InterSpeech 2017: Time to say hello to workshops!

Hej och välkomna till InterSpeech 2017:s första evenemang! (Let’s learn some Swedish words together)

We warmly welcome you to the first events of InterSpeech 2017 at the Royal Institute of Technology, a.k.a KTH. This university was founded in 1827.


KTH is one of the best technical and engineering universities not only in Sweden, but also throughout Europe. On August 20, KTH TMH opened its doors to (young) researchers from all across the world, so they could share their experience and wisdom with colleagues. 2392063474_7bddae5d8b_b

KTH hosted two big events:

  • The second workshop for Young Female Researchers in Speech Science & Technology (YFRS)
  • The 3rd Doctoral Consortium

You can find more information about those workshops and participants here!

In brief, the idea of YFRS is to foster interest in research among women at the undergraduate or master level and to increase the number of women who are interested in getting a PhD degree in speech science or technology areas.

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The idea of the Doctoral Consortium is to provide students working on speech-related topics with an opportunity to discuss their doctoral research with experts. During the event, they receive constructive feedback on their PhD projects from leading researchers. This event was organized by the Student Advisory Committee of the International Speech Communication Association (ISCA-SAC).

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Our researchers have had a long and very productive day! You can see photos of workshops, panels, poster sessions and coffee breaks. You can ask us why we have mentioned coffee breaks. Do not be surprised, rather go Google “why coffee breaks are good for productivity”.

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We asked what participants expect from InterSpeech 2017. Most of them said that they are interested in meeting new people and old friends/colleagues, as well as figuring out new trends in speech science and computer technologies. Some of our respondents have specified their expectations in the framework of the YFRS workshop. Heidi Christensen’s thoughts on YFRS: “we are hoping to inspire young women into thinking about getting a PhD degree in the speech and technology science.” She hopes that young women will choose a “career in academia or research position in industry, and it should show them that a lot of people are like themselves and just give them a safe environment.” Jody Kreiman mentioned that she is interested in recruiting some postdocs. Ailbhe Ní Chasaide emphasized that she is inspired by the things that students do: “You get so many ideas, so you could recharge your battery”. Abeer Alwan underlined that InterSpeech is “a very good conference in terms of representing many disciplines in speech science. One of my favourite conferences”. Julia Hirschberg says she loves to go to InterSpeech: “I go every year, because I see all my friends, find out what is going on in the fields of speech and computer science.” She also mentioned that it is a useful way to see what kinds of research are being conducted.

The young scientists attending this event are there mostly to gain insight into new methods or to receive feedback on their ongoing work, but also to receive a global view of women in science and talk about research in general. Our professors agree that there are not enough women in science. With YFRS, we can hopefully improve this situation! Heidi Christensen mentioned that “we should not be complacent. There is a lot of things we should be doing and making in speech for seeing great researches in that area.” Julia Hirschberg and Jody Kreiman agree with Heidi Christensen.  Prof. Kreiman discusses the problems of sexual harassment, sexism in general, and male-centric approaches: “Women should to stick together! Partnerships are making researches much more entertaining and making working environment better. It is a good way to improve things more concretely in the academy.” Abeer Alwan emhasizes that science is multidisciplinary nowadays and hopes that more women will be encouraged to work in the field of speech science. According to Ailbhe Ní Chasaide, science and engineering is beginning to attract a lot of women: “there are a lot of interesting questions that you can answer nowadays, that you could not answer 10 years ago”.

Last but not least, here are some tips from the prganizers of YFRS and DC:

Heidi Christensen: “When you look for a PhD position – do some research: what your topic should be, what kind of researcher you want to become, which institution it should be. There are a lot of opportunities everywhere!”

Jody Kreiman:” Work really hard, do not let anybody say that you cannot do it. Do not pay too much attention to negative things that other people say; use your own judgments and work really hard. That is the best advice.”

Abeer Alwan: ”I hope that everybody finds their passion.”

Ailbhe Ní Chasaide: “Don’t be scared. Just move forward.”

Julia Hirschberg:” You should always do what you love to do! You should figure out how best to do that! Do not be afraid to change your research field. I used to be a historian and then I fell in love with computer science. Changes are always possible.”

Chloé Pou-Prom: “Do research! It is very fun!”

Florian Metze: “Do what you like to do. it is going to be much more easy!”

Christophe d’Alessandro:” I am working in the fields between speech and singing. So, I would be happy to see more singing researchers.”

Angel Mario Castro Martinez:” I am a very active person, so I always say “yes” to opportunities. You will never know what some opportunity will look like until you do not face it. Develop your skills, especially social, presenting and organising skill. Try to do more than you think you can do.”


  • Heidi Christensen, lector/ associate professor at the university of Sheffield in UK;
  • Jody Kreiman, professor of linguistics at UCLA Health in LA;
  • Abeer Alwan, professor of electrical engeninring at UCLA in LA;
  • Ailbhe Ní Chasaide, professor of Phonetics at Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin, Ireland;
  • Julia Hirschberg, of Computer Science at Columbia university;
  • Yashi-Yee K. Logan, master student, starting PhD this fall at Georgia Institute of Technology;
  • Esther Ramdinmawii, first year master, Indian Institute of Information Technology Chittoor, Sri City, A. P., India;
  • Seema Ghising, master student, Indian Institute of Information and Technology Chittoor, A.P., India;
  • Elin Larsen, master student, Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, starting PhD this fall;
  • Chloé Pou-Prom, University of Toronto;
  • Florian Metze, associate Research Professor at Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science;
  • Christophe d’Alessandro, permanent researcher at Paris University;
  • Angel Mario Castro Martinez, PhD The Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg/ global coordinator ISCA;


By Tatiana Volkova of Stockholm University.


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