Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finding a Roommate for Grace Hopper

Want to come to Grace Hopper but aren't sure if you can afford the hotel costs? Or maybe you'd just like a great way to meet new people on a more personal level. Finding a roommate to share a room with is a great way to accomplish this!

But where can you find someone you trust to make your roommate?

The first place to look is women's organizations in your own school, company, or city. Groups like ACM/ACM-W, WISE, WICS, and SWE may have members already attending. Our own WISE group at school had someone ask about the conference, and now she's staying with us in the suite we reserved!

If that doesn't turn up any results, you can check for others looking to share a room on the Grace Hopper Facebook group. The "Finding GHC09 Rides and Roommates" thread has been very active, and is currently the best place to go for your search after you've checked locally.

The roommates thread on the Grace Hopper group on Linked In has had less participation, but is another alternative available to you.

Finally, you might try the Systers mailing list. There are many subscribers to the list who attend the conference each year.

Remember, if you are a scholarship winner, your hotel is being arranged for you. You can check your award information letter for more info.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How Students Can Get the Most Out of Grace Hopper 2009

If you are an undergraduate or graduate student in computing, the Grace Hopper Celebration is a great place to come for inspiration, learning, professional networking, and job opportunities. With a little preparation, you will gain the most from this experience.

Before the Conference

Some activities at Grace Hopper require preregistration. Don’t worry if you did not sign up for these when you registered. Just log back into the registration system and you can add them. Here are a few that students in particular should sign up for:
  • If you’re looking for work:
    1. upload your resume into the GHC Resume Database and
    2. schedule an appointment in the Resume Clinic in the registration system.
  • To make the most of your professional networking at Grace Hopper sign up now in the registration system for the CONNECT project:
    • Set networking goals, exchange contact information electronically, and receive daily reports on your networking progress.
    • After the conference, you'll receive a summary of all your CONNECTions' contact info – no business cards required!
  • If you are a GHC Scholarship recipient (past or present) you’re invited to attend the GHC Scholarship Reunion Lunch on Friday. Other networking lunches include ResearcHers, Women of Color, and LGBT on Thursday and Latinas in Computing, ACM and Systers on Friday. Pre-register for all lunches in the registration system to ensure you get a seat.
  • There are more ways to connect online with other conference participants before, during and after Grace Hopper:
    • Join our groups on LinkedIn or Facebook (a great place to look for a GHC roommate!).
    • Follow us on Twitter.
    • Share GHC photos, videos, notes and blog posts.
    For these and other opportunities to connect online, check out our GHC Online Communities.
  • Last but not least: If this will be your first Grace Hopper Celebration, read Tips for Newbies by recent graduate Erin Donahue for more planning tips.

Great Sessions for Students

Before the conference, check out the program online and plan the sessions you want to attend. There is an overview on the Conference Program page. Look for the CRA-W Career Mentoring panels for undergraduate and graduate students, highlighted in brown, on Wednesday afternoon and the Student Track sessions, highlighted in red-orange, on Thursday and Friday. You will also find a brief description of each session in the more detailed Program Schedule.

Here are a few sessions that might be of particular interest to you as a student:
  • The CRA-W Career Mentoring panels begin after lunch on Wednesday:
    • For undergraduates, start with CSE is for You: Innovation, Flexibility, and Exciting Opportunities followed by The Road to Graduate School and The Graduate School Experience.
    • For graduate students, start with Graduate School Survival Skills, then Networking and Professional Development and Publishing your Research.
  • If this is your first Grace Hopper Celebration, or if it has been awhile since you’ve attended, don’t miss our For the Newcomer session from 5:30PM -7:00PM (before the Opening Reception).
  • On Thursday and Friday you’ll choose from Student Track sessions – like Mastering the Art of the Technical Interview and The best way: research by undergraduates – and sessions from other tracks in Industry, Academia, Technology and more. Some of our Birds of a Feather sessions will be presented by and for students, e.g., Building A WISE Support Group From Scratch and Baby Loading, Please Wait: Pregnancy, Graduate School, & Computing.
  • Between sessions stop and visit our GHC sponsors at their tables, especially if you are looking for a job. Even if you didn't get an interview from submitting your resume to the database, you might get one by stopping and talking to their recruiters. Don't miss this opportunity!

After the Conference

The magic words when you get back home are “follow up!” Share any remaining conference notes, photos, videos, etc. that you didn’t upload to the GHC communities during the conference. Go through the business cards you collected and contact information emailed to you from CONNECT, then send those connections Facebook friend requests, LinkedIn invitations, or emails. They’ll be grateful if you assume they met as many people as you did at the conference: Provide hints about how you two connected or subjects you discussed. And remember to watch the Anita Borg Institute e-newsletter for news about Grace Hopper 2010!

What additional suggestions do you have for students attending Grace Hopper?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How To Ask Your Manager If You Can Attend GHC: An Email Template

In 2008, Anna Krasnyanskaya, a Software Quality Assurance Specialist at Symantec, decided she wanted to go to the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC). She put together an email marketing piece to send to her manager, explaining the benefits of going to GHC. We thank Anna for giving us permission to share her email. We also thank Anna, Jennifer El and Kitman McNeel for allowing us to post the slides they presented after the conference to share what they'd learned with their colleagues at Symantec. This is a great example of returning value to your organization!

To make this easy for you to use, we took out all Anna's work-specific references and created a fill-in-the-blank version. Remember to send these soon so you can also take advantage of our Early Bird Rate which ends August 31!


Hi (insert Manager's Name here),

The Grace Hopper Celebration is one of the largest gatherings of technical women in the world. The advisory committee includes women from HP, Amazon, Cisco, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Sun, Symantec and of course (check your company's representation at the conference and insert your company name here). Women come together to learn about the latest technology, learn new skills to enhance their careers, and build their network.

My goal is to come back from GHC with more experience to be productive and innovative on the (insert your team name here) team. (Insert Your Company Name here)'s vision is that (Insert relevant company vision/mission/ etc that addresses learning or employees). At this conference, I will be fortunate to meet women who have done just that, they have become CEOs, Professors, Directors, Managers, and Authors through hard work and passion. I want to get inspired and do the same at (Insert Your Company Name here). If I can bring back just one valuable idea, the whole trip will be worth it.

For 4 days, I will be learning on how other companies are working to "Create Technology for Social Good." I will attend multiple panels, a variety of workshops, seminars, affinity group lunches, forums, poster board sessions, and interact with women from all areas of technological innovation. Upon returning to (Insert Your Company Name here), I will host an "Everything I have learned at GHC" presentation for my team and write an informative article in the (Insert Your Company Newsletter Name here) November Newsletter for distribution to a larger audience.

One of the many forums at the conference is focused on (Select a Track/Sessions that are relevant to your job). This includes some of the following presentations:

  • (Session 1 Name Here)
  • (Session 2 Name Here)
  • (Sesssion 3 Name Here)
There will also be talks on "Becoming a Person of Influence," "Communicating Powerfully Across Gender," "Developing Sustainable Technologies for an Improved Future," and "Technical Mentorship and Sponsorship: Why You Need It and How to Find It".

Additionally, there will be many posters sessions, including one on (Insert a relevant poster name here), and another on (Insert Relevant Poster Name Here).

With so much to offer, plus 3 meals a day included, as says it "GHC is a bargain. It's content you won't find anywhere else."

Thank you!

(Insert Your Name Here)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Computer Science Outreach - Recent Experience and Talk at GHC

I just got back from a morning at a summer camp held by Carleton University called Virtual Ventures. This week they are hosting the Girls@VV camp, and I joined them for a couple of hours to show them what computer science is really all about.

You can read my blog post about it, where I discuss some of the things the girls would like to see to help get themselves and others interested in computer science at a young age.

Much of this material is the same as what I used during my own week-long mini-course that I designed and taught called Computer Science and Games: Just for Girls! I will be presenting about this mini-course during the conference if you'd like to learn more. I am scheduled for Friday October 2 @ 10am. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tips for Newbies

Firstly, I’d like to say that the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is one of my favorite conferences.  As a woman in technology, I don’t meet that many other women in technology on a day-to-day basis.  While being unique is great, it sure is great to flock together like birds of a feather!

Also, I’d like to second everything that BJ has written in her post!  I was a senior last year when I went to GHC and I was looking for a job.  I submitted my resume to the database and got several contacts from that.  In fact, I interviewed for a job while I was at GHC.  Because of GHC and that job interview, I have a job at Lockheed Martin.  I highly recommend taking advantage of the opportunities that GHC can present to you!

Having gone to GHC for the first time last year, I feel qualified to give advice to any newcomers.  Last year I attended as a student and this year I’m attending as an industry professional, so my advice is coming from my student experience.

Bring business cards
Yes, students, this includes you!  Having business cards instantly makes you look more professional, plus people now have your contact information on one card!  My personal card has my email address and phone number on it.  You may want to add your website, blog, or twitter username depending on what you feel comfortable with.  I designed my cards at MooZazzle also does business cards.  Feel free to put some personality into your cards!!

Networking is all about a mutually beneficial relationship.  With that being said, as a student, I always felt guilty networking since I felt like I was constantly asking for favors.  Lindsey Pollak gave me this great piece of advice when it comes to students and networking: Tell whoever you are networking with, “Please let me know if there is ever anything that I can do for you.”  This is great for two reasons, first, it’s not necessary to “pay back” a favor immediately.  This allows a person to contact you later, maybe even years later, and ask you for something.  Second, this is a message conveys that you understand networking is a two way street and you’re willing to return the favor.

Make a schedule
I made a rough schedule for myself on my Google calendar and printed it out before coming to GHC.  I put one day (it’s hours off because of time zones) on a whole page.  Even if some sessions that I wanted to go to overlapped, I put them both on the calendar with the location.  This way, I always had some point of reference.  Of course, I deviated from my schedule, but as it changed I just wrote it in.  I was able to quickly tell people when I was free since it was all on one sheet!

It’s ok to take a quick break
This is a big conference and sometime it can be overwhelming.  There is so much to do!  Don’t be afraid to skip a session to take a quick nap or catch up with someone you just met.  Last year, I didn’t make it to any BoF’s (something I will remedy this year!).  I spent that time chatting with people.  My GHC experience wasn’t any less fulfilling and it helped recharge my battery.

Bring an extra bag
Swag. Tons of it. Leave space in your suitcase or pack an extra bag (especially if you want to take some back for a women in technology student organization).

Be comfortable & have a blast!!

Tips for Job-Hunting at Grace Hopper 2009

Our diversity-minded Grace Hopper Celebration sponsors know this conference is a great place to find talented technical women. They send recruiters and hiring managers, search our Resume Database, volunteer in the Resume Clinic, and interview job candidates during the conference. So whether you're about to graduate or have years of experience, GHC is a great place to look for (and find) a job.

In case you missed the recent article on Great Ways To Find A Job at Grace Hopper 2009 in the Anita Borg Institute's e-newsletter, here's a summary of tips given there plus a few additions to help job-seekers make the most of this opportunity.

Submit your resume online. Sponsors will begin accessing resumes from the GHC Resume Database on August 8th and will start setting up interviews with GHC attendees starting then. Submit your resume now so you don't miss this opportunity.

Register for the GHC Resume Clinic. In the Resume Clinic, experienced human resource and staffing professionals will go over your resume with you. Bring at least two copies of your resume for editing. Not only will your resume be reviewed, but the Resume Clinic is a great way to connect with recruiters from major tech companies and government labs. So be sure to sign up for a slot at the Resume Clinic when you register for GHC.

Use GHC's online community for professional networking. Take advantage of the CONNECT project to plan and organize your networking at the conference (sign up when you register). And join the Grace Hopper Celebration and Anita Borg Institute groups on LinkedIn to make professional connections before, during and after the conference.

Visit GHC sponsors in the exhibit area during the conference. You'll be able to talk one on one with GHC sponsors and also set up interviews with representatives from some of the most acclaimed tech companies and academic institutions in the world.

So don't delay: submit your resume to the database today, sign up for the Resume Clinic and CONNECT, and join our groups on LinkedIn.

And if you didn't receive that e-newsletter, subscribe now before you miss any more great tips on how to make the most of Grace Hopper 2009!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing just around the corner!

Wow, I can't believe we're less than two months away from hundreds (thousands?) of technical women converging in Tuscon AZ for the next Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference!

I'm excited to be moderating a panel on Women in Open Source and being an official blogger again this year. I've been looking at the schedule and it is full of interesting talks! This is one conference I really have to set my schedule up for in advance, because once I get there, it's a flurry of activity and I really don't want to miss out on anything! This will also be my first year twittering at the conference (as an aside, I can't believe it took me so long to get on Twitter - I'm learning so much, meeting interesting people, and it takes so much less time than Facebook or LinkedIn).

I'll be arriving Tuesday night to make sure I don't miss out on any of the activities on Wednesday. I wish I could take part in the resume clinic on Wednesday, but that seems to completely overlap with the Becoming a Person of Influence workshop, which I don't want to miss.

Speaking of resumes, I hear there's a "new format" for them - it's probably time I did a complete update of mine. I hear plain text versions no longer suffice. Hrm, perhaps even if I can't attend the clinic, I should still have one ready for women to give me feedback on them.

What are you looking forward to most?

This entry originally appeared on Valerie Fenwick's weblog.

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