Christina Boucher is a true Renaissance woman. In her doctoral research, she devised computational methods to identify subsequences of DNA. For her decidedly lower-tech hobby, she threw pots at the Waterloo Potters Workshop. Active in student politics, she also helped build the Graduate Student Association's Standing Committee on Women's Issues, and at her urging the David R.
Enjoying reading and socializing with friends hardly sounds surprising when describing a PhD student in software engineering. What is surprising is how determined Fathiyeh Faghih has been in her studies. Her determination to achieve her full potential in CS has extended to a desire to help others reach theirs.
Alma Juarez-Dominguez still recalls her first mathematical "aha!" moment. As a five year-old playing with blocks, she realized that you could have all the blocks, or no blocks, or many blocks - she had discovered set theory.
Although in Mexico women are often discouraged from entering fields like math, by the time Juarez-Dominguez reached university, computer science was in her sights.
In high school in Greece, Georgia Kastidou had set her heart on the very competitive aeronautical engineering program at the country's air force university, which admitted just five women per year. But there were several other spaces on the application form - where else should she apply? On a whim, she added computer science as a secondary choice on her application, and got in to the program at the University of Ioannina.
When Zarrin Langari's mother was growing up in Iran, she loved math but there was no mathematics education for girls in her entire province. She led female students in a strike, and two weeks later the school administration agreed to set up a mathematics class. Her daughter, Zarrin, was a beneficiary of her mother's courage, and excelled in mathematics.
When Sonia Waharte was a kid growing up in Marseille, her family got a computer and she began trying to program a graphic of a helicopter.
"Nobody but me could tell that it was a helicopter - it was totally ugly! - but I was so happy to see it on the screen."