2013 CRA-W
Graduate Cohort Workshop
Strategies for HumanHuman Interaction
Hillery Hunter (IBM Research)
Kathryn McKinley (Microsoft Research/UT Austin)
Amanda Stent (AT&T)
About Hillery
Research Staff Member and Manager, Systems
Technology and Architecture, IBM TJ Watson Research
Center, Yorktown Heights, NY
PhD from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Electrical Engineering
Research areas: Computer architecture, green
computing, memory systems, new memory technologies
 Travel, outdoor activities,
theology, cooking & baking
(recent success with a Buche de Noel!)
Kathryn McKinley
Principal Research, Microsoft
Software for future hardware
fast, portable, secure, energy efficient
Programming Language Implementation
DaCapo Benchmarking
Cross system boundaries
Software for Heterogeneous Hardware
• Professor, UT Austin
• ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow
• 17 PhD students
• Testified to Congress
Rejected: jobs (all)
Failed: my Rice PhD qualifying exam
Rejected: jobs (8 of 11)
Rejected: my first three grant applications
Bad teaching evaluations
Rejected 2 times: 10 years, my most cited
Rejected: jobs (some)
Rejected: papers, grants, papers, grants, papers,
papers, papers …
About Amanda
Current job and education:
•Principal Member of Technical Staff, AT&T Labs – Research,
Florham Park, NJ
•PhD from University of Rochester, Computer Science
Research areas: dialog, natural language generation,
computational linguistics, assistive technology
Hobbies: EMT, taekwondo, piano
An introvert
A recovering perfectionist
About Amanda
I love doing computer science
Most of the time, I like the people I work with
My experience as a woman in computer science is
framed by micro-inequities and micro-affirmations
(Rowe, 1990; Rowe, 2008)
•Micro-inequities are “apparently small events which are often
ephemeral and hard-to-prove, events which are covert, often
unintentional, frequently unrecognized by the perpetrator, which
occur wherever people are perceived to be ‘different.’” (Rowe,
•Micro-affirmations are “apparently small acts, which are often
ephemeral and hard-to-see, events that are public and private,
often unconscious but very effective, which occur wherever
people wish to help others to succeed.” (Rowe, 2008)
The world’s not flat!
In the US, the team I work with on a daily basis is spread across:
New York (3 sites), Texas (3 sites), California (2 sites), Vermont,
Minnesota, North Carolina
International teams I have worked with:
Haifa, Israel; Boeblingen, Germany; Delhi, India
International teams I work with now:
Zurich, Switzerland (+6 hours); Tokyo, Japan (+13 hours);
Bangalore, India (+9.5 hours)
These are just colleagues within my own company… across
companies, I am on the phone regularly with people from Idaho
to Seoul to Tokyo and beyond!
IBM Research:
Collaborative Innovation
IBM Research Lab
Global, Smarter Planet
Human-Human Interaction: Telecons
Teleconferences are a “necessary evil”
of our global economy
Some people learn to use them
incredibly effectively
Some people are terrified of them 
• Better to “make peace” with them early!
Telecons 101
Use a good connection
•Don’t skype/VoIP/cell phone if you don’t have a
great connection
Call from a quiet place
• Don’t unnecessarily distract others
Mute is your friend!
Introduce yourself at the start of a call
On a large call, give your name before asking
your first/second question
• So people learn to identify your voice
Telecons: Making presentations
Remote presentation fundamentals
• Always put numbers on your slides
• Make sure your slides are neat when not in
presentation mode (animations, etc.)
• Call out slide numbers as you speak
• A&P: ASK and PAUSE
• Ask questions to make sure your audience is
understanding you (you’ll have no visual cues
they’re confused… create your own cues)
• Pause so others can get a word in edgewise
Telecons: Leading a discussion
Unless the call is very large, take a roll-call at
the beginning, so you know who’s present
Make sure relevant materials are sent to
everyone prior to the call
Plan & communicate an agenda, to keep
everyone engaged
• Attention naturally wanders when participants are
not facing one another
Telecons: Leading a discussion
If most people are in the same room and only
a few are remote, be over-considerate of
those who are remote
• Don’t let those in the room exclude/forget them
Don’t be afraid to cut off discussions
Don’t be afraid to address questions to
specific people
Instant messaging can be your friend, but
don’t let it distract you
After the call, ask for feedback
PAPERS and bad reviews
Writing Process?
Writing Process
Ask a friend
Academic Writing and
“Academic writing has the greatest potential
to inflame perfectionism for several
reasons…the lack of built-in accountability for
writing, the fact that academic writing is a
long and difficult process, and that the nature
of knowledge production guarantees
– Kerry Ann Rockquemore
Becoming Realistic
“Even for highly successful academics,
criticism and rejection never entirely goes
•Female Science Professor
“To survive the review process, you've got to
look at reviews through a certain type of lens
or filter that allows you to ignore the useless
comments from cranky reviewers and extract
the essence”
• Female Science Professor
Rejected Paper/Proposal
Know that you are not alone
Put the reviews aside for a day or two
Read them again (with your coauthors or a
friend), focusing on the facts
– Comments on the research: are they reasonable?
How long would it take you to do the extra work?
– Make a plan!
– Comments on related work: look it up
– Comments on the writing: deal with them
Special Cases
Very short (negative) reviews
The dreaded you should cite <yourself>
Personal attacks
Biased reviews by your competition
Other Comments
Find writing partners
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Be a good reviewer
Cultural Issues
Cultural Issues
Taulbee survey, 2010-2011 results
Cultural Issues
Be observant
•What is happening? Why does it make you uncomfortable?
•Is this person clueless or malicious?
Be direct
•Don’t do that
•When you <X>, it makes me uncomfortable because <Y>
Give a chance to the uninformed
•But no one is “owed” your forbearance
Find your champions
•Can you come with me to talk to <X>?
Climb the chain if necessary
•I need your help.
•I need to report an incident.
Establish your presence
•Be the first in the room and greet others as they come in
•Introduce yourself to anyone you don’t know
Establish your voice early and late
•Agree with someone, ask a question, or be the first to state an
•Take notes and circulate them, or follow up via email
Be confident and strong
•Avoid hedges like “I feel” or “maybe”
•If someone “steals” your point, you can say “I’m so glad you
agree with me that <X>” or “that was my point 5 minutes ago,
thanks for expanding on it”
Find your champions
•Someone who will ask your opinion, or confirm that you made
a point
Be a champion
•Solicit input from everyone, note contributions of others
Be direct if you have to
•I have something to say
•Please let me speak
Prepare and practice
Be prepared
Be direct
Be inclusive
Don’t quit
Recommended Resources
• Writing
– How to Write a Lot, Paul Silvia
– Writing Science, Joshua Schimel
– Writing for Computer Science, Joshua Zobel
– Frédo Durand:
– Purdue OWL:
• Speaking
– Crucial Conversations, Kerry Patterson
– How to Control Any Conversation, Peter Murphy
– Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher, William Ury & Bruce Patton
– Toastmasters
Recommended Resources
• Confidence
– Ms. Mentor's Impeccable Advice for Women in
Academia, Emily Toth
– Kidding Ourselves: Breadwinning, Babies, and
Bargaining Power, Rhona Mahoney
– Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, Lois Frankel
– Women Don't Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide,
Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever
– Kerry Ann
Additional Scenarios
In your group meeting, your colleague never looks at you and keeps interrupting you.
Your collaborator student S wants to and is working on all your projects. You want to have some
without S.
You have been working on an idea and have some results, but your advisor has not suggested a venue
or a publication plan.
You are great at coming up with ideas and implementing solutions, but get stuck when writing them
Your junior collaborator lacks confidence in public speaking.
You are going to a conference and want to meet person X to talk about a research topic (or a job at
their organization).
How do you (an introvert) successfully navigate a three-day symposium with 400 attendees and 30
speakers, without exhausting yourself?
You have been invited to interview for a job at X. The two-day interview will involve meetings with
managers and engineers, as well as a coding test/talk/sample lesson. How do you prepare for the
events on this interview?
How do you safely and professionally handle human-human interaction in the digital area (emails,
blogs, social networking)?
How do you deal with the personal-professional boundary (going back to social networking, but also
generally where lines are in the academic or professional workplace)?
In general, how do you interact with someone who is your boss (either your advisor or a summer
internship boss)?
How do you consider the role of attire in human-human interaction (I recently read 60% of perceived
"presence" is related to attire)?
How do you have the “I’m expecting” conversation with your boss?
Finding and Managing an Advisor
What to look for
•Research compatibility
•Mentoring ability
•Collaboration network
First steps
•Take their class
•Read their papers
•Talk to the other students
Next Steps
• Email for an appointment with specifics
– I want to discuss becoming your PhD
student. I am currently funded <how>.
Please find below my relevant classes and
experiences <resume, papers, classes,
transcript>. I am interested in <project>.
• Persist if Professor puts up an obstacle
– He doesn’t have funding; She has too many
– I have my own funding. I have a TA.
– Let’s do a one semester project.
Next Steps
• Prepare for appointment
– Suggest specific projects on which you would
like to work. (You know the current projects
because you read papers & talked to students.
– I read paper on X and I think Y would be a
good next step.
– It is your choice too! After a semester, assess,
is this the person/topic I want to pursue?
• Attend group meetings & related lectures
Advisor Management
• Ask for a weekly meeting
• Stuck after a day, ask for an impromptu meeting or
just show up in office hours
• Weekly meeting management
Email agenda 24 hours in advance
Repeat high level project goal first (1 to 2 sentences)
What you did this week
What you want to talk about
• Problems: ideas, implementation, bugs
• Strategies, publication plans
– Plan for next week
– Every one or two months, program progress (exams,
proposals, thesis, etc.) and goals

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