN Communications' group has published several paraphernalia for the #WomenInScience week! Examples:

What is the end product?

A video assembling extracts of the interviews of 5 women programmers from each laboratory (CERN and FNAL). Total video duration: 10' mins maximum, i.e. 5' from each lab, i.e. 1' per person.

There should be a wrapping clip of 5-10 second introduction to attract audience attention. It may contain a cover slide explaining what this is about, showing the name of the video series. The media/studio experts will advise us on attractive ways to do this, also on whether to include music. More such very short videos can follow throughout the year(s), with always the same opening and same closing.

FNAL and CERN will publish in social media, such interviews periodically. Filming in the CERN/FNAL studio is easier than move the camera to the person's office. The lab logo will appear on the video clip. We will publish a dedicated hashtag e.g. #womencoding so that other people can join. CERN twitter account has 1M followers, so we are likely to have a large audience.

Include a quote in every interview - everyone's highlight, something that will encourage people to click on the video.

Redo later to keep info fresh, with the same wrapping - examples in: https://twitter.com/CERN/status/839449405212229632

Preparation steps

  1. Declare your interest to the CERN e-group women-programmers-interviews.
  2. Make a note of what you wish to convey. Advice on speakers' preparation here.
  3. The Communications teams will select 5 women per lab. They should be PROGRAMMERS of various ages. They can speak for 3-5 minutes and the video team will edit to extract the substantial 1 minute. This will maintain spontaneity and a good pace!

Interview Questions

  1. Introduction (who you are, where you come from, how did you get here)
  2. Did your family encourage you?
  3. What was your favorite subject in school/ college
  4. Was computing your first choice or you decided that you would like to do it later in your career?
  5. Which challenges did you meet in your work?
  6. What makes you love your job and stay in the profession?
  7. Why would you recommend this profession to other people?

Advice on effective public speaking: https://www.successtrategies.com/oprah-winfreys-speech-analysis

Events during the planning period

Most recent first:
  • 2018-02-12: Project complete. See The Actual End Product section above.
  • 2018-02-06: CERN Article on the end product
  • 2018-01-29: Jacques F. made the CERN videos (filming and edit). Comments integrated. Thanks are due to Jacques and the volunteers!
  • 2018-01-25: Jim S. (FNAL) recorded and coordinated common views with Jacques F. (CERN) via skype.
  • 2018-01-24: CERN recording date.
  • 2018-01-11: Multiple exchanges Jim (FNAL), Kate, Jacques, Melissa, Maria. Filming at CERN will take place during the period of January 23-25. Candidates are:
    • Sofia Vallecorsa (Italy) – EP-SFT (CERN openlab and GeantV)
    • Syma Baymani (Sweden & Iran) – IT-CF (software engineer and computer hardware engineer)
    • Evangelia Gousiou (Greece) - BE-CO-HT (electronics engineer /https://www.huffingtonpost.com/alison-dorantesgarcia/introducing-cerns-evangel_b_5496395.html)
  • 2018-01-08: Maria D. & Melissa G. discuss the candidates' list. Maria D. emailed status info to all (CERN & FNAL).
  • 2018-01-04: Maria D. & Tanya L. skype on status to reply to J.Shultz's email about candidates. CERN is closed.
  • 2018-01-02: Ana G. replies 'yes' to Kate. CERN is closed.
  • 2018-12-22: Kate K. sends this Word document that summarises this twiki and proposes steps for filming.
  • 2017-12-14: Email from Ioanna Koutava, CERN Diversity Office "_I am contacting you regarding the Women Programmers Interviews, which both Genevieve and myself found was a great initiative. We would like to endorse this by communicating it to the Diversity (and Inclusion) Groups of the Collaborations we are in contact with. We could circulate the news among the groups ourselves; we believe this could help enrich the pool of participants for the interview._" Maria D. replied immediately and positively.
  • 2017-12-08: CERN IT Management Meeting (ITMM) minutes published containing text: In preparation for the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Maria Dimou from the CERN IT department (who wrote the Twiki page below), together with Tanya Levishna from Fermilab (who did the proposal), is seeking IT women programmers wishing to share their enthusiasm about their job satisfaction in a very short interview. All details are in https://twiki.cern.ch/Edutech/WomenProgrammersInterviews, including the interview questions. Replies should be sent to women-programmers-interviews@cernNOSPAMPLEASE.ch a.s.a.p.
  • 2017-11-20 & 30: M.Dimou emailed the women programmers in CERN/IT/CDA
  • 2017-11-23 wit-sc sent reminder to wit-matters e-group members.
  • 2017-11-20 Maria D. suggests a reminder to wit-matters.
  • 2017-11-06 Maria D. asks f2f Jacques F. when the filming should be done, at the latest. The answer is around 2018/01/15.
  • 2017-11-01 Several email exchanges Maria D. and Tanya L. about CERN-FNAL volunteer status. 3-4 FNAL members are found.
  • 2017-10-30 Maria D. informed Ana G. in email about the opening of the poll.
  • 2017-10-16 WIT-SC emailed wit-matters with this twiki and the poll for volunteers
  • 2017-10-05 Maria D. emailed Ana G. with the summary of their discussion and also the WIT-matters-SC (copy Melissa G. and IT DHO) to poll for CERN volunteers.
  • 2017-10-04 Discussion Maria D. - Ana Godinho confirming FNAL is ready to go ahead.
  • 2017-09-26 Brief discussion Melissa G. - Maria D. confirming CERN Communications' team (Emma Sanders, Kate Kahle) are getting ready.
  • 2017-06-23 FNAL Communications team (Jim Shultz, with copies to Reidar E Hahn, Karen J. Seifrid, Katie Yurkewicz) visiting CERN said they are busy with the 50 years of FNAL but they shall film in November 2017.
  • 2017-05-11 Maria D. emails Ana G., Emma S., Kate K. with Melissa in Cc with this twiki making sure everyone is informed.
  • 2017-04-03 Maria D. informed in email (scroll down to the Comments field of this twiki) all the IT dept. and IR directorate management and experts involved on this initiative, asking for formal approval.
  • 2017-03-23 Meeting kick-off (Maria D., Melissa G., Tanya L.) meeting.


Assembled after a first email by Maria Dimou to the wit-matters at cern e-group in February 2017:

Put your comments in this field. Thanks! -- Maria Dimou - 2017-02-23

Could we involve male allies in some way? Perhaps as some of the interviewers?

-- Hannah Margaret Short - 2017-02-24

My position in every activity is cross-gender, cross-cultural, cross-discipline. We discussed this point with Tanya, long in email before forming this proposal. She sees a priority in inspiring women to follow a career in computing by showing role models. I definitely support the idea of men interviewers.

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-02-24

-- Tanya Levshina - 2017-02-24

We have a long discussion with Maria. I think we could benefit by narrowing the topic and explore it in depth. If we just want to talk about science and work environment at CERN and Fermilab it should be a different movie. I have nothing against male interviewers but I don't understand why it matters.

-- Tanya Levshina - 2017-02-24

Some interesting stats: http://fortune.com/2015/03/26/report-the-number-of-women-entering-computing-took-a-nosedive/

-- Tanya Levshina - 2017-02-26

Thank you very much for these contributions! Can you, all, give your opinion in this 'Comments' area about my questions in section "Clarifications needed" above? I understand the purpose is to encourage young LADIES to choose a career in computing. This doesn't automatically answer the question on the gender of the interviewers.

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-02-27

We need to decide what qualifications an interviewer needs. In my opinion the gender is irrelevant.

-- Tanya Levshina - 2017-02-28

If people put here "interviewers' qualifications" and "candidate women to be interviewed" I am happy to make a list in this twiki. Also, remember to comment on the list of questions. We should prepare well to reduce rehearsal time.

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-03-14

I had a long discussion with Katie Yurkewicz (Fermilab Assistant Director for Communication) and Marcia Teckenbrock (Computing Division Communication). They are really enthusiastic about the project but pointed we have a lot of work to do before we could start making the video. Good news that they are interested in doing and ready to collaborate with CERN. Some outcome of the meeting: 1. Define audience 2. Understand what actions/thoughts you want your audience to have after they watch the video 3. Max recommended length of the movie is 5 min from each site (10 min is pushing it - requires too much work) 4. We could have "installments" - release X (<3) min video every month but it could too much load on video team 5. If our message to attract young women to this profession we should not have male as "leading" interviewer 6. It doesn't make sense to ask the same questions, so we don't really need an interviewer. We need some people who discuss the purpose of the video and introduce the topics for it. 7. When we are ready, we should have a meeting with CERN & Fermilab video teams

-- Tanya Levshina - 2017-03-14

OK by Tanya on this new content of the twiki: Hi Maria, You have done all modifications to twiki! Thank you! I think it is ready to be discussed with media office. I am sending it to Katie and will try to meet with her on Tuesday. If she agrees and CERN's team is also on board we should start looking for interviewes.

Thank you both, Tanya

On Mar 25, 2017, at 7:29 PM, Maria Dimou <maria.dimou@cern.ch> wrote:

> Dear Ladies, > > https://indico.cern.ch/event/624241/ now contains the meeting notes > > and the status of the twiki before our meeting as attachments > > I changed https://twiki.cern.ch/Edutech/WomenProgrammersInterviews to reflect what we discussed. > > Please give me comments until Wednesday included. > > Yours > > Maria

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-03-28

Tanya got enthusiastic OK from Katie Yurkewicz. Katie will talk to the FNAL Comms team and get back to us on the 1st week of April 2017 at the latest.

Forwarded Message -------- Subject: Fw: Women Programmers Initiative Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2017 14:40:50 +0000 From: Tanya Levshina <tlevshin@fnal.gov> To: maria.dimou@cernNOSPAMPLEASE.ch <maria.dimou@cern.ch>, Melissa Gaillard <melissa.gaillard@cern.ch>

Dear Maria and Melissa,

Thank you, both! Let me know when you are ready to invite CERN video team to meet with Fermilab team.


From: Katie Yurkewicz Sent: Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:38 AM To: Tanya Levshina Cc: Marcia A Teckenbrock Subject: Re: Women Programmers Initiative

Thank you Tanya! Excellent proposal, it is clear that your team has done a lot of work and discussion! I will bring it to the Fermilab video team and we will get back to you by the end of next week. I suspect the next step will be to get the two labs’ video teams together to discuss.


-- Maria Dimou - 2017-03-30

Anna Cook posted: CERN HR produced a few computing engineering videos last year in the context of CERNJobs and several CERN women were interviewed See: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLiQYSvB31qUEVV5dRj9Iidw8M1pHJd5_0

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-03-30

I linked the above and other such info from https://twiki.cern.ch/Edutech/WomenInScience When rehearsing, we should check those videos to see what worked best.

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-03-30

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-06-22

The appended was sent by Maria Dimou in April 2017 to CERN IT DHO, IT-CDA management, everyone in the CERN Communications' team, the WIT-SC, with copies to Melissa Gaillard:

Forwarded Message

Subject: Women programmers' interviews - a CERN contribution to the field

Date: Mon, 3 Apr 2017 11:24:36 +0200

... with this message, I am kindly asking for your approval on the proposal to record a very short interview of 5 women programmers from CERN in the framework of a CERN-FNAL collaboration. The end-product will be 1' per person. The objective is to have it ready for the 'women in science day' of 11 Feb. 2018. I recorded all the details and comments in:

https://twiki.cern.ch/Edutech/WomenProgrammersInterviews Advantages: Cross-directorates and cross-laboratory collaboration. Educational outreach in a field weakly populated by women.

The initiator is T.Levshina (FNAL) to whom I spoke about our interventions in the local schools for this year's 11 Feb. Mélissa gave us valuable advice. My direct management is aware from the beginning and in agreement. WIT-sc is ready to advise on people to interview. Charlotte found this a great idea and waits for details, which I'll send her, once I get your reply.

The recording will be done by the communications' team. I am happy to do the coordination and documentation based on the e-learning experience and notes (see appendix).

Yours with many thanks in advance for your time!


Appendix: Where I assemble relevant material for: Good examples in the domain: https://twiki.cern.ch/Edutech/WomenInScience [1] Effective speakers' preparation: https://twiki.cern.ch/ELearning/PointsForSpeakers [2] Preparation meeting: https://indico.cern.ch/event/624241/ [3] -- Maria Dimou - 2017-06-22

The email calling for volunteers was sent mid-October. Some girls in the CERN-IT-CDA group might be interested.

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-11-01

Tanya wrote article http://news.fnal.gov/2017/10/fermilab-goes-to-the-2017-grace-hopper-conference/ quoted in http://computingnews.fnal.gov/

-- Maria Dimou - 2017-11-01

-- MariaDimou - 2017-03-22

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Unknown file formatdocx 11-Feb-2018-Women-in-Science-planning.docx r1 manage 16.2 K 2018-01-08 - 14:58 MariaDimou Plan for CERN-FNAL communications' groups emailed by Kate Kahle on 2017-12-22
PDFpdf Edutech_WomenProgrammersInterviews_twiki_BEFORE_the_20170323_meeting.pdf r1 manage 588.1 K 2017-03-30 - 14:51 MariaDimou Very first version of this twiki February 2017
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