Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Notes from a n00b (or, in which I explore coming to ghc09 from *slightly* outside the tech community)

A few months ago I stumbled upon the Grace Hopper Celebration Web site. I can't quite remember the series of clicks that got me to the site but I'm fairly certain it had something to do with a Twitter search or checking out tweets from the fantastic tech women I happened to start following around the same time. In any case, not only did I find other organizations related to women and technology, but I also noticed that this year's Grace Hopper Celebration is in Tucson, Arizona! (Meaning: Since I live in Phoenix, rather than just thinking about how cool it might be to attend one of these conferences while only following the happenings through blog posts and tweets, I found something could realistically consider attending.)

Now, the conference is roughly two weeks out and not only am I going to GHC, I get to be involved. This is a very cool feeling for me because I come to "women in tech" in sort of a round-about way (being a communication studies MA student). My technical background is limited. I worked with online communication technologies for government and nonprofit agencies but never on the development side. Due to that, I can get a bit caught up in my own insecurity. As a comm studies scholar, I feel like I can spend a lot of time between multiple disciplines, rather than in any particular one. Recently, I've challenged myself to get out of that "in-between" place and push my comfort zone, because of my research interests (new media, culture and technology) and because of what I have to learn about advocating for women in any community. I'm so ready for my first GHC! I can't think of a better way to learn a lot. Quickly.

Oh, and can I tell you about what has blown my mind so far?




Women's shirts. ;) **While it might seem odd to be so excited about this I have to admit I made the assumption that the GHC shirts available would be, by default, men's sizes. Turns out that's not the case! It might seem obvious to others, after all this is a woman centered organization, it is an example of how I am still working out mental barriers personally.

Anyway, for other newbies, whether coming from the tech community or not, here's what I've been up to to create the GHC 2009 experience for myself this year:
  • Checked out Registration information to budget costs (I decided to think about the cost as part of my education costs for this semester if necessary).
  • Volunteered both to be a Hopper and for the Online Community.
  • Registered my daughter for free child care.
  • Made arrangements for my oldest child and husband as related to the demands on my time for the week of GHC.
  • Started tweeting, and re-tweeting with the other #ghc09 participants I've been able to find on Twitter.
  • Drafted a post for the Grace Hopper Blog and caught up on what's been posted so far.
The only few things I have left on tap are to plan my days for the conference and then actually go. I'm quite excited to meet everyone in person!

Until then, you can find me online at: Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, and Linked In.

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