Sunday, September 20, 2009

My Splendid GHC08 Experience

Hi, I'm Ed. (That's one of my favorite things to say!) Anyway, I went to GHC last year and Valerie's and Barbora's posts inspired me to continue the "GHC Experience" thread. Last year I was able to go to GHC because I was a scholarship recipient. For me, that in and of itself was incredibly exciting! In preparation for GHC, I updated my resume and submitted it to the GHC Resume Database. My roommate at the time, Ashley, and I also decided that we wanted to do some video-blogging while at GHC. We filmed a couple episodes right before we left. That was the start of Ed & Ashley's 5 Minute Show.

Looking at my Google Calendar, my schedule was pretty packed for the conference. Several companies had contacted me about doing an on-site (at GHC) interview because they found me through the resume database. Between filming, creating my schedule, and preparing for interviews, my first GHC was looking pretty packed and I wasn't even in Keystone yet!

Before I knew it, I was arriving at GHC. I had never been to a big conference before and I was astonished by the number of people there, the exhibits, and the number of sessions. There was so much to do! The conference went by in a flash! Time flies when you're having fun and there never seemed to be enough hours in the day to go to all the sessions, check out the exhibits, and talk with everyone. Ashley and I did a bunch of filming. Because of our show we got to meet some amazing women! Being a young woman in the field of computer science, it was awe-inspiring to meet these woman and talk about their accomplishments and how far women have progressed in the field.

Another really cool thing that came out of GHC were some emails that I received during and after the conference that talked about the Imagine Cup. I'd seen a poster for it on the door of one of my professors, Gloria Townsend, but I didn't know anything about it. After these emails, I looked into it. As a result, Ashley, Malisa Vongskul, and I created an Imagine Cup team, Team MangoBunnies. For the 2009 Imagine Cup, Team MangoBunnies was the first runner-up in the nation (we won $4,000!) and we were the first all-female team to make it to the U.S. Finals.

As it turns out, my preliminary job interviews went well at GHC too! I was offered a job as a software engineer in Denver, CO, where I am now!

Overall, going to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing has been a pivotal point in my professional (and personal) life. Coming out of GHC, Ashley and I started a show about women in technology, Ashley, Malisa, and I competed and won money in the Imagine Cup, I expanded my network with lots of meaningful connections, and I had a job! Was it even a question as to whether or not I would attend this year's Grace Hopper Celebration? Don't be silly! See you Tucson!

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