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Women in computing pioneer recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours list

THE FOUNDER of a ground-breaking conference dedicated to promoting the role of women in technology has been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

Dr Hannah Dee, a senior lecturer in computer science at Aberystwyth University, established the BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium 17 years ago, driven by the intimidating experience of being the only woman in the room when giving her first international computing conference presentation as a PhD student.

Widely acknowledged as one of the most influential women in IT and with over 20 years’ experience in teaching and research, Dr Dee has been awarded an MBE for services to ‘Technology and to Women in the Information Technology Sector’.

Dr Dee established the Lovelace Colloquium in 2008 whilst a researcher at the University of Leeds and has been chair or deputy chair every year since.

The annual one-day conference for women and non-binary students of Computing and related subjects has become the largest of its kind in the UK and provides a forum for undergraduate and Masters students to share their ideas and network. 

In receiving the award, Dr Dee follows in the footsteps of her father who was awarded an OBE for services to equality in 2002.

Dr Dee said: “I’m extremely proud to have my contribution recognised in this way, and receiving this award for equalities work feels particularly special to me as it reflects the recognition given to my father over twenty years ago, when I was setting out on my academic career.

“The Lovelace Colloquium has been a big part of my life and it is very nice to be recognised for work that has provided a platform for thousands of women and non-binary students to share their ideas with their computing contemporaries in a supportive environment. I would also like to acknowledge the support provided by Aberystwyth University and the Department of Computer Science who have generously supported the event by giving me and colleagues the time required to develop the event and by encouraging our students to attend. It is all about the students in the end, after all.”

Professor Jon Timmis, Vice-Chancellor of Aberystwyth University has congratulated Dr Dee on her success: “On behalf of the University I extend our warmest congratulations to Dr Dee on being awarded an MBE. Her dedication to promoting equality in computer science is remarkable and this award rightly acknowledges her achievements in giving women and non-binary students a voice in a world traditionally dominated by men.

“That our University has given her and colleagues the time needed to develop the Lovelace Colloquium over the years and encourage our students to participate and succeed, should be a source of great pride for everyone here at Aberystwyth University.”

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Described by the BCS as a ‘women in computing activist’, Dr Dee has also held many workshops for children and families, women returner workshops and been involved with the AI accelerator programme.

Over the years she has received many accolades including the BCS meritorious services award and a Suffrage Science Award for Mathematics and Computing , and has been inducted into the Computer Weekly Women in Tech Hall of Fame.