On Friday September 20th, a sold-out crowd attended the IEEE Women in Engineering AI Leadership Summit in Naperville, IL. The program started with Anne Lee, a Bell Labs Fellow, providing an overview of Artificial Intelligence. Thereafter, attendees learned how AI is changing the world in city management, medicine, location-based services, cyber security, sports, telecommunications, energy, safety, and conservation efforts. Attendees were also reminded about the limits of AI by Dr. Katina Michael, the Founding Editor in Chief, IEEE Transactions on Technology and Society.

Lisa Schoedel and other attendees It was only at the end of the program that the audience heard from male speakers. Congressmen Bill Foster and Sean Casten – both scientists – gave the closing remarks. Both congressmen are on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and Congressman Foster is also the chairman of the Financial Services Committee’s Task Force on Artificial Intelligence.

One of the last questions asked was whether AI could improve the diversity in STEM. The answer was yes, but only if we can increase the number of women working in AI. As the audience included both high school and college students, hopefully, these students will be motived by the conference’s powerful speakers to start AI careers.

Special thanks must be given to Nina Rouhanizadeh, the IEEE Chicago Section’s Women in Engineering Chair. With her co-chair and the rest of her team, Nina delivered an amazing program. Her team members were Liang Xi Downey, co-chair, Susanne Tedrick, webmaster, Anne Lee, advisor, Megan Czach, marketing chair, Vickie Ozburn, partnerships, Victoria Scott, media, and Kajaria Yarbrough, program chair. Special thanks must also be given to the conference’s sponsors and partners: IEEE WIE, IEEE TEMS, IEEE Region 4 and Chicago Section, Nokia, Northwestern Master of Engineering Management, Enders Wealth Management, Regal, hub88, Women Who Code Chicago, inspiHER TECH, and alive.