1st Workshop for Women and Underrepresented Minorities (WiNLP) at ACL 2017 - discussion tables
ACL 2017 – Vancouver, Canada
Mission of Mentoring Lunch
• Advice for next career stages and difficult decisions
• Best practices for common challenges researchers face
• “Group therapy” – everyone struggles / has struggled at some
point, even now established researchers
• Opportunity to network with mentors and other attendees
§ Encourage cohort forming
• Lunch round-table event
§ Salon 3 – right next door
§ Grab a plate and find a table – topic-based and sponsorship tables
• Topic-based tables: seed questions with 2 mentors
• Sponsorship tables: 1-3 representatives from each sponsor
§ Move around
§ ~12:00 – 13:00
• 1-on-1 mentoring
§ Introduction emails were sent to mentors/mentees
§ Matching based on research interest
§ Meet here after the talks (17:30) or during the day
• Not a mentor yet? Volunteer for next year’s event!
Table 1: Establishing collaborations & networking
Mentors: Ted Pedersen, Svitlana Volkova
• How can I initiate research-inspiring conversations with my colleagues?
• What makes a good collaborator? (How can I be one? How can I tell if someone else will
• When should I make someone a coauthor?
• Establishing interdisciplinary collaborations and doing interdisciplinary work
• How can I get noticed and express opinions without feeling bossy?
• How can I tell if a favor is too much to ask of a network connection?
• What is the best way to approach someone at a conference?
Table 2: Scientific communication
Mentors: Karin Verspoor, Lisa Michaud
• How can I communicate my work to a lay audience?
• Fairness, accountability, transparency of ML from a communications perspective
• Which audiences should I reach out to communicate my work?
• How do I overcome my fear of giving talks?
Table 3: Choosing between academia and industry
Mentors: Martha Palmer, Wei Xu
• Benefits and downsides of both
• What if I like doing research but don’t like teaching so much?
• Your story - how did you choose between academia and industry
• Transitioning between both, both directions
Table 4: Doing research in industry & keeping up with academia
while in industry
Mentors: Daniel Dahlmeier, Pascale Fung
• How can I balance the perhaps conflicting needs of short-term immediate
results with tangible profits vs. long-term research goals?
• How to pick a job conducive to research
• Challenges of keeping up with academia while in industry
• Maintaining academic collaborations
• How to keep publishing
Table 5: Getting a faculty position
Mentors: Hal Daumé III, Nanyun Peng
• What should I do at various stages of grad student / postdoc life to prepare for
an academic job?
• How do I decide where to apply to? How important are factors such as prestige
of university, existing NLP group, strong tech industry close by, etc.?
• Preparing for the interview
• Your job search experience
• What do you know now that you wish you knew before getting a faculty
Table 6: Surviving graduate school
Mentors: Liang Huang, Ndapa Nakashole
• What were/are your biggest obstacles to progress and how did/do I overcome them?
• How do I know if I am making good progress? How does one evaluate academic
• What are good ways to juggle many academic responsibilities? (Teaching, coursework,
• How can I manage my time so that I can make regular progress on research?
• How should I manage my relationship with my advisor?
• How can I deal with failure?
Table 7: Work/Life Balance
Mentors: Marek Rei, Veronika Vincze
• Anything specific to academia / industry?
• How do I know if I am working the right amount?
• How can I stop comparing myself to my colleagues?
• What should I do if my friends, family, partner, or colleagues are
distracting me from research or pressuring me to succeed?
• How can I make more room in my life for friends, family, exercise, or
hobbies? (without hurting my career)
Table 8: Long-term career planning, becoming a research leader & building your
Mentors: Jason Eisner, Bonnie Webber
• What makes for long-term career satisfaction?
• What short-term sacrifices are and are not worth making?
• How can I keep my options open without appearing indecisive?
• What is the best way to handle not getting what you thought was the perfect next step?
• How do I pick a good long-term research agenda?
• How do I inspire people to work on my research agenda?
• How do I recognise impactful (in long term) research trends?
• What is the most important thing I should spend my time on?
• What do you know now, as an established scientist, that you wish you knew as an early-career researcher?
• How do I know which of my skills are most valuable?
• Social media tools - Twitter, LinkedIn?
• How to be your own advocate
Table 9: Being a non-native speaker in the ACL community
Mentors: Jekaterina Novikova, Zhou Yu
• What challenges do non-native speakers in NLP face?
• How can one overcome such challenges?
• Your experience
Table 10: Getting a postdoc position & doing a postdoc
Mentors: Timothy Baldwin, Natalie Schluter
• - Application process
• - What should I do at various stages of grad student life to prepare for an academic job?
• - How do I decide where to apply to? How important are factors such as topic, prestige
of university, NLP group, etc?
• - Your postdoc search experience
• - What do you know now that you wish you knew before doing a postdoc?
• - How do criteria for a good postdoc position differ from those for a good PhD position?
• - What are the most crucial things to achieve during a postdoc?