Assistant Professor of Mathematics Ellen Gasparovic was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Computing and Communicating Foundations (CCF) conference grant (Award 1841455) to support the attendance of ten U.S. based mathematicians at the Workshop for Women in Computational Topology (WinCompTop) 2 to be held at The Australian National University in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia on July 1-5, 2019. Erin Chambers, professor of computer science at Saint Louis University, is co-Principal Investigator on the grant.
WinCompTop 2 is a workshop that facilitates the formation of new and lasting research collaborations between junior and senior women working in the field of computational topology, a field that seeks to identify underlying patterns and mathematical structure in data from areas ranging from medical imaging to networks of sensor arrays. WinCompTop 2 is designed to grow the network of women active in this field by providing both research opportunity and a unique environment for mentoring, collaboration, and cohort building. Despite numerous initiatives and undeniable progress over the past few decades, gender imbalance in mathematics and computer science remains significant. This type of event is critical. According to recent data collected by the National Science Foundation, mathematics and computer science are two of three disciplines with the lowest percentage of women attaining PhDs. There is considerable evidence that conferences and workshops geared toward women, such as WinCompTop 2, can and do make a significant impact and participants report that they see strong benefits from these workshops, which support collaborations, broaden contacts, and raise visibility in the greater mathematical community.