Three W&L students, one faculty member, and one alumna attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The conference was the largest in GHC’s history with over 4800 attendees!
Sam O’Dell ’15 and Cory Walker ’15 were awarded scholarships to attend the conference. Ginny Huang ’14 was waitlisted for a scholarship, but W&L provided some funding to help defray the cost for her attending. All three students had interviews with a variety of companies at the conference and were inspired and learned a lot from the various sessions.
Alumna Camille Cobb ’12–now a graduate student at the University of Washington–attended the conference through a scholarship that she earned as a Google intern this past summer.
The first time attending the conference is always an amazing experience–just ask Huang, who said, “I think the two best things about the conference are that 1) You get access to a lot of Computer Science opportunities! I always know that there is a great need for programmers in the market, but I never got a lot of actual access to companies that are looking for them and 2) I love all those gifts! My advice for people who attend in the future is only bring one shirt in your luggage to attend the first day of the conference. Grab the rest in the conference! It’s a good way to reduce the weight you’re carrying.”
The second time attending isn’t too shabby either, according to O’Dell, “Going to Grace Hopper again this year was absolutely incredible. I loved going to the sessions and learning about the industry I hope to work in when I graduate. In addition, I had the chance to interview with a few companies at the conference and was fortunate enough to come away with an internship for next summer. The conference is definitely a great experience and full of opportunities for women hoping to go into computer science after they graduate.”
Professor Sara Sprenkle served as the co-chair of the poster session with Kaoutar El Maghraoui from IBM. Their work included organizing the Student Research Competition, which involved 28 student participants–6 of whom became semi-finalists and presented their work in another session–and over 30 judges. Sara and Kaoutar were quite pleased with the quality of the posters and presentations and the feedback the judges gave the students.
Walker summarized the experience: “The GHC offers the unique experience of having thousands of experienced women in technology gathered in one place, all willing to share their experiences and advice with one another. The opportunity to learn from technical women of all different backgrounds was to me the most worthwhile part of the Celebration.”