Last year's conference was a whirlwind of amazing experiences. I was a bit star-struck: I got to meet such amazing people, from the girls I stayed with, to a VP of Cisco Systems and the President of the ACM, to the first woman to win the Turing Award, Fran Allen. I'd never attended anything like it before, and it made quite the impression on me. So the first reason to look forward to this year's conference is last year's conference, and that I know this year's will be even better (wait, is that two reasons?).
As my friends know, when I get excited about something, I have to share it with them. I've told just about everyone I can think of about GHC. I got started during last year's event; I blogged about it on my personal blog, told my friends about it, and made presentations about the conference to my labmates at school and to our Women in Computing Science (WICS) group. When this year's conference was announced and applications opened for the Google Global Community Scholarship, I got going again, emailing, Facebooking, and IM-ing like crazy. Which leads me to the second reason to look forward to this year's GHC - we have eight fabulous female students attending this year's GHC from SFU (my school).
All this Facebooking led me to meet three wonderful students from around the world, with whom I'm collaborating on a Birds of a Feather session at this year's GHC. We're hoping to help people learn how to start their own technology groups for women and also learn from those who attend our workshop. This is my first conference presentation and first international collaboration, and I'm excited about both. Which is the third reason to be excited about this year's GHC!
Ok, so it's pretty clear I'm excited. GHC is full of such wonderful opportunities, and I think we should do everything we can to get as many people involved as we can. If you're wondering how you can help spread the word, or get your own delegation organized, there are a few things you can do:
- Blog your experiences. You never know who will read it. Better yet, let your department know you are going; maybe they can help advertise your posts. You can reach a lot of students this way!
- If you don't have a Women in Computing Science/Women in Engineering/Women in Technology group, start one! It can be as easy as meeting for coffee or going for lunch. Let the group know about GHC and keep them updated on your trip so they'll be excited for next year.
- If you've found a deal on airfare or similar travel arrangements, let others know. Traveling together is a great way to get to know people from your department better! Sometimes it's cheaper, too.
- Read the Anita Borg Newsletter, join the Grace Hopper 2008 Facebook group, and encourage your friends/peers/colleagues to do the same. There is a wealth of information on how to prepare for the conference, what to do when you're there, travel tips, etc etc. It's also a great way to network - you may even find people to stay with! I find these groups invaluable and often find myself passing on information I find in them.
Thanks for reading this far! I'd love to hear the reasons you're looking forward to this year's GHC; please let us know in the comments below! I'll also keep blogging up to and during the conference, and I'll try to keep the posts shorter. Hope to see you there! ;)