Anne McLaren Award for Excellence Recipients

2017 Award Winner – Bushra Alahmadi

Bushra is a DPhil student in the Cyber Security Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) situated in the department of Computer Science. She has always been passionate about supporting and encouraging women in Computer Science, co-founding the first IT society for women in Saudi Arabia in 2003. In 2014, she joined the Oxford Women in Computer Science Society (OxWoCS) committee as a conference coordinator, organising the second annual Oxbridge Women in Computer Science Conference, a joint conference with the University of Cambridge. The conference aims to bring together junior and senior female computer scientists, encourage collaboration through formal and informal discussion, and provide young researchers the opportunity to present their research and get valuable feedback.

As OxWoCS’s president in 2015-2016, she managed society activities including industry talks, social events, and the mentorship scheme. She also helped manage the OxWoCS distinguished speaker seminars series, inviting globally-recognised female academics and industry leaders to present at the department. Bushra also helped establish an annual travel scholarship provided by OxWoCS and the department for students to attend the annual Grace Hopper Conference for women in computing. Her hard work and dedication, along with the commitment of other OxWoCS members led to OxWoCS receiving the MPLS divisional outreach award for team effort in 2017.

Bushra was awarded the prestigious Google Anita Borg Scholarship in 2016, and co-founded the initiative InspireHer. InspireHer, supported by Google, aims to increase girls’ interest and curiosity in Computer Science by introducing coding in a fun and interactive way. The initiative encourages mothers and daughters to work together on a fun coding project, providing resources and advice to parents on how to encourage and inspire their daughters to code. In addition to organising an InspireHer event in Oxford, Bushra helped organize two other events in Kenya and Sweden for girls from disadvantaged backgrounds and Syrian refugees. Inspiring girls to code is a mission close to her heart, and she hopes to organize more InspireHer events in the upcoming academic year.

Participants on the InspireHer programme, by Mariam Nouh
Participants on the InspireHer programme, photo by Mariam Nouh