Section News

Annabel Latham Named as WIE Chair

Dr. Annabel Latham is a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science in the School of Computing and Mathematics at Manchester Metropolitan University. Annabel’s research interests under the Computational intelligence Lab at Manchester Met include conversational agents, intelligent tutoring systems, big data, text mining, agent intelligence and knowledge engineering. Annabel leads the School’s Athena SWAN project, aimed at changing culture and promoting a gender balance in Computer Science.

Annabel is a Senior Member of IEEE, a member of the Computational Intelligence and Women in Engineering societies, Chair of CIS Graduate Student Research Grant Sub-Committee and an active committee member of IEEE Women in Computational Intelligence (WCI), CIS Education and UKI Women in Engineering (WIE) committees.

Annabel has experience working in industry and academia. After her BSc (Hons) Computation from UMIST, Annabel worked in the financial software industry in technical writing, project management, implementation and training. In 1996, Annabel joined the National Computing Centre to work as a senior product manager for Higher Education courses, responsible for all areas of development and marketing, including responsibility for publishing and marketing academic texts. She has travelled worldwide training and providing quality assurance consultation services to numerous colleges in the Far East.

Annabel worked in the field of Academic Marketing for eight years variously as a technical author, project manager, lecturer and tutor. Following four years experience as Admissions Tutor, Associate Lecturer and researcher at Manchester Met, Annabel returned to study gaining an MSc then PhD in Computational Intelligence. Annabel worked as Lecturer in Multi-Agent Systems at University of Liverpool before returning to Manchester Met in 2013. Annabel’s intelligent conversational computer tutor Oscar is used in several undergraduate units as she continues her research into socially intelligent agents.

Women in Engineering

Annabel has always worked to improve the gender balance in her field of computer science, where women are under-represented. As an active committee member of WCI and WIE UKI, and Chair of the School’s Athena SWAN committee at Manchester Met, Annabel has publicised women scientists and engineers through the media and organised events to reach and inspire people of all genders and all ages. The under-representation of women in engineering disciplines is a complex issue with no simple solution, and tackling it involves action from all genders.

As the new Chair of WIE UKI, Annabel aims to work on a range of initiatives to challenge cultural stereotypes and tackle barriers that prevent girls and women taking up opportunities in engineering. Promoting female role models in schools with speakers, posters and through the media, as well as facilitating careers and networking events for students and professionals are some of the activities we are planning this year. Please think about female representation in your own working life, and get in touch with stories, events and ideas.