Vishakha Sharma, a Ph.D. candidate in Stevens' Computer Science department, has been selected from highly-competitive applicant pools as the winner of prestigious scholarships to participate in two upcoming research conferences: the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2012 (GHC) and ACM Conference on Bioinformatics, Computational Biology and Biomedicine 2012 (ACM-BCB).
Originally from India, Sharma was the first girl in her family to study engineering in college. She earned her undergraduate degree in Computer Engineering from Pune, India and her M.S. in Computer Science from Stevens. As a Stevens Ph.D. student, she has been working with Stevens Professor Adriana Compagnoni on the design and implementation of BioScape, a modeling language for the stochastic simulation of biological and biomedical systems, as well as developing various models such as viral transport, drug response in breast cancer, and pH-triggered antibacterial coatings.
Sharma is passionate about increasing the percentage of women in computing and hopes her selection will inspire and motivate other female students.
“The extremely low number of women pursuing degrees in engineering and computer science, among other cultural biases, is driving women out of these technical fields," Sharma said. "Retaining women in computer science is very important."
She is very excited to attend GHC, which aims to unite women of the worlds of technology and computing.
“I want to attend all the events of GHC 2012 and learn from the experiences of leaders and peers who can enhance my professional development skills and motivate me to achieve my goals,” she said.
At ACM-BCB, Sharma will present a poster for her accepted research article, “Simulation and Study Of Large-Scale Bacteria-Materials Interactions Via BioScape Enabled By GPUs.”
“Being able to showcase my work will give me the opportunity to engage in technical discussion with other members of the community," said Sharma. “It is a priceless networking and relationship-building opportunity that leads to future conversation."