Friday, August 29, 2008
"You can walk through walls, can't you Don?" I ask," What is it that all successful women have in common?"
How does being a woman make things difficult? Aren't the norms and standards of success exactly the same for everyone? I don't deny the existence of the glass ceiling, neither the fact that it is difficult to live and breathe the differences ( be it sexual or of any other nature ) without losing what we hold so close,which with women is femininity. The high school nerd is not the one who gets all the heads turning when she enters the premises, nor does she gets the fair share of being the talk of the town ( and at that age that is all that matters!! ). At home, the appreciation that a girl receives for baking a delicious cuisine is much more than when she burns a small piece of paper using a magnifying glass as her first experiment to understand the power of photons. She is gifted a barbie as opposed to a leapfrog. And may be it is this upbringing that later plays its part and the same girl drops out of engineering school and complains about mathematics being so obscure. But then there is this other segment of women who don't.
Grace Hopper Conference is a tribute to and a celebration of the courage that led these women to chase their dreams, stand and fight for things that mattered most to them. Even a dried leaf can flow with the currents, it is the valor of the dreams that swim against the currents of time that mark them as being alive. It is this that we gather to celebrate. Can you imagine the ambiance that the presence of not just one but hundreds of women, warriors and winners will create? You are coming to witness this aren't you?
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
As we enter the season where we celebrate at the Grace Hopper Conference for Women and Computing (GHC), I see technology and it is full of change, and it’s amazing. Some of it is reality, and some is in the not too distant future.
This years’ theme, “We Build a Better World” takes on an importance never seen before at GHC. We are facing some serious issues in 2008 and beyond. I don’t need to list them; we all know what they are. The cool thing about women in technology is when they see a problem they are passionate about, they will not stop until they have found a solution. Women are not about trying to achieve the longest work week of anyone in the cube farm, writing the most lines of code, or trying to figure out how many empty Red Bull cans they can stack without them toppling over -- they are solving REAL problems in a collaborative and unconventional way while doing the 500 other things that life requires. Don’t believe me? I have a couple hundred examples to choose from just in the GHC2008 program alone, but here are a few:
- Gunshot location systems direct police to crime scenes quickly, saving lives and catching criminals. From theory to practice, the technology is incredible.
- How different technologies have benefited humanity by enabling nonprofits to better meet their missions and improve impact such as bringing and teaching computers to students in rural Tanzania.
- The realities of implementing One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) technology in a developing country such as Ghana, West Africa
- Implications of Frontier Nano Science and Technology for the Energy Sector.
- Scaling Applications to Enable Unprecedented Science on Petaflop Platforms and the challenges in scaling applications on BlueGene for enabling biological simulations. The future of medicine can be found here.
Want to look even further into the future? There are over 100 posters in the GHC2008 poster session. Look at what they are working on:
- Exploring a way to multicast data to servers across developing countries while adapting current technology to the physical nature of their network. Allowing those in poverty access to knowledge in remote areas.
- SenseCam is a wearable recording device which captures pictures automatically, and was designed to help individuals with memory impairments.
- We propose a Crisis Web Portal that automates the process of gathering information sharing activity on the Internet, processing it, and presenting it for use during times of disaster.
- “Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN)”are attracting attention by researchers and commercial entities who foresee the importance of these networks in such areas as health monitoring for the elderly and infirm.
- The electrocardiogram (ECG also called EKG) trace expresses cardiac features that are unique to an individual. The ECG varies from person to person. In fact this is the only biometric token which doesn’t exist if the owner is not alive. From the fiducial points, stable features were computed that characterize the uniqueness of an individual. Imagine the possibilities here!
- Volunteer work done by technical professionals for a non-profit, healthcare project in Africa. The specific project that the group works on will be used as context for a broader discussion on the ‘why and how’ of matching particular project needs to technical volunteer skills from an international group.
Had enough? I didn’t think so. This is why I LOVE my job. So, now it’s over to you. Are you coming to GHC to join the conversation? No? Tell us what you or your friends are doing to “build a better world”. Don’t keep it to yourself!
Note: This blog post is also posted on my bosses' blog - she is on vacation and I am filling in.
Your partner in crime - Deanna
Friday, August 22, 2008
Firstly, that women make great leaders. There have been numerous studies in the past decade that discovered something that many of us have long suspected -- that women either equal or out-rank male counterparts in their competence at most leadership skills.
Secondly, that women don’t consistently do enough to clearly demonstrate our value as leaders.
Here’s an example you may relate to. I was speaking with a woman recently who said “I feel like I am the best-kept secret in my company”. She is highly competent in her technical skills, producing a high quality work product and adding value to her company every day, but her leadership potential is going unrecognized.
I call this the Perception Gap. You may have superior skills, experience, and work product, and yet the decision-makers in your company perceive you as being at a lower level than you in fact are. You’re a not on their radar. You’ve fallen into the Perception Gap.
As a result, your leaders don’t think of you when it they have a leadership opportunity or a high-profile projects, or promotions, and you get passed over.
One of the top mistakes women make while trying to advance their careers is working when they should be schmoozing!
When in school or in college, working hard and getting good grades is a direct route to achieving reward and recognition, but a few years after you enter the corporate workforce, this equation breaks down. Having a reputation as a hard worker no longer guarantees you will attract recognition! But I see many women who stick to the old outdated mode of seeking recognition, thinking “if I just work harder I’ll get noticed”.
The nature of the corporate workforce is that if all you do is put your nose to the grindstone and work hard, you’ll develop a reputation as a hard worker, and all you will attract is more hard work -- the thankless busy work that never allows you the opportunity to showcase your true leadership capabilities.
One of the easiest, and most effective ways to become more visible is to expand your network, so that key managers, leaders and stakeholders are aware of you, and what you do.
So today, don’t eat lunch at your desk. Go to the cafeteria and find someone there to talk to. Ask what they have been working on, then tell them what you have been working on. When you’re done, don’t just return to your desk. Walk the long way around the campus and see who you meet.
That’s networking: the number one way to recession-proof your career.
Jo Miller is CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc. which offers women’s leadership seminars and coaching programs. To learn more ways of recession-proofing your career, join Jo for a special session at the Grace Hopper Celebration in Keystone, CO on October 1, 2008.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Here is a quick excerpt from our session proposal:
"Facebook, email, the internet and other types of online networking provide our long distance relationships with the fastest and easiest communication ever. This session is mainly about Student Group Networking, because different Women in Technology Student Groups around the globe are working with similar purposes. These networking applications make it easy for us to share ideas, but most importantly, integrating them can give the result that most groups expect and are working hard to accomplish. We really think that Together We Can Build a Better World - that by integrating our ideas, sharing old ones and making new ones our Student Groups can grow, and new student groups can come forward."
Part of the presentation will consist of a discussion of our experiences using networking tools to build our own women in technology student groups, with advice and tips on how you can too. However, we want to try to 'integrate' the ideas from a larger community - the global community - to help give women in technology groups a boost the world over.
This is where you come in!
Before, during, and after the session, we will be collecting your ideas, feedback, and experiences, and posting them on the internet so that we will have a record of all the amazing things being done to promote these student groups. So whether you've faced challenges or experienced great successes, we'd love to hear about it and possibly share it during our session. You can leave your comments right here at this post, and we'll be sure to 'integrate' them with our session materials as the conference approaches. Post away!
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I am a graduate student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I am enthusiastically looking forward for Oct 1st - Oct 4th.
The first few things that I did after receiving the GHC scholarship were:
- pinched myself to make sure that I was not day-dreaming,
- checked the application status online to make sure it wasn’t a case of application mix-up,
- tried to accept the award ASAP and filled out whatever online forms were required, and then,
- I took a deep breath, thanked the GHC Scholarship committee and marveled at the thought that I will be getting to meet tech-savvy women from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
I have already signed up for the “CONNECT”, created a Facebook account, and have expressed my interest to attend the networking session with the CTOs. I plan to register for the “Resume Clinic” to get the expert advice to spruce up my resume.
I love to hear the keynote speeches and therefore would make sure to be at the right place and at the right time. I am looking forward to the networking session with Jo Miller. The talks on “Transforming Yourself into a Technical Leader” and “Organizations Building a Better World: ABI, ACM-W, CRA-W and NCWIT” are something I can’t miss to attend while I am at GHC.
I am also excited about attending the SRC Competition to have a peek at the creativity of all the beautiful minds that worked hard to make the competition a challenging one. I feel that watching posters is in a way like window-shopping: You go around, have a look at all you can, and then come back to the one that interested you the most.
I need to take a look at the conference schedule once again and would mark and plan for the events I want to attend beforehand because “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”.
See you at the conference! So long,
Last year, over 900 people applied, so I wondered why the numbers would fall so dramatically this year. I'm worried; I think encouraging students to apply for the scholarship raises their awareness of GHC and increases the likelihood of their participation. Even if they can't attend, it may encourage them to be more involved in their student community, especially women's technical groups. Most importantly, students are really the life-blood of GHC - if we don't encourage young talent to come, the conference may eventually die out.
So, I've done some thinking and have three reasons why people aren't applying. I've also got some counter-reasons why [next year] you should give it your best shot anyway:
- "There are so many fantastic female students out there, I don't have a chance!"
If you don't apply, you have zero chance, but if you submit something, there is always some chance, right? Also, it's very likely that you are also fantastic. You don't have to be a superwoman to merit an award; think of all the little things you are doing at school and in your community to help women in technology. Reviewers are looking for what makes you passionate and what you are doing to make a difference, no matter how small you think it might be. It might help to talk to others about your impact; in my previous post a reader commented that they hadn't realized they were doing all the same things that I had been doing, but hearing them from someone else gave her that 'light bulb' moment.
- "I applied before and was rejected (maybe more than once)."
First of all, each year the competition changes. This year 300 fewer people applied, so your chances of winning may have increased. Second, with each time you try, you have a chance to improve your application. It's quite likely that you learned something about writing scholarship applications between now and the last time you applied, added some new accolades to your resume, or got some feedback on your unsuccessful applications that have given you some ideas for the next one. Use what you've learned to try again, and don't give up!
- "It's not worth the time, and I'm extremely busy."
There are so many reasons why this is worth your time. A free trip never hurt anyone, for starters! But this isn't just any free trip; past attendees have described how GHC made them rethink the direction they were taking their career in, helped them decide to go to graduate school, or inspired them to finish their degree when they were having a tough time. Winning a scholarship could also encourage your peers to get involved and try to attend GHC themselves, or convince your school to support more students.
- Show Your Passion: Show why you're passionate about technology and the community of women in technology. You can demonstrate that passion in many small ways - maybe you've helped build a website, kept a regular blog, or organized meetings with other female students. Make sure you highlight those contributions!
- Be Specific: What will you do if you win a scholarship? How will you stretch the award to benefit as many as possible? Think of different ways you can contribute to the conference, the community at large, and your school. You might submit a technical poster or talk, or get involved with a Birds of a Feather session. Maybe you will present your experiences to your peers after the conference has ended. Give concrete plans and specific details.
- Present Yourself: Even if you're a spelling whiz, it doesn't hurt to have a second pair of eyes look over your application. Find someone to help proof-read your work and don't forget to return the favor! Presentation is important and you wouldn't want your work to be overlooked because of a few typos.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
In 2004: Came to know about the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing when I saw the poster in the break-room of the department. Got curious about it and talked to people about the same. None of my peers knew much about it then. My friend Vetria, who is senior to me in the PhD program, was the only soul apart from the faculty in the department who knew about GHC.
2005: A friend mentioned every now and then that I should keep my eyes and ears open about the conference. However, I did not have good enough reasons to look up for any information about the conference and the motivation level was really low. So I didn’t even care to google about it this particular year. Not sure if there was a conference in this year.
2006: Saw a very encouraging e-mail from a professor in my department to attend the conference. Thought of submitting a poster to the conference but missed the deadline…sighs!
2007: Submitted the work to the “New Investigators” category. The paper did not get accepted and therefore I couldn’t have asked my department for travel awards. I did not have enough funds to manage the total cost of attending the conference. Thumbs down! I did not realize that there were other channels to get the funds from and did not think that attending the conference just for networking and learning more were good enough reasons to participate. Nonetheless, by this time my awareness level about the conference and it's impact was very high. I was comfortable in jabbering about this with my peers and did not realize that I ended up motivating some of them to attend the conference.
2008: Submitted a paper in the “New Investigators” category and it got accepted. That gave me a sound reason to approach my department for the travel funds and also gave me confidence to apply for the GHC scholarship. Vetria applied for the scholarship too and we both got the award. Two women from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to attend the GHC! When it rains it pours : - ). We both are very excited to attend the conference and have already made our flight and shuttle reservations.
Now that I feel I am totally connected with GHC, I am looking forward to the conference with lots of expectations. In the four other conferences I have been to so far, I noticed that women were mostly seen behind the registration desk, sparingly seen in the conference sessions and never seen during an after-talk interaction session (general networking). I wonder how it would feel to be at a conference of the women in computing, for the women in computing, by the women in computing. I wonder if there would be any males interested in attending the conference (apart from the ones out there to lend moral support to their significant others and the ones invited by the GHC). I wonder if it would have mattered to the conference attendees if GHC wasn’t a women’s conference. There are lot many things I am wondering about at this moment and I hope to get most of the answers at the conference.
We've been recruiting volunteers from our academic and industry sponsors to work at the Resume Clinic. These volunteers are recruiters who have come to GHC to help find interns, hire new employees and recruit PhD program candidates. They are all experts on what makes a great technical resume/CV and are eager to help our attendees improve their resumes. And these are all great people to make a part of your network.
So, how will it work? We'll be opening our doors at 2:30 in the Silvers Room on Wednesday October 1st. We will have at least 10 resume consultants working at any time. Please come in and sign up for 20 minute slot. We'll be open until 5:30 so we'll have 90 slots open on a first come first serve basis When you come for your session please bring a printed copy of your resume. Your resume will be reviewed and you'll receive feedback. Then you can make edits on your laptop and stop by the Keystone Business Center and print new copies of your resume for your interviews or to distribute to the companies/universities.
For those of you who are writing your first resume or are revising your resume, check out our GHC site for our article on Writing a Technical Resume to give you some ideas to get started. A few extra tips are:
- Spell check your resume. Typos can cause a resume to go to the bottom of the stack quickly. Not a great speller - find a friend who is and ask them to proofread for you.
- Bring plenty of printed resumes to GHC. Some recruiters last year complained that they met potential candidates but without a resume they weren't able to easily brief hiring managers.
- Plan ahead. Check out the company websites before you go to GHC and find out what they are looking for. Create a priority list of companies you want to meet with and make it happen.
- Submit your resume to our resume database as soon as you have it ready. Our Resume Clinic will help you with your resume on site but prior to coming to GHC our sponsor companies are going through our resume database to identify candidates and schedule interviews on site. Last year one of our sponsors made 18 job offers in a single day.
I look forward to seeing you all at the Resume Clinic.
Friday, August 8, 2008
I am Sharon Paradesi, a graduate student at The University of Georgia. This would be my first time to Grace Hopper Conference and I am so glad that I have been awarded a scholarship to attend it!
Below are the reasons that I am really excited about attending GHC -
- Meeting Fran Ellen. When I read her interview in the ACM-W summer ‘08 newsletter, I said to myself “It would be so wonderful to actually meet and talk with her”.
- I am the founding chair of ACM-W chapter at UGA. I would love to know the challenges and insights other women chapters’ committees have. And, as always, I would be delighted to share my experience too.
- The sessions themselves! I really like the topics chosen in the sessions. Keeping in mind that I am - interested in pursuing a PhD after my Master’s degree, passionate about inspiring girls and women to join the technology field, keen to learn about the challenges others faced and learn from their experiences, making the choice about which talks to attend was a bit easy. I would recommend this strategy to anyone debating which talk to attend in a session.
- Networking with the participants of the conference. Many posts and replies in the Syster’s and ResearcHer’s mailing lists have inspired and taught me valuable lessons and I am excited to have received an opportunity to meet them in person. I read about the CONNECT project and think that it is an wonderful idea to help people contact those who have similar interests.
- Networking and resume building workshops. I am sure that there is a lot that I could learn from them.
Thanks for reading the post and hope to see you in October at the Grace Hopper Conference!
I fell in love, of course, with the conference, and have done my best to get more women to sign up and attend. But it's odd to think that so many women, who would clearly benefit by attending, don't know about Grace Hopper.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I'm going to be a senior next year at DePauw University in Greencastle, IN. This is my first time going to GHC. I can't lie to you, I'm so excited!! I've been lucky enough to attend regional conferences here in Indiana and I'm always filled with enthusiasm and energy! I know GHC is going to be just as exciting and energetic.
I've looked through the schedule and highlighted everything that I want to go to. Looking back at my highlighting, there are a lot of events that overlap, so I'm going to have to decide which ones I really really want to go to. Those will be difficult decisions! Here are some, but not all, of the sessions I'm hoping to go to:
- Networking Workshop with Jo Miller-This is something I know I can improve on. Plus, I'm going to be a senior! Soon I'll be going out into the real world and looking for a job. I think this workshop will be extremely beneficial.
- Resume Clinic-Once again, I'm going to be a senior looking for a job. Resume tips are always welcome!
- How to Manage Your Career When "Life Gets in the Way"-I've always looking for information about how to keep my life balanced so I'm not overlooking some important aspect of my life be it friends, academics, or family.
- Any Session about Recruiting Girls into CS or Outreach Programs-I'm the chair of Women in Computer Science (we use the same acronym as Kate, WiCS), so I'm tirelessly on the lookout for how to improve our organization.
If you need to look at the schedule to do your own highlighting, check it out here. Feel free to leave comments about what sessions you're most looking forward to attending.
Don't forget to join the GHC Facebook group and to start following GHC on Twitter!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
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! ;)