Women in Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

Our School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering is taking positive steps to develop a strong community of female scientists working at all levels in research, education and leadership.

"We are committed to promoting a positive and inclusive working environment for our female scientists and indeed for all our staff. We support women at all stages of their career, from undergraduates all the way through to professors, and the previous Head of School is female."
Professor Simon Lucas, Head of School

The University of Essex has a Women's Network to support female staff and students and was awarded the Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award in November 2013 in recognition of its continuing work to support women in STEM. The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering applied for a Bronze Departmental Award in November 2016.

Supporting our students

Katie secured a year's placement at Microsoft in London:

Showcasing our female academic staff

You can find out more about all our members of staff in their individual staff profiles.

  • Dr Arsenia (Ersi) Chorti

    Ersi ChortiArsenia Chorti is a Lecturer on Communications and Networks at CSEE since 2013. She obtained her PhD from Imperial College London and held postdoctoral positions at the University of Southampton, University College London and a Senior Lecturer position on Communications at Middlesex University.

    Before her appointment at CSEE she was an IOF Marie Curie fellow at Princeton University, where she still serves as a visiting scholar. Her work has been disseminated in more than 50 international journals and conferences. Her research interests include, among others, next generation communication systems (5G, IoT), physical layer security, energy harvesting, wireless network coding.

    Since her postdoctoral years Dr. Chorti has shown an interest on the issues of gender equality and work-life balance for female academics in EE and CS. She was a junior participant in the 1st Women’s Workshop in Communications and Signal Processing (WWCSP) in Banff, Canada in 2012. She was on the organizing committee of the 2nd WWCSP held in Princeton University in 2013 and on the Program Committee of the womENcourage workshop held in Linz Austria in 2016.

    In 2015 she went on maternity leave and returned full-time at her post in 2016. She is a member of the Women in Communication Engineering (WICE) group of IEEE ComSoc, the Women’s Security Society in the UK and is currently serving on the CSEE Athena Swan Committee.

  • Professor Maria Fasli

    Maria FasliProfessor Maria Fasli is the Director of the interdisciplinary Institute for Analytics and Data Science at the University of Essex. She was Head of the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering between August 2009 and December 2014.

    Her research interests lie in the area of artificial intelligence, modelling and (machine) learning from data (structured and unstructured), personalisation and recommendation techniques, modelling and simulation of complex systems through multi-agent system techniques as well as applications of agent-based systems in electronic commerce.

    She has published over 100 refereed articles in major journals, conferences and workshops in these areas and she has organised international workshops and other events. She leads the Methodological Stream for Big Data Analytics in the ESRC Business and Local Government Data Research Centre.

    She is currently the investigator on two further InnovateUK/EPSRC funded projects on data analytics and exploration and an ESRC-funded project under the Civil Society Data Partnership Call with the Charity Freedom from Torture (FfT) to support them in the development of big data infrastructure and systems.

    She also has interests in innovative approaches to education and learning and in 2005 she was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy (UK) for her innovative approaches to education. She is the author of “Agent Technology for e-Commerce” a research-based textbook published by Wiley (2007).

  • Dr Jialin Liu

    Jialin LiuJialin's research interests include AI and games, Noisy Optimisation and Algorithm Selection. She is currently working on applications of artificial intelligence in games, in particular in general game playing.

    She graduated with a PhD in Computer Science in December 2015, following degrees in Opto-electronic Information Engineering and Computer Science (Network, Artificial Intelligence) and a Masters in Bioinformatics and Biostatistics.




  • Dr Annie Louis

    Annie LouisAnnie Louis is a Lecturer in CSEE. She is part of the Language and Computation group, and the EPSRC Center for Doctoral Training in Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence at the University of Essex.

    Annie's research focuses on natural language processing and machine learning techniques to both understand how people use language, and build language-related technology. In particular, she creates models which infer how documents and conversations are structured and the impressions they make on the readers and listeners. She is pursuing how this technology can be used to automatically assess the quality of documents, to summarize and generate text, and improve search of social media content.

    In the broader research community, Annie serves as an area chair for top conferences, a reviewer for many journals and conferences, and is involved in workshop organisation. At the University of Essex, she also serves as an officer on the Academic Offenses Committee, and on the team for the Athena SWAN submission.

    She graduated with a PhD and Masters from the University of Pennsylvania. She then carried out postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh under a prestigious Newton International Fellowship from the Royal Society and British Academy.

  • Ana Matrán-Fernández

    Ana Matran-FernandezAna Matrán-Fernández is a PhD student in completion and an SRO in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. Her research is in collaborative Brain-Computer Interfaces, particularly in different ways of merging neural signals from multiple users. Her interest scope includes neural interfaces, machine learning and biomedical signal processing.

    During her studies at the University of Essex, she has been involved as a research officer in several projects, gained teaching experience as a GLA/GTA, taken up teacher training courses, and become an associate fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She also co-founded a start-up (EyeWink), co-led two crowdfunding campaigns and is currently the team leader of a group that will soon be participating in an international competition for the disabled (Cybathlon 2016) in the brain-computer interface discipline.

  • Dr Anasol Peña-Rios

    Anasol Pena-RiosAnasol is a Postdoctoral Researcher (KTP Associate) within the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at the University of Essex, and a Research Fellow at British Telecom Research Labs in Adastral Park, UK.

    Her research interests lie in the areas of mixed, augmented and virtual reality, ambient intelligence, internet-of-things, cyber-physical systems, computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), and HCI. Currently, her research focuses in the advancement of solutions for real-time support, collaboration and training via immersive technologies; embedding knowledge of computational intelligence, augmented reality and intelligent environments.

    She graduated with a PhD in Computer Science and a M.Sc. in Advanced Web Engineering, both from the University of Essex, and has more than 5 years of professional experience in financial institutions and retail companies, working in close collaboration with international multidisciplinary teams.

    She is Board Member and co-founder of the Immersive Learning Research Network, Associate Editor for MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching) Computer Science Task Force, Information Officer at the Creative Science Foundation, Associate Member of the Association for Learning Technology and Member of IEEE, ACM and BCS. Additionally, she works actively in several conferences, workshops, and journals.

Graduate Laboratory Assistant (GLA) profiles

  • Edita Gashi

    Edita Gashi Edita Gashi is a PhD student in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. Her research is in Information Centric Networking, particularly in forwarding algorithms within PURSUIT project. Her interest scope includes : Computer Networks, ICN, Traffic Engineering, MPLS , Protection in Routing and Cloud Computing.

    During her studies at the University of Essex, she gained teaching experience as a GLA/GTA, took up teacher training courses, and obtained her Cadenza qualification. She also trained to become a Cisco Instructor for CCNA 1 – 4.This made it possible for her to teach at Colchester Institute, ranging from BTEC courses to BSc level modules.

  • Naseem Ramli

    Naseem RamliNaseem Ramli is a PhD student in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. Her research has resulted in the invention and realization of demonstrators of three new techniques which could change the landscape of solar photovoltaic technology. Her interests span the areas of Photovoltaic Power Optimisations, Solar Power Generation and Electronic Circuit Designs.

    She believes that embarking on a postgraduate research degree can be challenging in terms of balancing studies, term-time work and family commitments but it can certainly be achievable with a few strategies and good time management. During her PGR studies at the University of Essex, Naseem gained teaching experience as a GLA, completing all the essential teaching training. She was also trained to become an exam invigilator at the University of Essex in 2013.

  • Salma Alarefi

    Salma AlarefiSalma Alarefi is a PhD student in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering. Her research in Renewable Energy has resulted in the invention of a cutting-edge technology which contributes towards hydropower micro-generation.

    She has invented a micro-leak detection system for domestic applications could significantly reduce water wastage. Her interests include: Hydropower, Microgeneration, Water Leakage Detection and Electronic Circuit Design.

    During her postgraduate studies at the University of Essex, she has gained teaching experience as a GLA, actively engaged in volunteering activities within CSEE and with the Students’ Union and completed the Big Essex employability award. In 2015, Salma took part in the Women in Engineering Day at Essex. She has worked as an invigilator with the Exam Office and has recently been trained to become a senior exam invigilator.

UNESCO Chair in Analytics and Data Science

Professor Maria Fasli is to be come the first UNESCO Chair in Analytics and Data Science, seeking to highlight the critical role that data plays in promoting equality and sustainable development. The focus of the UNESCO Chair will be to develop national and international research capacity in analytics and data science.

Pioneering research

Ana Matrán-Fernández is heading a team competing in a brain-interface competition, Cybathlon, in 2016. Working with disabled people to control a game using thought commands, you can read more and watch a video on the ITV website.

Resources for women in STEM

There are many opportunities, resources and support networks available for women in science, both within and outside our University. Further information can be found below and on the main University Athena SWAN resources page.

WISE membership

We have joined the WISE campaign to help us progress our gender equality work. Membership means we can raise the profile of our female STEM staff as WISE role models and link them to our community.

Career development

Essex Women's Network

The Essex Women's Network provides support, informal mentoring and networking opportunities to women of all career levels working in STEM.

Family friendly policies and occupational health

The School actively promotes a family friendly working environment for staff, implementing a range of family friendly policies to support working parents and parents to be. You can find out more information on these opportunities on the Human Resources policies page.

Support for working parents

The University has recently created a ‘support for working parents’ package, which includes a Parents’ Support Network, Parents Mentoring Scheme and regular Parents-to-be seminars. The School is supportive of staff with caring responsibilities and encourages working parents and parents to-be to take advantage of these useful resources.

Good quality childcare is a key concern for working parents. The University has an on-site nursery which offers exceptional day care to children from three months to five years. In addition, the Wivenhoe Park Holiday Club offers holiday childcare for primary school age children in its own dedicated space within the Day Nursery.

CHUMS (Children's Holidays at the University of Essex Multi-activity Sports) offers a holiday activity camp for children, aged from eight to fourteen, on-site at the University Sports Centre. The University operates the flexible benefits and childcare vouchers schemes to support working parents with the costs of childcare. Essex County Council provides further support for finding quality childcare in the Essex area.