The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Earlier this fall, W&L’s Computer Science Department was fortunate to have five senior computer science students attend the GHC in Phoenix, Arizona for the 14th Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC). The W&L attendees starting from the left (Cory Walker, Madeline Forrestel, Gabi Tremo, Sam O’Dell Paul Jang and Alicia Barger ‘13) are all senior computer science majors who presented projects at the poster session on Wednesday night of the conference. This is a record number of attendees from W&L, a trend we hope will continue because the conference is such a valuable experience for attendees.
Madeline received a scholarship from GHC and Paul received a scholarship from his summer research program to attend the program. The other attendees received funding from the Provost’s Office and the Computer Science department.
Of the conference attendees, 483—or approximately 6 percent—were men, including Paul Jang, the first W&L man to attend GHC. While the conference focuses on celebrating the achievements of incredible women in computing, this year the celebration incorporated the first ever male keynote and plenary Male Allies panel.
The students even met up with Alicia Bargar, a 2013 graduate and current graduate student at Georgia Tech.
Here is a story from Cory Walker about her experience at the GHC in October:
One of my favorite talks was the one by Jo Miller, on overcoming office politics. Her talk was so crowded that it was in one of the largest ballrooms, she held two sessions, and we were turned away from the first one because it was overcrowded. She talked about different ways to think of office politics in a positive light and use it to get ahead. She also used a technique called a Shadow Organization map to identify key areas for improvement.
The most interesting person to come by my poster was a man whose brother (now deceased) went to W&L before women were even admitted. He said his brother was against the integration, but then we talked about how much the school has improved since that time. It was interesting hearing this perspective of W&L at a women’s computer science conference in Phoenix, AZ.
It was my third year going to the conference, and as always, I had a wonderful time and got many interviews from the companies there. And of course, I’m very grateful to W&L and our Computer Science Department for helping pay our way.
Attendee Madeline Forrestel had this experience.
“It was truly a privilege having the opportunity to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration this year. I was wonderfully overwhelmed by the number of brilliant women, young and old, who surrounded me. I have never left an event feeling more inspired than I did leaving Phoenix. One of the most outstanding elements of the conference was the career fair. It was truly motivating to see just how many opportunities are out there and how enthusiastic and supportive companies are toward welcoming women into the industry”.
Please contact the computer science department if you would be interested in helping to sponsor future attendance of W&L students at the conference.