The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. This year, the DRW team was there, and we came back energized by meeting so many talented women. We also sponsored two students from the University of Chicago and Carleton College to attend, and spoke with them about their experiences:
I’m a senior in computer science at a small liberal arts school. I love my school, but the opportunities in technology are more limited than at large schools known for computer science. The Grace Hopper Celebrationof Women in Computing is the perfect place for me to get the type of exposure and networking that I need to start my career.
The second I got there, I hit the ground running. I reunited with friends from last year and mentors from my internship, and met new people from diverse backgrounds.
Throughout the two days, I listened to a lot of really interesting tech talks. My favorite panel was one on virtual reality. The technologists on the panel saw limitless potential in the technology, which showed me the power of thinking beyond the current application.
There are surprises in every corner of the conference. The experience can be overwhelming, so I tried not to rush around too much. I tooktime to relax and enjoy myself – it really is a celebration! I also found a lot of value out of going to some of the smaller talks on topics outside my current interests. I walked away from every session processing new information.
Heading home after the conference, I was exhausted – admittedly also due to my weekend at Universal Studios. But, on the plane home, I found myself sharing highlights with other attendees and strategizing how to share what I learned.
I’m a board member of the Lovelace Club, an organization dedicated to promoting gender diversity and inclusion in computer science. Our organization is going to host a debrief on Grace Hopper so we can all sharewhat we learned. The community we built at Grace Hopper will continue back at school, and into our careers.
My first experience at Grace Hopper exceeded every expectation. I was inspired by the keynotes, learned about incredible new tech at the panel sessions and made important connections at the career fair. I think I could go back to the conference at any stage in my career and learn new ways to better myself and the code I write.
The community I built at Grace Hopper will truly impact my career trajectory. I learned so much from the experiences of other women in technology.
Dr. Fei-Fei Li delivered a particularly impactful keynote onthe first day. She told her personal story of being a full-time student atPrinceton and running a laundromat a night. Dr. Li is the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence and Vision Labs and an associate professor at Stanford. She sees A.I. as a deeply human science and she provided interesting technical insight into how she builds and researches technology with that in mind.
Technology continues to have a huge impact on our society, Dr. Li stressed the importance of thoughtfulness as you build technology for the world. I admire her hard work at dedication to computer science and uplifting women in tech. I would like to emulate this as I start my career.
I took my first computer science class just a few years ago when I started school at the University of Chicago. I really wish I had exposure to technology at a younger age. Creating opportunities for girls and young women is the best way to close the gender gap in technology. That concept really resonated with me. Heading back to campus after the conference, I’m actively looking for ways to get girls coding.