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Announcing the 2015 GHC ABIE Award Winners

PALO ALTO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 09/01/15 -- The Anita Borg Institute, a non-profit organization focused on the advancement of women in computing, announces the winners of the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) ABIE Awards. Each year, the GHC ABIE Awards recognize female leaders in the categories of technical leadership, social impact, innovative teaching practices, emerging leadership and international change agent.

ABI will celebrate the ABIE Award winners at the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, held in Houston, Texas on October 14 - 16, 2015.

"The GHC ABIE Awards recognize the tremendous contributions of brilliant women in technology at a fitting venue -- the largest gathering of technical women in the world," said Telle Whitney, president and chief executive officer of the Anita Borg Institute and co-founder of the Grace Hopper Celebration. "We're thrilled and extremely proud of these women's achievements as researchers, educators, entrepreneurs and technical leaders. We look forward to acknowledging their accomplishments at the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration."

The winners are nominated by their peers and chosen by a panel of fellow technologists and past ABIE Award winners based on their extraordinary achievements and commitment to excellence. The GHC 2015 ABIE Award Winners in their respective categories include:

Technical Leadership ABIE Award Winner -- underwritten by Qualcomm

The Technical Leadership ABIE Award recognizes women technologists who demonstrate leadership through their contributions to technology and achievements in increasing the impact of women on technology. Lydia E. Kavraki has made significant research contributions in physical algorithms and their applications in robotics, including robot motion planning, hybrid systems, formal methods in robotics, assembly planning, micromanipulation and flexible object manipulation. Lydia has also worked extensively in the fields of computational structural biology, translational bioinformatics and biomedical informatics.

Lydia is the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University, where she has mentored more than 20 female undergraduate students on various research projects. She is the faculty mentor of the Undergraduate Women in Computer Science Club. Lydia is the recipient of the 2000 Grace Murray Hopper Award, a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, AAAS, AAAI, AIMBE and a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Social Impact ABIE Award Winner -- underwritten by RMS

The Social Impact ABIE Award recognizes those who have made a positive impact on women, technology, and society. This year, the award winners are a team of software engineers from Google, Michal Segalov and Daniela Raijman, who co-founded Mind the Gap, a program aimed at encouraging high school girls to pursue computer science and math. In the eight years the program has been in operation in Israel, Japan, Poland, Brazil and North America, more than 10,000 girls have participated. An early study showed that 40 percent of participating girls ultimately chose computer science as a major, and over 90 percent said they would recommend computer science as a career to a friend.

Michal Segalov is a Software Engineer and Manager, and leads groups of engineers on the Google Play team focusing on apps and game discovery, Play Store consumer features and game APIs for developers.

Daniela Raijman joined Google in 2007 as the first female engineer at the company's R&D center in Tel Aviv. Today, she is a manager and leads a team of a dozen engineers working on initiatives for transferring large-scale data across Google's network, including Google Compute Engine networks.

Change Agent ABIE Awards Winners -- underwritten by Google

The Change Agent ABIE Awards recognize international women who have created opportunities for girls and women in technology abroad.

María Celeste Medina is the co-founder of Ada IT, a Buenos Aires-based software development and software testing startup focused on generating job opportunities for women. She is also a Technical Advisor and Code Clubs coordinator for "Programá tu Futuro," a Buenos Aires City Government coding initiative. In just one year, María Celeste and the Programá tu Futuro team introduced more than 6,000 people to coding, including kids, adults, teenagers and senior citizens. María Celeste also serves as a board member for Girls in Tech Argentina.

Mai Abualkas Temraz is the Mentorship & Women's Inclusivity Program Coordinator at Gaza Sky Geeks, Gaza's first startup accelerator and co-working hub. Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG) is run by Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization, and fills a critical need in Gaza, where young tech talent is abundant but job opportunities are in short supply. GSG has created one of the most inclusive startup communities in the world -- almost half of its participants are women. In 2015, Mai was awarded the best entry-level STEM Executive at the Women in STEM conference in Dubai. She is a Global Tech Leader representing Palestine, serves as the regional ambassador for Technovation in the Gaza Strip and is a member of the Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) mentorship committee. Mai is also the first and only female amateur radio operator in Palestine.

A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award Winner -- underwritten by Juniper Networks

The A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award recognizes educators who develop innovative teaching practices and approaches that attract girls and women to computing, engineering, and math. Joanne McGrath Cohoon is a sociologist with the rank of Full Professor in the University of Virginia's Department of Engineering & Society. She has conducted extensive research about the gender imbalance in computing and put her knowledge into practice through her work with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). Joanne is a senior research scientist for NCWIT, where she promotes diversity and equity by improving the practices of institutions that educate and employ computing professionals.

Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award Winner -- underwritten by Microsoft

The Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award recognizes a junior faculty member for high-quality research and significant positive impact on diversity. Lydia Tapia is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Her field of research is methodologies for the simulation and analysis of motions, and she applies these methods to both robots and disease-causing proteins as the director of the Adaptive Motion Planning Research Group. Previously, Lydia was a Computing Innovation Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Science from Tulane University. Lydia is highly committed to exposing young scientists to research through K-12 outreach and research experiences for undergraduates.

About the Grace Hopper Celebration

The 2015 Grace Hopper celebration, the largest gathering of women in computing in the world, expects 12,000 attendees this year, a 50 percent increase from the previous year. The conference, held in Houston, Texas, takes place October 14 - 16 2015. This year's conference features leading technical speakers, career development sessions, awards, a poster session, a hackathon and the industry's largest career fair for women in computing.

2015 Grace Hopper Celebration Sponsors

Diamond sponsors include: Apple, Capital One, Cisco, Google and Microsoft.

Platinum sponsors include: Accenture, Airbnb, Amazon, Avanade, Bank of America, CA Technologies, Dell, Dropbox, eBay, EMC, Ericsson, Facebook, GoDaddy, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Intuit, Juniper Networks, LinkedIn, Lockheed Martin, MasterCard, Nationwide, NetApp, PayPal, Qualcomm, Rackspace, Thomson Reuters, ThoughtWorks, Two Sigma, Visa and Yahoo!.

Gold Academic sponsors include: Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Tech College of Computing, Harvey Mudd College, Montana State University, New York University, Purdue University, Rice University, Stanford University Department of Computer Science, Texas A&M University Department of Computer Science, University of California - Berkeley, University of California - Los Angeles, University of California - San Diego Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Houston Department of Computer Science, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and USC.

Gold Labs and Nonprofits sponsors include: ACM, Dignity Health, Internet Society ISOC, MIT Lincoln Laboratory and NCWIT.

About the Anita Borg Institute (ABI)

The Anita Borg Institute (ABI) connects, inspires and guides women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. Founded in 1997 by computer scientist Anita Borg, our reach extends to more than 65 countries. We believe technology innovation powers the global economy, and that women are crucial to building technology the world needs. As a social enterprise, we recognize women making positive contributions, and advise organizations on how to improve performance by building more inclusive teams. ABI has over 50 industry partners, which you can view at http://anitaborg.org/partner-with-us/our-partners/. The Anita Borg Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization in the US and a non-profit organization registered as a section-8 Company under the Companies Act, 2013 in India. For more information, visit www.anitaborg.org.

Follow the Anita Borg Institute on Twitter at @anitaborg_org and become a fan at http://www.facebook.com/anitaborginstitute.

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