Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ed & Ashley's 5 MInute Show - Episode 2

I know only a few hours have passed, but the next episode of Ed & Ashley's 5 Minute Show is now available! What can I say, when you are super pumped about something (GHC) it's easy to get a little over productive. :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Introductions All Around

With GHC only a day away, I figure it's high time I introduce myself. I am the Ashley that Ed briefly mentioned in her introductory post way back at the beginning of August.

We both attend DePauw University, where I am currently a junior. Ed and I met back in CS1 and became fast friends as we pulled typical CS all-nighters to complete our projects. (Heh. Looking back, those were the days: projects literally took only a night to program.) Fast forward a couple years, and we are elbow deep in CS involvement!

For GHC, Ed and I have decided to video blog our experience. I am proud to bring you the first episode of Ed & Ashley's 5 Minute Show:

Friday, September 26, 2008

Conversation Techniques

We've all heard networking is important!

But what if I'm shy, awkward, feel insecure about my language skills...

I've heard chatty people give advice like: "find someone in the room that isn't talking with anyone else". Shy people like me know that is bogus! We will be both standing there looking at each other, not knowing what to say. Not fun!

There are some easy things you can do without becoming someone else, or spending a lot of time learning new skills to improve your connection ability and confidence.

A conference provides the perfect opportunity to pre-plan some conversations. You can create very useful questions that fit the context of the conference and get a conversation started.

I think about what I'm interested in, and some of the issues I face so that the conversations I start are useful for me, and the other person.

  • I'm interested in what inspires and motivates others
  • Interdisciplinary technologies

Then I think up some conversations I would be interested in having:

  • You work at X. Do you like it? What do you work on? Have you always worked in that area?/What other things have you worked on? Is this a good area for someone like me to consider entering? Do you have a graduate degree? Why/why not? Do you think it would be to your advantage to have more schooling in this area?
  • I see you are a PhD student. Wow. How did you decide that you really wanted to get a PhD? What is your research area? What about your research do you find the most interesting? What about the program is different than you thought before you started? How did you pick your school/program/adviser?
  • Did you go to the talk on Bioinformatics? I missed it - I had volunteer duties. Do you know anyone that went to the talk? What did you do instead for the morning session slot? How was that? What did you come away from the other talk with? OR What can you remember about the talk? which of the speakers was the most interesting? If I wanted to work in this area, who do you think I should send e-mail to? Do you think it would be ok to just e-mail her?

Assume that conversation might get derailed, and let it go to new places. You can come back to some of those conversations if you need to.

Getting back to what you were saying about X....

Assume that many of your questions will be reflected back at you. Don't be surprised if you are asked "So what about you?"Conversations often go that way. It is generally a good thing.

TRY to answer more than is asked of you. It gives others something to be genuinely interested in.

How long have you been at U of X?

I've been there 3 years, and I really like it. My classes are
all really small.... And the computing program is closely linked with
the biology department. The winters are cold, which is good for

Turn any piece of information or answer into a broader question: how, why, do you know if that relates to Y, who else works on this, etc?

It is OK to open with something very generic and simple!
Have a line, and a general response that shares something about you. You can give them your response if they don't give you much to go on.

Hi, having fun at the conference?

I think it is great, but I'm kind of overwhelmed. I'm the only one from my
school and I don't really know anyone yet. What about you?

As the conference progresses you will feel more comfortable with your conversations and be able to modify your question set based on what you have gotten out of the conference or really want to gain from the conference.

Good Luck!

Answering Jeopardy Question 4 :Who is Mary Lou Jepsen?

Thanks to my co-blogger (funny! instead of co-worker) Ritu Arora for asking us these
questions in Jeopardy. I want to share with you the answer. I start to read the name of Mary
Lou Jepsen since I was in college, but when I list for the master I take a course, I think it was the first course, where I read a paper of Nicholas Negroponte, where he mentioned Mary Lou Jepsen. I read about her iniative of Pixel Qi, and another reference: Wikipedia(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Lou_Jepsen) where the biography of Mary Lou Jepsen captivate my attention. I mean I admire her, she's an example of how we could Build a better World. I invite you to read more about her and keep waiting for the posts and comments of her conference on Grace Hopper 2008.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Where Are You Traveling From?

Reading some of the posts on the Facebook site, I've seen messages from people coming from the US, Australia, and the UK. My own presentation group has people coming from Canada, India, Singapore, and Mexico. It's exciting to have an opportunity to meet people who are studying in different places and see such diversity in Computing!

With less than a week left until the conference, I'm curious as to where you're traveling from, and wondering who is making the longest journey... who knows, maybe you'll find someone here who is coming from the same place as you, that you didn't know before!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Networking to Build a Better World

To be honest, I'm an engineer and I struggle with the idea that networking is self-serving. I KNOW making solid connections is very important for everything I hope to accomplish, but....
It is much easier to do something for someone else than it is myself.

Maybe you feel the same, or maybe you just want to make a bigger impact in the world. Networking doesn't need to about you. It can be about others. I find it much easier, more comfortable, and more rewarding to help someone else than to ask for help.

Any connection is someone you can potentially help with something in the future. And it doesn't matter if they are professional, personal, customer, client, corporate, friend, foe...

So today I'm encouraging everyone to comment with at least one way they have helped someone else through your connections. OR some suggestion for helping others at GHC. I will start with a couple of examples:

  • Got my friend Caroline a short term contract job just when she got laid off and really needed a boost.
  • Got donated supplies for another friend's non-profit project from my hobby supplier.


  • I plan to connect people with mentor-mentee possibilities.
  • I plan to ask the question, "So what do you want to be when you grow up", and be a sounding board for their thoughts.

Please add your thoughts to the discussion!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Getting Involved

As many of you may know, this is my first GHC.  I am so excited to go; I've only heard spectacular things about this upcoming experience.  I'm honored to have received a scholarship to go since that was able to free up funds to allow one of my fellow students to come with me!
When I first decided I wanted to go to GHC earlier this year, I really wanted to be able to participate in the conference.  I prepared and submitted a BoF proposal.  Unfortunately, my proposal wasn't accepted.  This was rather disappointing for me.  After looking at the program though, I could see that absolute best of best will be presenting.  I've come to conclusion that if you have to get beat, get beat by the best!  I know that all the sessions are going to be riveting!  I wish I could be in five places at once so I could go to them all!
Because I wouldn't be participating in the conference in the "official" capacity, I started to look around for other ways that I could participate in the conference.  As is turns out, there are lots and lots of opportunities to participate in the conference, even if your name isn't on the program schedule!  I've been able to contribute to and follow this blog.  This has really helped calm some first-timer nerves (Thanks Kate for the great posts!).  I also follow GHC on Twitter and offered to send updates during the conference!  Then I realized that I can also help with video blogging.  I got a camcorder last Christmas, so that would be perfect for me!  Ashley (my fellow student) and I are planning on teaming up to make some great videos while we're at GHC.  I'm also planning on taking notes at all the sessions I go to, in order to contribute to the GHC wiki.  That will be a great resource for me to take home and use with DePauw's Women in Computer Science group too.
The opportunities for participating in GHC are endless!  I'm so elated that I'll be able to contribute so much to the conference.  Being able to participate so much has given me a small sense of ownership of GHC and I want my participation in GHC to help make it the best GHC that it can be!
I love being involved in the GHC community.  It's so supportive and the connections made with other women are so valuable.  If participating in GHC sounds like something you can and want to do, I highly recommend it.  I believe there is a deadline of September 18th, so you have to hurry!  Check out all the ways to get involved on the GHC Community home page!
See everyone soon!  —Ed

Monday, September 15, 2008

Countdown to GHC!

GHC is now less than a month away, and I've been trying my best to keep up with what's going on in various places. But as the conference looms closer, I've seen several comments about worried first-time GHC attendees: whether they are nervous about being in a foreign country, anxious about meeting such amazing women, or intimidated about coming alone.

It's hard to imagine because it is such a different experience (one perhaps many of us are unused to), but GHC brings together such a diverse group of women, from so many backgrounds, fields, and occupations (students, industry people, academics) that it really would be hard to find yourself out of place. Last year, I felt an amazing sense of community almost immediately upon arrival at the hotel, and I've read accounts from other attendees who have expressed similar sentiments.

It's easy to meet people too! Last year's GHC was my first, and I was pretty new to networking at conferences. But I met people and made some lasting friendships in some unexpected places. For example, a few of us were staying in a condo and had some extra room, so we advertised on the Facebook GHC group for additional occupants. We found two lovely girls from Toronto and we are still in touch today! We had an awesome time and I learned a lot from them. There were some other students from my own school that I hadn't really had a chance to talk to before, and I got to know them much better as well. Sharing a room, car, or making travel plans together is a great way to meet new friends, and if you are looking to try it out, there is a new discussion topic on this year's Facebook group for just this purpose, so check it out!

There will also be lots of other opportunities to meet people informally, whether you are chatting between sessions, enjoying the banquet, or partying at the Sponsor Night (speaking of which, does anyone have any theories about this year's party?). If you are a Hopper, get to know your fellow Hoppers! Attend the lunches, or make a point of chatting to your neighbour at breakfast. You won't be disappointed!

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Would you like to play jeopardy? Ok, here's something for fun that should be a piece of cake if you have aquainted yourself with the conference website. The correct responses are towards the end of the post.

Section: Trivia
Points: 100

Answer 1)
Though controversial, the origin of the term "debugging" is often attributed to her. The following quotes are also attributed to her:

"It's easier to ask forgiveness than it is to get permission."

"A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is built for."

"I believe in having an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out."

Section: Trivia
Points: 200

Answer 2)
He is the recepient of the Grace Murray Hopper Award for the year 2007. About the Grace Murray Hopper Award: An award for $35,000 is awarded every year to an outstanding young computer professional who is selected on the basis of a single recent major technical or service contribution. The award recepient should be 35 years of age or less at the time the qualifying contribution was made.

Section: Trivia
Points: 300

Answer 3)
Making Waves.

Section: Trivia
Points: 400

Answer 4)
She is the CEO of Pixel Qi and the founding CTO of One Laptop Per Child (OLPC).

Section: Trivia
Points: 500

Answer 5)
She is currently serving as Chair of SIGPLAN, which is the Special Interest Group on Programming Languages for the ACM. She serves on the steering committee of CRA-W, which is the Computing Research Association’s Committee on the Status of Women, where she works to encourage more women to pursue research careers in computer science.

Question 1)
Who was Grace Murray Hopper?

Question 2)
Who is Vern Paxson?

Question 3)
What was the theme of the Grace Hopper Conference in the year 2006?

Question 4)
Who is Mary Lou Jepsen?

Question 5)
Who is Kathleen Fisher?

Monday, September 8, 2008

GHC - an opportunity for life changing connections

I had the great fortune to attend the first Grace Hopper Celebration in 1994, just as I was finishing my Ph.D. I was looking to begin my career and looking for ways to be successful.

I felt so comfortable at the conference, the speakers passionate about their work and I met so many amazing women that I wish I could be like, and many that I personally could aspire to be.

Since I was looking to my future, I looked to connect with those further in their career. Most were 40-ish and doing well, but still struggling. Since then, almost everyone of those women has taken leaps forward. They are now department heads, deans, and presidents of universities. They have started companies, non-profits, joined the executive ranks, and encouraged and mentored thousands of younger technologists. I truly believe that the Grace Hopper Celebration has played a big role in their success. It gives us all role models and colleagues (around the world) that share our passion for technology and for building a better world. It gives us new ideas on how to lead, inspire, and take chances to accomplish things we are passionate about.

Since I've found GHC to be such a wonderful place to build long term professional and personal relationships, I'm working on the CONNECT project and encouraging everyone attending GHC to network and build friendships. You will see more posts from me on this as we get closer to the conference.

For now, I just want to give you the basic info on the CONNECT project, and encourage you to sign up.


CONNECT at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

Looking for a fun way to improve and expand your personal and career network? Try CONNECT, a new innovative system that will be in place for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. With CONNECT, you can set networking goals, receive help to ensure you meet your goals, and learn the latest networking tips. The best part about CONNECT – it’s free!

Here’s how it works:

Ø Register at http://toilers.mines.edu/connect/. Enter your information, who you would like to meet while at the conference and any difficulties you have networking with others.

Ø You will receive a conference badge with a bar code on it. Throughout the conference, when you meet someone who you like to exchange contact information with, you will be able to scan each other’s badges using the CONNECT SCANNER.

Ø All attendees will wear a colored ribbon corresponding to their respective work area (e.g., Assistant Professor or Software Engineer). These ribbons will help you make the connections with others you want to make while at the GHC conference.

Ø Each night you will be receive updates on the status of your networking goals based and list of connections you've made. These emails will include a summary of the types of people you have met so far and suggestions on the types of people you should try to meet the next day.

Ø Networking tips tailored to your needs will also be sent via email to help you improve your connections with others at the conference.

Ø At the end of the conference, you will receive contact information of the other attendees you connected with. In addition, you will receive tips on maintaining the connections you made over the long run.

With CONNECT, you will develop your networking skills, gain valuable career contacts, and make immportant connections with those in your field whether they are peers, mentors, mentees, or role models. Register for CONNECT today and take a step towards improving yourself and creating long-lasting relationships with others in the computing industry!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Role models

I'm a Ph.D. student and have been to GHC a few times. This year, I'm especially excited about the keynotes by two highly successful leaders. The speakers are role models for many of us, living examples of what women can and do achieve.

Instead of letting us worship these and other key figures from afar, however, GHC in many ways forces us to see the "human" side of today's leaders in computing. Not only can we party with them if we like, but sessions such as the imposter panel suggest that yes, even they know that familiar feeling of being a fraud! And no, all other aspects of successful people's lives need not be perfect, as indicated by how to manage your career when life gets in the way.

In other words, those we hope to emulate are in many ways no different from us. I should really stop referring to them as "them"! Certainly they're brilliant, determined, visionary and so on, but they are not super-human. That means you and I also stand a chance of achieving similar successes and becoming role models for future generations.

In fact, I like to think that each of us is already a role model in her own way. Teachers, professors and women in industry influence students. Students influence younger students. Even the youngest of students must have some influence -- on friends or siblings, for instance. Of course, it is up to us to try to make our influence positive. Hence I'd like to cheer for the panels on the artemis project and using robots in middle schools, where undergraduates have worked to pass on their skills and enthusiasm to schoolgirls. Also interesting is inspiring girls in technology: how to make every outreach a success.

But beyond these organized activities, women in computing inspire each other simply by being themselves. This especially struck me at past Grace Hopper Conferences, where an overwhelming positive attitude prevailed. It's hard to describe, but in that ambience, anything is possible. You may still feel like an imposter, but you know you can pull it off!


Hi Dear Systers and dear visitors! My name is Martha Cisneros and I'm an postgraduate student of Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education wich is one of the largest and most important private, nonsectarian and coeducational multiple-campus universities in Latin America with over 91,000 students at high school, undergraduate and postgraduate level. Based in Monterrey, Mexico, the Institute has 33 campuses in 25 cities throughout the country and is Spanish-speaking world, having one of the top graduate business schools in the region and being known for becoming the first university ever connected to the Internet in Latin America and the one of the leaders in patent applications among Mexican universities.

BTW, what I want to share with you, is that for first time in the story of our Institute (today we are celebrating 65 years) a student group (a very special student group) will be attending to the Grace Hopper Conference. Thanks to BJ Wishinsky and Internet kindness we connect ABI last year and since then we are waiting the GHC Celebration of this year. It's a very good opportunity to share knowledge, share experiences that embraces our acts that contribute to development of our region as commited learning citizens. This very special student group that will assist to GHC is called Mujeres en Tecnología (Women in Technology) nicknamed MenTe (Spanish for mind). Students led by Alicia Chong focused on involved more students to develop more plans to make girls active on IT field. We are very proud to assist to GHC even when we are going to have a very tired trip: bus from Monterrey, Mexico to San Antonio, Texas and then fly from Texas to Colorado. GHC worths it! We know that we are going back with the backpage full of stories to share.

Monterrey, our city is having a marvelous development in relationship with technology. We are becoming an International City of Knowledge. This project seeks to create a better future for Nuevo Leon, our state, localizated in the Northwest part of Mexico. Our Economic growth is the result of innovation, within the framework of an alliance between Society, Businesses, Academic Institutions and the Government; in a city with social and cultural infrastructures for the service of its citizens. Clearly we are part of this movement and we could bring ideas to improve our participation in this or more projects.

I can't wait.We can't hardly wait. Hardly wait.

Note: You can check my spanish version on my own blog: http://doandmktit.blogspot.com/

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Computing- the X factor

1. a peculiar or otherwise dis likable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
2. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.

I intend to talk about the [2] kind of geeks. But before that lets add the true characteristics to it. They are the people with the capability of converting coffee to binary. We all have heard the legends of softwares that were written living on coffee and pizza and spending nights in a sleeping bag. Hence, coffee holds a very respectable and high place in the life of a geek. Coffee mugs with especial embellishments marks the love and respect we hold for them. The next important entity in life of geek are the t-shirts which have claimed the status of dress-code in computing industry. Software are about lines of code and efficiency to encrypting logic in minimum number of lines. T-shirts bear the mark of their astuteness in the form of lines of wisdom, sarcasm and beliefs ( open source, blogging and whatever).
Computers and gadgets are extensions to their physical being and hence something so implicit that cant be parted from their existence. They don't just dwell in physical world, they have a virtual identity which they protect with all their hacks.

There is something more to a girl geeks than all this. Her competence on the keyboard is no less, rather it has been studied that the code women write is more legible and well structured than that written by men. The testosterone driven code is often too convoluted and complex. So, if your software is suffering from piling legacy code which is not to be touched and fragile, may be adding a women resource can solve the problem! She brings in the power of simplicity to the most complex problems. Recall,you have to earn your complexities

Are you a geek... flaunt it!

* ohh just to let you know - GHC is just not just about meeting the geeks its also about adding to your wardrobe and embellished mugs collection... ;) another reason to come!

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