Pioneering Music Technology Student Wins Outstanding Graduate Woman of Distinction Award

                                                    Ikkache(Right), posing with Kayla Townsend (Left), chair of the WLC committee.

On her first day of class at Georgia Tech, Léa Ikkache noticed something that concerned her. Of all the new Music Technology graduate students that were introducing themselves, only two of them were women, including herself.

In classic Georgia Tech fashion, she identified a problem, and immediately set out to fix it.

Ikkache co-founded the Women in Music Technology group in Spring of 2016 with postdoctoral fellow Anna Xambo. Dedicated to raising awareness of gender imbalance in Music Tech and working proactively to address those issues, the group has garnered support from a large number of partners across campus, such as ADVANCE, the Women’s Resource Center, and Institute Diversity.

Every year, the Georgia Tech Women’s Leadership conference identifies five women who demonstrate exemplary leadership abilities, uplift the Georgia Tech community, and inspire others to do the same. Ikkache has won the award for the Outstanding Graduate Woman of Distinction for 2017.

The Georgia Tech Women’s Leadership Conference says winners like Ikkache, “demonstrate exemplary leadership abilities. These are women who lead with heart, creating innovative solutions while inspiring and uplifting the entire Georgia Tech Community.”

                            Ikkache (Right) with Women in Music Tech co-founder Anna Xambo (Left), and fellow graduate student Shi Cheng (Middle).

While the Women in Music Technology student group is centered around raising the awareness of Music Technology among women, Ikkache is also proud of the strong support they get from the male population in Music Technology.

For the group’s inaugural Spring Concert, Ikkache said very few volunteers signed the concert set up sheet. She was sure she wouldn’t have enough help. But as the show was about to start, circumstances changed dramatically.

“Maybe two or three hours before the concert started, we saw a massive amount of Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology students coming to help. Almost the entire department came. I was really moved to see that everyone cared and were willing to spend time on it. We had a lot of fun,” she said.

In addition to Women in Music Technology, Ikkache is the community manager for the Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology’s Earsketch group. In that role, she works at outreach events, attends conferences to make presentations, and coordinates press attention, including a mention from the White House in December. She trains teachers in the Earsketch software, and additionally plans on leading an exploration into entrepreneurial opportunities for the project, with the ultimate goal being a start-up.

Ikkache is also a member of the College of Design diversity council that was created this year, where her commitment and ideas have made an early impact.

As for her intention for the prize she was awarded, Ikkache was typically straightforward.

“I plan on donating most of the prize money to Women in Music Tech, and buying my own copy of Ableton (digital audio workstation software) with the rest,” She said.