Inaugural Event Recap

The Texas chapter of Women in HPC held a very successful inaugural seminar in Austin, attended by more than 50 people. The event was hosted by Intel Corporation, which has a strong presence in Austin, and is a committed supporter of diversity and inclusion. “We are very proud that Intel has reached its goal of full representation of underrepresented minorities and women in the US workforce in 2018, two years ahead of schedule” said Dr. Cristina Beldica, director of HPC Software at Intel and sponsor of the seminar. “This is an important first step, but we recognize that there is still a lot to be done. In a highly competitive field like HPC, women face unique challenges, but also encounter unique opportunities. That’s why it is important that we have a strong local community where we can support each other. “

Dr. Kelly Gaither, Director of Health Analytics at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) and Associate Professor in Women’s Health at the Dell Medical School, delivered a captivating keynote about the incredible promise that HPC holds in improving women’s health. The talk struck a chord with the audience, because while Texas is a leader in high tech, it has one of the worst records in the nation when it comes to infant and maternal mortality. Dr. Gaither passionately delivered the message that there has never been a better time to bring modern computation and analytics to inform individualized treatments and interventions for our most vulnerable populations.

The second part of the event consisted of a panel representing women in academia, small and large businesses. The panelists were TXWHPC Co-Chairs, Melyssa Fratkin (TACC) and Carolyn Devany (Data Vortex), along with Cristina Beldica (Intel) and Garima Kochhar (Dell EMC). Prompted by a few thought-provoking questions, the panelist presented their point of view on various topics ranging from the goals of the WHPC organization and its new Texas chapter, to addressing bias in hiring and promotions, and the role of male allies. The rapid exchange of ideas and the openness of responses drew the audience in and turned into a lively dialogue.

“It was inspiring to see so many women (and men) attending the event to kick-off TXWHPC. Clearly, we are all excited by the role women play in shaping the future of technology – and we want to grow that role in the future.” Fratkin said. “I hope everyone walked away feeling excited and ready to take action.”

Melyssa Fratkin (left) and Cristina Beldica (right) welcome everyone to the event
Dr. Kelly Gaither began her presentation talking about the stages of Women's Health
We had a full house, and lots of questions for Dr. Gaither
Dounia Khaldi, our panel moderator, poses a question
The panelists (L-R): Melyssa Fratkin (TACC), Carolyn Devany (DataVortex Technologies), Cristina Beldica (Intel), and Garima Kochhar (DellEMC)
Intel and Dell attendees
Rebecca Paren (L, Intel) and Virginia Trueheart (R, TACC) enjoyed the event
A discussion group with our youngest attendee!