Monday, March 30, 2009

GHC: The Largest Gathering of Women in Computing You'll Ever See

It's not all that often that you get to see a couple thousand women in computing all gathered together in one location, so you can understand how excited I was about getting myself to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing last year in Keystone, Colorado. Well, I did manage to attend, along with the other three executives at the time from Carleton's Women in Science and Engineering, mostly thanks to the mantra of 'ask, ask, and ask again'! (Check out my posts about last year's conference as well as the CU-WISE blog's posts.)

This is an incredible experience for any woman in computer science or engineering. There are technical talks on a wide variety of topics, and other more general issues are discussed from work-life balance to new outreach initiatives. If you happen to be one of the many males in engineering, this conference might still interest you. Though the guys who attend have to contend with the paradigm shift of suddenly being in the minority, they can learn a lot about how many awesome things women in the field have accomplished, and how they can support us in our endeavours.

But it's not the only the official program that makes this conference so great. Travel with some of your classmates and colleagues, and you will see your friendships blossom. You will also be meeting some of the greatest names in the field (most female, but some male too!), giving you the networking opportunity of a lifetime. Really, no matter how you look at it, this is an event that can't be missed!

The official Grace Hopper website has now opened to scholarship applications! These cover your lodging, registration, and some travel expenses. But you should start working on yours now, since you will need to write essays and get recommendation letters.

Hope to see you in October at this year's conference in Tuscon, Arizona!