Women in IoT (WiT): Leading Through Change

Women in IoT (WiT): Leading Through Change

Date: October 12, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Host: Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World
Admission: Free (Registration Required) Register here

Delivery: Via Zoom (Registered attendees will be emailed the access information)
Student Poster Session Session Information

2020 Co-Chairs:
Janise McNairECE, University of Florida
My T ThaiCISE, University of Florida

Organizing Committee:
Liting Hu, CS, Florida International University
Janise McNair, ECE, University of Florida
Tempestt Neal, CIS, University of South Florida
My Thai, CISE, University of Florida
Damla Turgut, CS, University of Central Florida

The web of smart and connected devices that form the Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to impact every sphere of our lives as well as every market sector, and drive the fourth industrial revolution. While IoT, in convergence with artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics, is rapidly changing our lives and society at large, we also face an increasing gender gap in the field of IoT technology and applications encompassing all aspects of research, development and practice. The goal of this workshop is to bring together women leaders from all sectors of IoT and students interested in the field of IoT to promote and enable increasing participation of women and addressing the gender gap issue in the field of IoT. The workshop organized by the members of the Warren B. Nelms Institute for the Connected World at University of Florida , in collaboration with several other universities in the state of Florida, will be held virtually; is free to join and open to all with registration. We cordially welcome participants from all sectors to join the workshop and contribute to its mission.

Event Plan:

  • 1:00 – 1:15 pm – Welcome and Opening, UF Dean of Engineering Cammy Abernathy
  • 1:15 – 2:00 pm – Invited Keynote UR Dean of Engineering Wendi Heinzelman
  • 2:00 – 2:45 pm – Academic and Government Agency Leadership Panel ( See bios below)
  • 2:45 – 3:15 pm – Break
  • 3:15 — 4:00pm — Industry Leadership Panel (see bios below)
  • 4:00 – 4:45 pm – Student Poster Session
  • 4:45 – 5:00 pm – Closing Remarks

If you have an inquiry about the program or you are interested in more information about the Nelms Institutie, please contact the co-Chairs: Dr. Janise McNair (mcnair at ece dot ufl dot edu) and My T. Thai, Ph.D. (mythai at cise dot ufl dot edu).

Steering Committee: Swarup BhuniaJanise McNair, My T. Thai


Opening: Cammy R. Abernathy, Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering, University of Florida

Cammy R. Abernathy, Ph.D. Cammy R. Abernathy received her S.B. degree in materials science and engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1980, and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in materials science and engineering from Stanford University in 1982 and 1985 respectively. She joined the University of Florida’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering as a professor in 1993. In 2004 she became the College’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and in July 2009 was appointed Dean of the College of Engineering. Dr. Abernathy’s research interests are in synthesis of thin-film electronic materials and devices using metal organic chemical vapor deposition and molecular beam epitaxy. She is the author of over 500 journal publications, over 430 conference papers, one co-authored book, 7 edited books, 8 book chapters, and 7 patents. Dr. Abernathy is a fellow of the MRS, AAAS, AVS, APS and of the Electrochemical Society. She is also a Director of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Engineering Deans Council Executive Board.

Keynote Speaker: Wendi Heinzelman, Dean of the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Rochester

Wendi HeinzelmanTitle: Wireless Sensor Networks in the Age of Big Data

Abstract: Wireless sensor networks have and will continue to transform our every-day lives, from supporting personalized health care to enhanced environmental monitoring to enabling precision agriculture.  With the plethora of applications and the advances in low-power and small devices, wireless sensor networks are able to produce data on a scale never before possible.  Recent advances in data science and machine learning have enabled the analysis and application of this data to provide increased value.  In this talk, I will look back at the evolution of wireless sensor networks as well as look to the future to see where this technology may take us and what research is needed to get us there, as well as how we can think about the integration with data science techniques.  I will also address how, in this environment of ever-evolving technology, it is vital that we educate the next generation to not only learn the fundamentals but to also be creative, globally-minded, analytical thinkers who will meet the challenges we are yet to foresee.

Biography: Wendi Heinzelman is Dean of the Edmund A. Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Rochester. She is also a full professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering with a secondary appointment in the Computer Science Department at Rochester. As dean, Dr. Heinzelman oversees a variety of programs, departments, and institutes that support an undergraduate student body of 1,800 students along with 115 faculty, 65 staff, 660 graduate students, and more than 20,000 alumni.  Dr. Heinzelman is also an accomplished researcher in the field of wireless communications, with her research supported by over $11M in grants and published in over 150 textbooks, journal and conference papers that have been cited over 50,000 times. Dr. Heinzelman is a co-founder and current steering committee member of Networking Networking Women (N^2 Women), a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), a Fellow of the ACM, and a Fellow of the IEEE.


Raquel Hill, Chair and Professor, Computer and Information Sciences, Spelman College

Raquel HillRaquel Hill is chair of the Computer and Information Sciences Department at Spelman  College. Prior to joining Spelman College, Hill was the director of the Cybersecurity Academic Program in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University. She holds bachelor and master’s degrees in computer science from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in computer science from Harvard University. Her primary research interests span the areas of trust and security for distributed computing environments and data privacy. Her research has been funded by various agencies, including the National Science Foundation. She has published numerous articles on various topics, including security for electronic voting systems, encryption-based access control, trusted computing, smartphone security, network security and privacy in research datasets. Her inter-disciplinary work on the re-identification risks in medical-related behavioral science data was featured in the Forbes magazine article, “Anonymous Sex Survey Takers Get Identified in Data Dive.” Hill is a passionate educator, and she was awarded Indiana University’s Trustees Teaching Award in 2019. Also, she has dedicated time to mentoring undergraduate students, participating in departmental and campus-level initiatives to engage undergraduates in research.

Muriel Medard, Cecil H. Green Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at MIT

Muriel MedardMuriel Médard is the Cecil H. Green Professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department at MIT and leads the Network Coding and Reliable Communications Group at the Research Laboratory for Electronics at MIT.  She has served as editor for many publications of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), of which she was elected Fellow, and she has served as Editor in Chief of the IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications. She was President of the IEEE Information Theory Society in 2012, and served on its board of governors for eleven years. She has served as technical program committee co-chair of many of the major conferences in information theory, communications and networking. She received the 2019 Best Paper award for IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, 2009 IEEE Communication Society and Information Theory Society Joint Paper Award, the 2009 William R. Bennett Prize in the Field of Communications Networking, the 2002 IEEE Leon K. Kirchmayer Prize Paper Award, the 2018 ACM SIGCOMM Test of Time Paper Award and several conference paper awards. She was co-winner of the MIT 2004 Harold E. Egerton Faculty Achievement Award, received the 2013 EECS Graduate Student Association Mentor Award and served as undergraduate Faculty in Residence for seven years. In 2007 she was named a Gilbreth Lecturer by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. She received the 2016 IEEE Vehicular Technology James Evans Avant Garde Award, the 2017 Aaron Wyner Distinguished Service Award from the IEEE Information Theory Society and the 2017 IEEE Communications Society Edwin Howard Armstrong Achievement Award. She is a member of the National Academy of Inventors. She was elected Member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2020.

Patricia Nava, Interim Dean, College of Engineering, University of Texas at El Paso

Patricia NavaPatricia Nava is the interim dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso. She is a professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and an endowed El Paso Electric Professor of Engineering Education. Dr. Nava has taught at Northern Arizona University and California State University, Los Angeles, and worked as an electronics engineer at White Sands Missile Range and as a design engineer at IBM. She served as program director for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2004 and chair of the department until 2011. She was appointed associate dean for academic affairs and undergraduate studies from 2011 to 2017. In 2016, Nava was instrumental in leading the Texas Regional STEM Degree Accelerator initiative at UTEP, an opportunity to expand the institution’s efforts to prepare students for a dynamic and diverse workforce in STEM fields. Her area of research is hardware acceleration for machine/deep learning and STEM education.

Wendy Nilsen, Program Director, National Science Foundation, Division of Information and Intelligent Systems (CISE/IIS)

Wendy NilsenWendy Nilsen, Ph.D., is a Program Director in the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate at NSF. She is also the lead Program Director in the Smart and Connected Health program. Her work focuses on the intersection of computing and human functioning. Her interests span the areas of sensing, analytics, cyber-physical systems, information systems, machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics. More specifically, her efforts include: serving as cochair of the Health Information Technology Research and Development working group of the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program; the lead for the NSF/NIH Smart and Connected Health announcement; convening workshops to address methodology in technology in health research; and, serving on numerous federal technology initiatives. Prior to joining NSF, Wendy was at the National Institutes of Health.


An Chen, Senior Director, Engineering, Qualcomm

An ChenDr. An Mei Chen is a Senior Director of Engineering at Qualcomm with years of experience in the wireless industry including in technology innovation, product development, business strategy, standardization, and intellectual property.  She has worked on a multitude of cutting-edge technologies and commercial products including machine learning, mobile AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile broadcast, broadband wireless access, wireless health, and advanced wireless features and services.  Dr. Chen is a prolific inventor with over 400 U.S. and international granted patents and over 20 referred publications including several book chapters.  Dr. Chen currently works with Qualcomm’s technology licensing business, where she leads advanced technology development and drives strategy and ecosystem growth for emerging regions.  She leads the startup innovation challenge for Qualcomm with the recent focus on the startup incubation program in Vietnam.  She is an executive board member of the Corporate Affiliates Program at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering.  Dr. Chen also oversees U.S. and international university research collaboration programs for Qualcomm’s licensing division. Dr. Chen received her Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering with an emphasis on wireless communication theory and systems from the University of California, San Diego.

Tong Sun, Lab Director, Adobe Research

Tong SunDr. Tong Sun is leading the Document Intelligence Lab in Adobe to reinvent the document of the future in the era of AI and machine learning. Tong is a seasoned technology innovator and thought-leader with a 15+ years leadership in incubating new concepts through state-of-art scalable machine learning methods and tools, developing impactful rapid prototypes, and delivering competitive technologies to market opportunities in cross-disciplinary and cross-functional team environments. Her research interests on natural language processing and understanding, distributed machine learning, big data computing and human computer interaction. She held 22 issued US patents, 40+ peer-reviewed publications in prestigious conferences and journals. Prior to joining Adobe, Tong was the Director of Scalable Data Analytics Research Lab at Xerox PARC and the Group Leader of Decision Support and Machine Intelligence at United Technologies Research Center.

Alessandra Sala, Ambassador of Women in AI in Ireland
(recently Head of Analytics Research, Nokia Bell Labs)

Alessandra SalaAlessandra Sala is the Head of Analytics Research at Nokia Bell Labs. In other roles as a leader in AI, she serves as  a Member of the Nokia AI Ethics Advisory Board; as a Technology Advisory Board Member at CeADAR (http://www.ceadar.ie); as an Ambassador of Women in AI in Ireland (https://www.womeninai.co), and as an External Board Advisor for Altada Technology Solutions Limited. As Head of Analytics Research, Dr. Sala has more than 10 years of experience in research and innovation, both in academia and industry, specifically on advanced analytics, customer experience, AI-based automation of cloud applications and machine learning. She has a proven track record of transferring innovation from research into business units even in dynamic business environments, and experience with a wide range of telco products and systems. She has been responsible for inter-connecting the evolution of current technology with research vision and managing diverse teams in multiple locations and business relationships. In service to the profession, she has been a judging committee member for international conferences, journals and internal innovation competitions, as well as winner of several technical awards and selected in 3 leadership and innovation programs.

Ruoyi Zhou, Director, IBM Research, Ireland

Ruoyi ZhouRuoyi Zhou is the Director of IBM Research – Ireland with responsibilities to drive innovation and grow a world-class industrial research organization in AI, healthcare, quantum computing, data privacy, cloud and other cutting-edge sciences and technologies. She serves on the Industrial Advisory Board for Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College of London. Prior to her current role, Ruoyi served as the Director of IBM Accessibility Research where she oversaw development of advanced technology to enable accessibility for IBM products, solutions, and services; creation of AI-powered assistive technology for people with disabilities; and exploration of IoT-based AI solutions for Aging. She served on the Industry Advisory Council at the Colorado University College of Engineering & Applied Science and on the Board of Advisors for G3ict. She initiated and launched the Accessibility track at the Grace Hopper Conference and served as a committee member. Additionally, Ruoyi was the Co-Director of AI for Healthy Living, a joint research center between IBM and the University of California, San Diego. Ruoyi played different technical and leadership roles during two decades at IBM. Ruoyi received her Ph.D. in Materials Science from Rutgers University. She has over 30 publications and is a recipient of several patents. She was a YWCA TWIN Award honoree in 2010, one of the most prestigious awards in the United States to recognize successful women executives for their outstanding achievements.