Friday, October 9, 2015

Your Event Guide to Grace Hopper 2015

I know, less than a week, AAAHH! I'm so excited too, and the more I see your reactions, even more excited I get! Another thing that increases inversely proportional to the time till #GHC15 is, the number of events!

The GHC schedule is amazing, technically and socially mesmerizing, but it seems more awesomeness is on the way like previous years. Some companies, universities and special interest groups organize their own events and parties! So... I will try to be your party guide, girls!

Note: The events listed here are all unofficial ones, please check the conference schedule for the official events.

Let's start with a brief summary of last year. We have been to so many events that I apologize from the start that I'll only mention my top three unofficial parties. To start with, third place goes to Amazon (and Kiva), with their refreshing Amazonian cocktail:) Second place (unfortunately) goes to Pandora, unfortunately because that was one of the best conference parties I've been to. They closed a roof-top bar, turned it into an open-air disco, with awesome Pandora music. They also had delicious food and so useful swags that I still use (like little Pandora power stations!). Oh, and they also invented their special pinkish cocktail  (Pandora mist? I don't remember its name), And the first place, goes to: Pinterest. The most creative party I've ever seen! We've done our first dream-catchers, near "a mountain of cheese", with unlimited alcohol. There was also a photo-booth, swag, more food, and everything you can and cannot think to turn a regular place into an incredible party!

Ok, enough with the last year, let's start this years list! Click on the company names to access the event details.

    1. Pixar:  Curious about Pixar or how woman in tech side of Pixar is producing your favorite animations? Well, join us then:) (Yes, I highly recommend this one. And no, I'm not biased..:p) 
    2. Pinterest: I bet it will again be an awesome party, I highly recommend having a look at "A Night with Pinterest" :)
    3. Women TechMakers: It seems like something fantastic is coming up. Stay tuned! 
    4. Facebook: Instead of one big event, Facebook divided the teams into Research, DevOps, and others; and meeting in breakfasts, brunches, and lunches.
    5. Uber: LadyEng in Uber await you for games, food and networking! 
    6. Twitter: WomEng team of Twitter invites you to a panel followed by a Twitter party (following the special cocktail tradition that I mentioned before). 
    7. Github: A creative event comes from Github! Meet at Patchwork Houston for a workshop to learn and dig into Git! 
    8. Pandora: Not sure if it will be as heart-warming as last year, but give it a try.
    9. Instacart: Come, socialize and party with Instacart!  
    10. LinkedIn: WomenConnect at LinkedIn invites you to another networking event. 
    11. Square: This time you're invited to a breakfast! You'll be having coffee, breakfast, swag and fun time with Sarah Friar (CTO). 
    12. CMU: Carnegie Mellon University calls you for desserts!
    13. Axon & TASER: Interestingly, scholars, food and party time! 
    14. Cisco: Cisco also has a networking dinner. 
    15. Pros: Another networking reception by BLAZE at Pros.  
    16. Women in Technology: Houston: Another panel accompanied with food and surprises, that aim to strengthen our connection. 
    17. Salesforce: GirlyGeeks is organizing a wine event at a roof top, sounds like an awesome atmosphere to socialize:) 
    18. Mastercard: Another reception to enjoy, this time by Mastercard. 
    19. Career Incubator: A night of Martinis&Mentors, sounds interesting! 
    20. iOS: Are you an ios developer? Then join the crowd and make apps come true!

    As a last note, I would suggest to register for the events from the links. But don't worry if it's closed, or full, or invite-only. You never know who you'll meet with or where you'll be going to, in #ghc15 :) If there is an event or a party of your dream place, go to their booths to ask about it, or just learn the address and go! Remember that all those efforts are for you, just for you:) I'll keep updating the list as soon as I hear about more events. If you know of an event, leave it in the comments with the link, so that I'll add it to the list.

    Hope to dance with you all girls! I'll end this very informal post with a photo from last year's official party, thanks to Google:) Have fun!

    Ilke Demir

    Post syndicated from Over The Heels and Far Far Away.

    Introducing Black Women in Computing

    A special thing happens when bright minds come together. Things work. New relationships are forged. Deals are made. The needle moves. This is the power of community—the power of Systers’ Affinities Communities.

    Here at the Black Women in Computing virtual offices, we’re laying the building blocks for what we hope will be the best GHC experience to date! Every day leading up to the 2015 GHC, we’ve been sparking our own imaginations about what is possible this year. From our original founder to our committee members to our newest members, all ideas have been on deck. And it has been that way since the beginning.

    BWiC was born at the GHC 2010 Women of Color luncheon entitled, “Building Our Community: Moving Vision into Reality.” With the help of the Anita Borg Institute, the group grew some legs in 2011. We held our official kick-off event for our BWiC online community at the 2011 GHC Birds of a Feather session entitled, “Black Women in Computing: Increasing Numbers Through Networking.”

    Since then, we’ve been working towards impacting change by “supporting each other, leveraging our knowledge in the industry and passing it on to others.” Our core goals to increase:
    • BWiC Presence
    • Recruitment and Retention
    • Online Resources
    • Support System (National & Local)
    • Outreach into black and under-served communities, including Hispanic and Native American communities.
    If you haven’t linked up with Black Women in Computing yet, here are a few events where you can get a good feel for the community. You must be a registered conference attendee to attend events on Oct. 14-16, 2015.
    • Saturday, October 10, 2015:
      • HBCU Tech Inclusion Workshop | 8 a.m.– 6 p.m. | Texas Southern University Science Center @ Eagle and Ennis Streets | Sponsored by Facebook, CMD-IT, Microsoft 
        • Find out more at:
    • Wednesday, October 14, 2015:
      • BWiC Reception | 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. | Sponsored by Google
      • BWiC Community Booths | 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. | @ Community Fair
    • Thursday, October 15, 2015:
      • UWiC Panel: U-turns, Detours and Roadblocks | 10:30 – 11:30 p.m.
      • Women of Color Lunch | 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. | Sponsored by Facebook
      • UWiC Speed Mentoring Sessions | Session 1| 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. | Session 2 | 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
      • BWiC Community Booths | 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. | @ Community Fair
    • Friday, October 16, 2015:
      • Black Women in Technical Roles Lunch | Keynote: Debora Plunkett, National Security Agency and Speaker: Jennifer Jackson, CapitalOne | 1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
      • UWiC Panel: Bringing Your Whole Self to Work as Underrepresented Women in Computing | 10:30 – 11:30 p.m.
    • Saturday, October 17, 2015:
      • BWiC Gaming Workshop | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Prairie View A&M University Northwest Campus, 9440 Grant Rd. | Sponsored by Intel
    Year-round, you can join our online community on Twitter @BWiComputing and follow our Wordpress at For more information on getting involved, email Danielle Cummings (DanielleNCummings at

    See you there!

    Wednesday, October 7, 2015

    Introducing the Vietnamese Women in Computing

    One of our most recent additions to the Systers' Affinity Communities, Vietnamese Women in Computing will make their first appearance as an affinity group at this year's Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing next week!

    Started by Sophia Ngo and Anh Tu Quach, when Sophia was inspired by the work of other infinity groups at GHC14.  Sophia had heard about Anh, and kept trying to meet her in person, but alas, as is typical of any GHC - their schedules were so booked they couldn't find a moment to meet.  Not letting that hold them back, they worked together virtually over the last year to bring VietWiC into existence!

    Sophia had long ago wanted to be an engineer, but fell off of the technical path and instead got a degree in psychology, with a minor in information systems. After seeing the inspirational Duy-Loan Le at the GHC10 keynote - Sophia knew her path was set! Now she is currently enrolled in a master's program at San Jose State, and is moving full steam ahead in a technical career.

    Anh, who works at Lawrence Livermore National Lab, earned her B.S.C.S from the University of the Pacific, then several years later her M.B.A. from CSU Stanislaus while working fulltime and raising two children under the age of six. In 2012, Anh embraced the challenge of becoming a manager while pregnant with her third child. She has learned much for these challenges and is ready to share her experiences with others - and excited to learn more herself!

    Did you know why Duy-Loan Le is such an inspiration? Duy-Loan is a Houston native and the only female Texas Instrument Senior Fellow? She was a GHC10 keynote ( Duy-Loan was ABI's Women of Vision 2007 Leadership award recipient and part of the Notable Women in Computing Card Deck. Duy-Loan has rock star status among Vietnamese women, especially if they've had a chance to meet her in person.

    Sophia and Anh want to share their inspiration with others, particularly young girls still living in Vietnam.

    You can connect with them on Twitter, @VietWiC, and in their new Facebook Group.

    If you'll be at GHC15, you can also connect with them:
    • Wednesday October 14:
    • Thursday October 15: 
      • 1:00-2:30PM Lunch Time Table Topic
      •  2:30-3:30PM Maternity Leave Survival Guide (Anh is facilitator) #GHCmoms
    • Friday October 16:
      •  2:00-2:30PM Anh will be at NIST/LLNL booth #126
      • 5:30-6:30PM ABI Communities Meet Up
    Hope you all have a chance to connect at the conference! Be sure to follow @VietWic on twitter for any last minute changes or meetups!

    Monday, October 5, 2015

    GHC15: My first time at Grace Hopper!

    Hello!!! My name is Chinaemere Ike. I am a sophomore Computer Science major at Texas A&M University! I am SUPER PUMPED to attend the Grace Hopper Conference once again this fall. Last year, I went as one of few freshman from my school which, I must say, was overwhelming yet exciting interchangeably.

    I remember landing in Phoenix, nervous as ever, waiting for our shuttle to take us to our hotel. The only thought running through my mind was "Am I good enough to be here?" At the time, I was brand new to the field of Computer Science and was worried that my peers and recruiters wouldn't give me the time of day; Boy was I WRONG! Our shuttle came, we checked into the hotel, freshened up and then made our way to the convention center. When we arrived, it was such an amazing feeling to see thousands of other women in tech mingling amongst each other.

    Grace Hopper is an amazing way to meet amazing women in the tech industry. I will forever thank and appreciate my university for allowing me to attend GHC. If it's your first time, no worries! There's nothing to be nervous about because everyone at the conference is there to support one another. I will suggest a few things though:

    1. Don't pack too much but if you do, bring a bigger luggage because you will end up taking home more than you came with. (SO MUCH FREEE SWAAAAG; I promise you I looked crazy on the plane heading home to some folks because of all my SWAG.)

    2. Make sure you have your resumes ready and if not, I'm sure the hotel you're staying in or the convention center will have some sort of printing station nearby (business cards are cool, too).

    3. Network, make friends! There's no such thing as being "awkward" at GHC. I can't tell you how many friends/connections I made at GHC just by simply saying "Hi" to the person next to me.

    4. Attend as many sessions as you can. It's fun to learn about new things and topics in the tech field. It's also a cool way to meet new people :)

    5. Last but not least, HAVE FUN!!! Grace Hopper Conference is at the top of my "Favorite Events" list because it is just THAT AWESOME! Make sure you attend the Friday Night Celebration if you can! It was so much fun being a hall, filled with women, jamming out to Beyonce and Taylor Swift. Definitely one of my most memorable memories! Can't wait to rock out this year as well!

    Remember to enjoy yourself and make the most of your time in Houston! I know I did last year in Phoenix and I'm excited for another adventure this year! :)

    PS: Don't be afraid to say hi to me if you see me! I'm nice and I love making new friends :D

    Friday, October 2, 2015

    Introducing Turkish Women in Computing

    Probably most of you have already heard about Systers, our community, and some related activities. But have you met our other communities for women in computing, such as NaWiC, LatinasIC, or TWiC? Let's meet with Turkish Women in Computing today!

    Turkish Women in Computing is a volunteer based community, which constructs a bridge between Turkish women in the field and Systers everywhere, working within Anita Borg Institute of Women and Technology. It is a community that aims to unite women with STEM degrees from Turkey, to share their experiences, by supporting each other to overcome the differences. The community acts as a mentor to educate newcomers about the cultural differences, with an honest and straightforward voice that only another trusted member from the same culture can have. Another motivation for TWiCs is to publicize the presence of Turkish women in computing, because they are everywhere in every continent! Even when our number as women in computing was not bright in US, there were Turkish women in computing who were shining upon their fields, whether it be academia or industry. Their presence in GHC also proves that the community is already achieving their goals to hold us altogether.

    Turkish Women in Computing was founded during a Grace Hopper Conference in 2011. Three women with PhD degrees from Turkey realized that there were many TWiCs scattered all around the world with similar goals, aspirations and perceptions about women in computing. They observed that STEM degrees are considered well-desired where they came from, in Turkey; but where were the other women in US? Why didn't women in US feel the same way about computing the way they did? Why there was a negative publicity about women in technology here? Why didn't girls choose their paths toward computing? What was inherent in their culture that changes their perspective about computer science? Keeping these questions in mind, the group was founded to network Turkish women with computer science background to guide them about networking, career path, office culture and also to increase the visibility of their accomplishments. Today, their Facebook group in connection with ABI is ever growing!

    With such growing audience, their curiosity  led them to conduct research on why women in Turkey are increasingly attracted to this field in contrast to US, and they presented preliminary results in the Global Voices conference. They are also actively preparing articles about the careers of prominent Turkish women in computing who are well known all over the world. You can access their findings and articles from here.

    Now curious about how to be a part of the community? Well, you have many options. I personally recommend getting on the e-mail list, since all Systers start with one:) You can also join the community using their facebook group, their LinkedIn group, or from twitter. For more information, you can visit their website.

    Finally, you can join them at GHC! There will be a TWiC table in the community pavilion and you can meet our Turkish Systers face to face! Hope to see everyone there, reminding that we're one day closer to GHC15:)

    Ilke Demir

    Post syndicated from Over The Heels and Far Far Away.

    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    GHC15: Speakers - Making the Most For Your Audience

    GHC15 is right around the corner!  If you're speaking, I bet you're like me and rushing to put together your final slides.  You've seen the speaker guidelines and template, but the finishing touches are in your grasp.

    Here are my top ten tips for speakers for doing an excellent talk at GHC15:

    1. Are you doing a panel? As an audience member, I appreciate if you have at least one slide which is critical: one with names, pictures and affiliations of the panelists. It makes it so much easier to keep track of who's who 10 minutes into the panel.  A slide or two to introduce the topic is always appreciated as well. Pro-tip: Sit in the order you're listed on the slide!
    2. Practice your presentation. For many of you, this may be your first presentation at a large conference, and it's tempting to want to squeeze in as many slides as possible - then you'll run out of time or end up speaking so quickly, nobody will understand you.  Plan about 2-4 minutes per slide, practice your timing and cut out extra slides. You can always add them as "backup" material.  As a bonus, when you practice, you'll be less nervous.
    3. Hash tags! Folks in the audience will be sharing their thoughts about your talk while it's happening - help them to connect by including hash tags in the footer of each slide. We've come up with a list, but feel free to include your own.
    4. USE A LARGE FONTThe rooms in the convention center will likely be large. If you  have more than 2-3 bullet points per slide - it's getting too crowded. Whatever you do, don't shrink the font to squeeze more in - people simply won't be able to read it. There are quite a few folks who don't have great far sight - many of us are bookworms, etc, and are quite nearsighted - so, do us a favor and use 36 point font. :-)
    5. Upload your slides to the GHC15 wiki. There's a wiki? You bet! And if you're speaking, you have a slot on the wiki.  Upload your slides there, and folks can more easily follow along - but still use large fonts. :-) Wiki:
    6. Include contact info. This may be in the form of links to your blog or research site, or your twitter handle. You'd be surprised at how many women will want to connect with you after your talk.
    7. Be mindful of people with hearing or sight issues. You'll notice stenographers and others doing sign language.  Again, speak slowly and clearly. Don't rely on too much multi-media that may not be easily accessible. And I'll mention the sight issues - some of the attendees may be blind, or have difficulty seeing. Use large fonts and make sure you upload your slide so they can be referenced later.
    8. Remember, not everyone in your audience is a native English speaker - try to avoid too many colloquialisms and speak clearly and slowly. [Note: I mention this often, as I'm a speed talker!]
    9. Keep it exciting. You're clearly excited about your topic, so be sure to share your enthusiasm. Maybe add a fun picture, or start out with an interesting story on your research. 
    10. Most importantly - have fun!  This is your conference, too!
    Anything else I've forgotten? What else would you suggest?

    Valerie Fenwick, Communities Co-Chair

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015

    Online Communities are Why I'm Excited for GHC15

    I've attended almost every Grace Hopper since 2008.  The one exception was 2011, when I was too pregnant to fly.  I found an old blog post about enjoying the conference from afar, where I reflected about being sad to be missing out once the conference started.  Since I'll be missing this year as well, it's nice to re-read this:
    Fortunately, the very thing that I have worked so hard to make awesome when attending GHC in the past is allowing me to enjoy this year's edition from afar: the online communities. 
    I have a whole new appreciation for the many awesome posts on attendees' blogs and Twitter accounts. While seeing conversations between all the people I am missing out on meeting up with makes me feel sad, I also find myself vibrating with excitement with all the amazing things happening in Portland. From the wonderful keynote speakers to the fantastic panels to the neat e-textile workshop, this conference must be the best one yet.
    While there is nothing at this year's conference on e-textiles (at least, not that I know of!), the conference is once again gearing up to be the biggest and best.  Along with that comes our largest set of amazing volunteers ever – they will be giving their time as always to share the conference through our online communities.  And so, the reason I'm excited about GHC15 is the fact that I'll have more blogs, notes, and tweets to enjoy from afar than ever before!

    If you'd like to enjoy GHC from afar as well, be sure to check out these amazing sources.

    Perhaps I'll see you on Twitter this October (I'm @gailcarmichael), and we can share the conference from afar together!

    Monday, September 28, 2015

    Native American Women in Computing (NAWiC)

    Native American Women in Computing (NAWiC)
    By Andrea Delgado-Olson 

    Native American Women in Computing is a community that brings support and inspiration to indigenous women in technical fields across North and South America.  The NAWiC community was inspired by the women leading other communities of Underrepresented Women in Computing of Anita Borg Institute during the Grace Hopper Celebration in 2014.  Native women need a safe space to share their work, ideas, experiences, and accomplishments and get recognition for them.  There are native women currently in the tech industry, learning to code, or just haven’t figured out that tech is the place for them…yet!  NAWiC is a community to bridge that gap between a new coder and a tech executive, and everything in between.   

     NAWiC is working on reaching out to native/indigenous communities to host workshops, meetups, and hackathons within the next calendar year.  We are on Twitter and you can follow the community @NativeAmerWiC and we would love to say hi!  There is a NAWiC Facebook group as well. You can send a request to join and we would love to have you as a member.  As founder and member of the Ione Band of Miwok Indians, NAWiC is attending their first annual Chaw'se Indian Big Time at Chaw’se State Park in Volcano, CA this Saturday and Sunday, September 26th & 27th You can also visit the Anita Borg Institute website and join NAWiC as an official member of the community.  We hope to be announcing more events in the future as they are confirmed!  Also, if you would like to host an event, or know an event we can promote to the community, please let us know!

    For the official debut of Native American Women in Computing, we will be in the ABI Communities Booths!  There will be t-shirts that sport the new NAWiC logo, just drafted and printed for this occasion.  The shirts will be sold at our community booth to help support and fund groups of native women attending the conference, and to provide financial assistance to women in the future.  NAWiC provided funds for a group of young women from Salinas, California to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston, TX and we hope to meet them there.  Every year we grow, we can inspire others to do the same!  We look forward to meeting everyone at Grace Hopper, come by and say hello!

    Thursday, September 24, 2015

    GHC15: I’m Here Because Of GHC14!

    GHC15: I’m Here Because Of GHC14!
    By Andrea Delgado-Olson

    As I prepare myself for the busiest week of the year, I can’t help but look back at where this all started.  Last October was my first time attending a Grace Hopper Celebration and I asked all of the FAQs a first time attendee would…What do I wear?  How many resumes should I bring?  How do I network?  Imposter syndrome was in full effect as well, but I didn’t let that hinder me.  I was able to attend last GHC as a Hopper, which gave me a small glimpse into the hard work and organization that goes into this amazing gathering of technical women. I made the mistake of wearing heels on the first day and I worked a full 8 hours on my feet and still walked around the event! Note to self: invest in, and wear, comfortable shoes at GHC15.  But it was during my first Hopper assigned event where I heard an ABI staff member talking about the groups of Underrepresented Women in Computing at ABI, and I asked if there was a group for Native American women.  The look I got from the women around me was one I cannot describe, but it was a look of excitement.  I was inspired by GHC14 and determined to make Native American Women in Computing happen for indigenous women like me.  I wanted to be able to look to Native women in the industry and ask questions, but there were few women to reach out to, so I became that person.  I am working to grow this community, sponsor young women to attend their first GHC, and provide support to Native women across the Americas. 

    I am returning for my second Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston, Texas as the founder of Native American Women in Computing (NAWiC), an ABI Scholar, and an ABI Community Engagement Intern.  I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with others and inspire others to make the same inquiries as I did, which got me to where I am today!  I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given by ABI, the support and encouragement I have received has been driving me to get this community up and running.  I am looking forward to sharing stories of my experiences as a California Native American, as well as hearing from others who have similar stories or completely differing ones.  I am looking to connect with other indigenous women to offer support and get support as well.  Being an American Indian/Native American/Alaska Native/Indigenous to the Americas is challenging in and of itself, but add on being a woman and being in tech are added challenges that need to be recognized and supported.  Please come and find myself, my husband (who has been an amazing support system and ally for NAWiC!!!

    I am excited to be a Scholar!  As a scholar I am excited to meet other women who are working on their educational goals, as I am.  I would also like to encourage them to join groups, like Systers, to stay connected with other technical women.  I am honored to have the support of ABI to attend this event.  I am looking forward to meeting other Scholars at the dinner and meetups.  I know I will be meeting some pretty incredible and talented women who I hope to learn more from. 

    Last, but certainly not least, I am attending as an ABI intern!  I was so excited to get this position, especially since a summer internship never materialized.  I have been assisting the community committees, I am a member of the UWiC committee, I am writing blogs, tweeting from two Twitter accounts(personal & professional for double the coverage!), and getting to be a part of the best gathering of women in the industry!  I wish I could share more about what I have been doing, but come by the NAWiC community booth in the Town Hall at GHC and I would love to tell you more and how you can get involved too!

    So much has happened in a calendar year and I attribute it to the one question I asked at my first GHC!  I am looking forward to another amazing experience at the Grace Hopper Celebration 2015 in Houston, Texas.  I can’t wait to meet all of you there.  See you all in Texas!

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015

    GHC15: Extended Deadline to Apply for Lunch Time Table Topic Leaders

    Do you have something you really want to talk to other women about at Grace Hopper Celebration next month? Whether you feel like an expert, or you want to learn from other women - please apply to host a table topic.Topics can be specific: "Entering Tech Later in Career", "iOS Game App Devs", "Switching from Technical to Management Track" - to more broad: "FOSS", "Security","Privacy", "iOS", "Traveling for work", "Working with Toddlers at Home", "Finding Sponsors" - etc. Note - even feel free to host one of these topics!

    What does it mean to host? Start the conversation, have a few questions or discussion points up your sleeve and share your enthusiasm for the topic with others.

    Please note: On the application, Thursday is noted as going until 3:30. That end time is optional, as there is a break after lunch. If you can't commit to that entire time, simply committing for the lunch "hour" is good, too!

    We'll be closing applications on Friday, September 25, 11:59PM PT.

    Please spread the word! Thank you!
    Valerie Fenwick, GHC Communities Co-Chair

    Systers: Local Syster's Meetups

    Did you know you can connect with Systers at the Grace Hopper Conference as well as in your home town?  Are you in Boston, Mountain View, Atlanta, Seattle, New York or San Francisco?  Then we have a meetup coming up for you!
    Come meet other women in technology, talk about the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing and learn about cool stuff happening in your area.

    See you there!

    Friday, September 18, 2015

    GHC15: Last chance to apply for Blogging, Note-taking, Speed Mentoring Mentor and Lunch Time Table Topics

    Hi again everyone!

    The applications for our communities volunteers closes TODAY, September 18!

    We are looking for people that can write blogs or take notes for at least 3 sessions, for video bloggers, for folks to lead lunch time table topics and for others to volunteer to be a speed mentoring mentor.

    If any of those things sound interesting to you, please make your way over to our Volunteer Website and fill out the relevant applications:

    We are less than a month away!!

    See you there!

    Valerie Fenwick
    GHC15 Online Communities Co-Chair

    Thursday, September 10, 2015

    GHC Getting Closer - Can't Wait!

    by Zaza Soriano


        <GHC type="Community Committee">
        <GHC type="Inspiration"/>

    for Topic in Excitement.Children:
        print """I work at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics 
        Laboratory (APL) as an embedded software engineer. This will 
        be my 6th year attending GHC, my 2nd representing APL, and my 
        first on the ABI Communities Committee."""
            if Topic.Type == 'APL':
                print """APL is a non-profit company and because of that
                it’s not an easy task to justify spending money on a 
                non-technical conference. This however has been
                changing,and is one of the things I am really excited
                about this year."""
                for Info in Topic.Children:
                        case 'Coworkers':
                            print """It’s exciting to watch the GHC bug
                            start to spread to other departments in the 
                        case 'Committee':
                            print """A couple of us started up a
                            committee to help with the influx of
                            APL’ers attending. The road has been
                            bumpy so far and I am very excited to
                            see how this year goes!"""
                            for Item in Info.Children:
                                if Item.Type == 'Purpose':
                                    print """Our motivation behind the
                                    committee had a lot to do with
                                    wanting to make the experience as
                                    smooth as possible for new
                                    attendees, as well as making sure
                                    we as a lab are able to
                                    continually benefit from what was
                                    learned at GHC."""
                                if Item.Type == 'Benefits':
                                    print """I’m really excited about
                                    seeing how each pair of APL’ers
                                    will share what they learned 
                                    this year."""
                        case 'Recruiting':
                            print """Last year I headed up the
                            recruiting for our department. This year
                            I am excited to see how my friend does
                            with recruiting. So far I am extremely
                            happy and love to witness young woman
                            gaining confidence and experience doing
                            something they love."""
            if Topic.Type == 'GHC':
                if Topic.getAttribute('type') == 'Community Committee':
                    if Topic.ChildNode(0).Type == 'Members':
                        print """I LOVE working with everyone on the
                        committee! It’s like being surrounded by 
                        amazing woman all the time! I am looking 
                        forward to finally meeting everyone next
                        month. :)"""
                    else if Topic.getAttribute('type') == 'Inspiration':
                        print """I saved the best for last...The thing
                        I get the most excited about GHC is the
                        inspiration you get from attending. Yes the
                        sessions are great, very informative, generally
                        always useful, but there is something about
                        being in a room full of THOUSANDS of other
                        technical woman that is just SO INSPIRING!!
                        It’s not something that can be described with
                        words, so I hope that every technical woman at
                        some point gets to experience that amazing
                        feeling at least once in their life."""

    “Think Outside the Box”

    Wednesday, September 9, 2015

    GHC15: First Timer Questions

    I heard about the Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in 2006 from my former mentee, Dr. Cyntrica Eaton. Didn’t think much about it, again, until 2015. This year, my inner desire to learn coding languages has come back. I want to know what’s out there, what is trending, what training is needed, what new technologies are out there, etc. So, I registered for this year’s GHC in Houston, after having attended the ABI.New York Presents GHC/1: A One-day GHC Conference this year (which sent my curiosity about GHC over the edge).

    So, having NEVER attended a GHC before, what should I expect? I mean, I hear 12,000 people are expected at this conference (the largest ever), but how do I navigate an all female tech conference of that size and magnitude? Have you seen the schedule: Seriously, there are very important questions that I need answered like, when should I arrive, what sessions do I attend, if I am an introvert, how to “extrovert”, how do I truly get the best experience from the GHC 2015? I don’t want to be “lost in the sauce” of 12,000 amazing and incredibly smart female engineers.

    Well, I compiled a list of questions and former attendees and was able to garner some pretty nifty and helpful answers! Let’s take a look below.

    When should we arrive and what do we need to do when we first get to Houston?
    • Gail: Depends on the day you arrive. If you get there before the conference starts, you can go to your hotel, settle in, and sight see! If you get there day-of, you may still want to check into the hotel if possible to at least drop off your luggage. If you can’t get to the hotel, use the coat check at the conference and use cab/shuttle to get to the hotel during a break.
    • Charna: I agree with Gail, even if you get there day of, and you can’t get to your room yet as check in is in the afternoon most hotels have bag check, this is easier than lugging them on the shuttles later. Then before any sessions you need to get your badge and bag before going to sessions
    • Valerie: Check in your hotel and make some new friends! Other attendees tend to stand out of the crowd: generally very excited, often wearing a geek t-shirt, and found in large clusters of other women at the airport, hotel, bars and restaurants. Or for the introverts - take a few moments to find a quiet place in your hotel and near the convention center. You’ll need it to keep your batteries recharged throughout the conference.
    • Zaza: I agree with everyone here. I do like to explore the area a bit though too, that way when Saturday comes I have a better idea of what I can do to pass the time before I have to go back to the airport.
    Are there going to be long lines? If so, is there a strategy to avoid having to stand in long lines?
    • Gail: In some years, the registration lines were veeeeery long. If this happens, not much you can do. Watch for early registration opportunities if you arrive in time to make use of that. Most likely things will run smoothly this year, though.
    • Charna: There can be long lunch lines, try to go places that aren’t where the primary flow of traffic is, there are also long coffee lines at the hotels in the morning so be sure to have a strategy for that. Bathroom lines can be long to so I’d make sure you know where multiple locations are soon after you arrive.
    • Valerie: Some sessions fill up, and they will have a line. If a session is really important to you, make sure you go straight there. Save your networking for the next break!
    • Zaza: Planning! It&#82#8217;s all in the planning (well it helps anyway).
    What day/time of day should we arrive in Houston? What day/time of day should we depart?
    • Valerie: If at all possible, arrive the day before the conference begins. This helps you to avoid some of the lines at hotels and airports, and get yourself organized for the event. Leave Saturday or Sunday - you do NOT want to miss the big event Friday night! If you fly out on Sunday, you can do some sightseeing (and often save money on your flight).
    How early do we need be at the convention center? Do we need to stay for the full day?
    • Gail: You can stay the entire length of the conference day, but you may find yourself getting really tired. Don’t be afraid (or feel at all guilty) to sleep in one day or skip some sessions to recharge.

    • Valerie: Arrive early for the first day, if you can, to register so you don’t miss the first sessions. Set prioritize those, and know where you won’t mind missing a session or two. There’s always something interesting and exciting going on, but make sure you take care of yourself, too!
    If I am not within walking distance, how often do the shuttles run to/from the hotel and conference center?
    • Valerie: Fortunately, there are free shuttles! Schedules are not posted, yet, but in previous years they run more often in the AM and end of the day - less so in the middle of the day. Pro tip: Since the shuttles do run less often mid-day, plan your day in advance and have all the extra things you need like charging cables, backup phone and laptop batteries (outlets are ALWAYS hard to find), chapstick, headache medicine, water bottle, etc.
    Are they crowded?
      • Valerie: They can be, but I’ve never seen anyone turned away.
    Is there a “strategy” for boarding times?
      • Valerie: Try to get there a bit earlier than the time, as that’s the time the bus leaves.

    Which sessions should we try to attend and why:
    • Valerie: I always love the New Investigators forums - new research, no matter what field, is very exciting. The keynotes are always informative and inspirational, and the plenary is interesting, too. Also, don’t miss the ABI Award winners - always amazing technical women!
    • Zaza: I try not to think about what track to attend, but focus more on the content of each session. Because of that I tend to jump around the various tracks. This is definitely a personal decision, so spend the time to research the different sessions and see what interests you.
    What is the attire for each day and sessions?
    • Gail: I have observed a huge range of clothing styles, so in the end, I would just wear what you find comfortable. Many aim for something business-casual. You may want to go back to your hotel and change before the evening parties. Don’t forget to bring layers in case the conference centre a/c is mega cold.
    • Valerie: I second the layers comment! If you are searching for a job, you may want to dress a bit more sharply. Keep in mind, though, you will be doing a TON of walking in sometimes very crowded corridors, so no matter what - be comfortable. Lots of ladies also opt to wear their “geekiest” shirts - lots of computer jokes, like “There’s No Place Like” :-)
    If we can’t get to a speaker/sessions leader, personally, will there be contact information for each speaker?
    • Valerie: Many speakers will include their twitter handles and personal websites in their slides. Be ready to take notes! In general, though, their email addresses will not be available from the conference site.
    How do I break the ice with someone (especially if I am an introvert)?
    • Gail: Being a Hopper is actually a great way to meet new people just by doing your duties. Otherwise, try and force yourself to sit with new people at lunch, and just ask where everyone is from. You can also use talk content to have some common ground when striking up a conversation. You also know people attending the same talk have similar interests as you.
    • Valerie: Chat to your seat mate on the shuttle bus, talk to the ladies sitting next to you in a session, comment on their geek wear or laptop/phone, arrive early for sessions, and talk to others in line for the bathroom. We can all gripe about “what are they DOING in there!?” :-)
    • Charna: Use the ribbons on your name badge, and others, if you dont know what one means or how to get it next year ask! The app is also underutilized, want to learn something about a presenter or connect before meeting in person check them out! Twitter is also great. I’ve followed and chatted with people on twitter first which lets you plan out what you want to say before inviting for coffee in person.
    What things should I avoid?
    • Valerie: It’s easy to get over (or under caffeinated) or dehydrated at the conference. Pay attention to what your body is saying, and take breaks when you need to, even if it means missing a session. Don’t stay up too late if you have an important session first thing in the morning. Don’t skip meals - and if you are like me and feel like you’re STARVING if there is too much time (as defined by my body) between meals, bring snacks!
    • Charna: Speaking of meals there are special meals for those who sign up ahead of time. and if you find that the meals that you are getting as part of your special category are making you sick ask for help! I’ve helped people find food many times after I had the experience of one of my friends passing out due to her eating too much processed grains when she was used to a diet of all vegetables.
    • Zaza: Something that Charna taught me at one of our first GHC’s together: Try to avoid wearing your badge when walking to/from your hotel, or anywhere outside the convention center really.
    Should we bring copies of paper resumes? If so, how many copies?
    • Valerie: Yes, definitely! Keep them in a folder, though, so they don’t get all wrinkly. Consider making up business cards with a URL to your online copy of your resume. Twenty or thirty copies should be good - think about who you really want to talk to, and bring a few extra. Most importantly: Submit your resume in ADVANCE to the online resume database, then employers can schedule time to chat with you if they are interested.
    • Charna: If you forget to bring them, there are usually print shops but they can be expensive and mess up your formatting. Also though dont stop talking to the recruiters if you run out, make sure your linked in is up to date, whip out your computer or use theirs and pull up your profile. They are going to make you fill out an online application any way so sometimes this is greener in a pinch.
    Should we bring business cards? If so, how many copies?
    • Valerie: YES, absolutely!!!! Even if you don’t have a job. Scratch that, ESPECIALLY if you don’t currently have a job and are looking. You want people to be able to find you! You probably want to carry around 20-30 copies, but keep extras in your suitcase at the hotel. You can’t usually get an order of less than 2-300 anyways.
    • Charna: I love, with enough lead time they are not that expensive but great quality and innovative. You can order in smaller batches than 300. Vistaprint is a good cheap avenue with enough lead time if you don't want to go with moo.
    What information should business cards have on them?
    • Valerie: Your name, title (if you have one - if you don’t, what you WANT to be doing/area of technical focus and interest), website, email address, twitter handle (if you want to share), link to your resume or LinkedIn profile and phone number! Ideally, get a NON-glossy card, then people can make notes about you (like which session they met you in, what you have in common, etc) directly on your card.
    • Charna: It depends on what you want to be doing, if you want to be a UX designer, I’d get creative and not put all the traditional info but at a minimum your name and at least one way to contact you. I have two cards one with my cell phone one without. It lets me be personal when i want to be.
    If we miss certain sessions, are the sessions recorded?
    • Gail: Most are not, but note-takers and bloggers cover many sessions, and speaker slides are sometimes available.
    • Charna: The ones that are recorded are usually the general session big time speakers and the links will be tweeted and posted on the website when they happen.
    Are there capacity issues for certain sessions, luncheons, etc.?
    • Gail: Popular sessions absolutely fill up, so if there’s one you really want to see, show up early to avoid being turned away.
    • Charna: I’ve even left a different session early to be sure I made it to one important to me. Last year there were a few with people sitting on the floor and standing along the walls.
    WHEW! Okay. I think I just may be ready to navigate GHC 2015, now. These answers from prior attendees were extremely helpful.

    Hope to see you all at GHC 2015! This is #OurTimeToLead !

    Thursday, September 3, 2015

    Meet our 2015 GHC Community Committee!

    We have returning committee members and new members that are managing various community activities at GHC like note taking, blogging, lunchtime table topics, and more. The committee has been working for months to prepare for volunteers to step in and participate in a wide range of activities at GHC. Their management of these activities and volunteers are phenomenal. These members serve as volunteers providing their time and talent to engaging GHC community and beyond. All of these women are committed to ensure the community have a wonderful experience and contribute to the voice of the community. On behalf of Anita Borg Institute and our communities, we Thank GHC Community Committee for their incredible volunteer service.

    Without further ado, please meet our GHC Community Committee!

    Dr. Charna Parkey (co-chair) joined Textio in March just after seed funding was raised as a Senior Software Engineer with 10 years of experience in digital signal processing. Through the use of signals and subject matter experts she aims to change the way we interpret the world for the better.  She is now on a mission to change the way we hire by reducing biases in job listings to attract the most diverse set of candidates. 

    She has been involved with the GHC Communities Committee for 6 years and other women in STEM activities for the past 15 years.  Charna holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida, two B.S. in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and she has authored or co authored 11 publications, holds 3 patents, won 2 best paper awards, and continues to contribute to her field. For fun she makes pottery, practices yoga and martial arts, and loves hiking, baking, and anything crafty or DIY. 

    Valerie Anne Fenwick (co-chair) is a Manager in the Solaris Security Technologies group at Oracle Corporation with over two decades of experience in computer security. She helped to design and develop the cryptographic framework for the Oracle Solaris operating system, and previously worked as a developer on the SunScreen Firewall. She co-chairs the OASIS PKCS#11 (Open Standards Based Crypto API) technical committee.

    Valerie has a B.S. in Computer Science from Purdue University.  She is a co-author of the Solaris 10 Security Essentials book and writes a blog on bicycling, beer and security. In her spare time, she enjoys performing at community theaters, riding her bike, and skiing.

    Gail Carmichael has been an advocate for women 
    in computer science for more than seven years.
    She co-founded Carleton University’s Women in Science and Engineering group, was a member of the now disbanded advisory board for the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, and is working on bringing Girl Develop It! back to Ottawa.  She is currently a part-time PhD students at Carleton University and a software developer at Shopify in Ottawa, Canada.

    Vivian Andreeva is a 25 year old Software Engineer working on Universal Apps at Microsoft, located in Redmond. She previously worked as an intern at Research in Motion, Electronic Arts Mobile Division, and Carleton University’s Network Management & Artificial Intelligence Lab. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Software Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa Canada. She attended Grace Hopper for the first time in 2014.

    Zaza Soriano is a full time Embedded Software Engineer at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). There she solves hard problems, increases national security, and delves into biomedical engineering.
    She holds a double Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering from the University of Central Florida. She is currently working towards her Masters in Computer Engineering at Johns Hopkins University Engineering for Professionals.

    This will be her 6th year attending and volunteering at GHC, and first year on the Communities Committee. She is extremely active in STEM outreach and has been recognized multiple times for her STEM efforts at APL. When she is not working, studying, or volunteering, Zaza likes to hike, cook, and participate in the APL Drama Club.

    Gehana Booth is a new member to the GHC Committee, but has been attending the Grace Hopper Celebration for a few years now. The conference is a continual inspiration for her and has pushed her to get involved with outreach initiatives to encourage and mentor young girls, particularly at the high school level, who are interested in computer science. She is currently working on her MCS with the Carleton Computer Security Lab in Ottawa, specializing in new approaches to network traffic analysis and security. She also works as a software developer on the merchant protection team at Shopify, an Ottawa-based e-commerce company setting out to make commerce better for everyone.

    In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and dancing West Coast Swing. 

    Tamara Y. Washington is a Patent Examiner at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. She completed her BS in Electrical Engineering from Tuskegee University and her MSEE (optics) from North Carolina A&T State University. She also holds an MBA (finance) from Wake Forest University. Tamara is passionate about learning object oriented languages as well as full-stack programming languages. She is energetic about S.T.E.M. education for women and a huge advocate/supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

    She is actively involved in efforts to search out and uncover all of the super smart and talented technology people and companies that the DC/MD/VA area has to offer as well as bring together those people and companies to technical community groups for education and collaboration. 

    Ilke Demir is a PhD candidate in Computer Science department at Purdue University, and a research assistant in Computer Graphics and Visualization Lab. Her research interests lie in the fields of procedural modeling, 3D urban reconstruction, and interactive shape editing. She obtained her B.S. degree in Computer Engineering from Middle East Technical University, with an Electrics and Electronics Engineering minor. Currently she is an Intern at Pixar Animation Studios. 

    In her spare time, she is a gamer, a dancer, a blogger, an explorer, and a dreamer! And always a strong advocate of the female to shift the balance. 

    And last but certainly not least, Rose Robinson is Her Systers' Keeper and Sr. Manager with Anita Borg Institute. Rose manages all of ABI communities including Systers' affinity communities and special interest groups. She's been a long time Syster, ABI family member and GHC conference goer. Rose has undergraduate and graduate degrees in Mathematics applied CS and has been working in the technical industry for more than 20+ years. She has extensive experience in software implementations, telco provisioning and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) and is a advocate of open source technologies. She also manages all of ABI open source projects and Systers initiatives such as Systers Google Summer of Code program, Systers open source mentor program, Pass-It-On awards program and all community presence and activities and events at GHC.

    Thursday, August 27, 2015

    GHC15: A Past, Present and Future Journey!

    This year GHC will be awesome!!!

    Oh, ok. Let me back up a bit. Did I say 12K women? Have I mentioned the sessions? Have you heard that it's "Our time to lead!"?

    What happened?

    First, some background information about why I am really excited. My first GHC was back in 2012, and I think it was the first time I really feel like I'm not alone -or, to be more honest- I'm completely normal! I get to meet with an enormous number of women in STEM fields and although it was my first time, it felt like I was within GHC community for ages, where everybody has a similar story and is more than welcome to talk/share/consult/mentor/mentee/help anytime. I know it sounds a little cliche if you haven't experienced being a part of something so huge but so intimate; but believe me, that was the closest realization for "It's a small world" attraction of Disneyland. As happy, as connected, as pretty, as diverse, utopian!

    As a recap, on the first day, the first ever session I have attended in a GHC: A wonderful interactive networking talk, given by two speakers from Lawrance Berkeley Lab and Google. After 3 years, I'm still so glad to catch this session, it was like a jump-start for the conference. This session taught what I was doing right unconsciously when approaching people (as an introvert), what I was totally wrong at, and what I actually should do in different situations. I probably created an elevator speech for the first time in my academic life, because of that session.

    I have attended the Graduate Poster Session, where most of the posters were related to interesting security, cloud computing research, with some posters also in graphics: telling to this little fresh graduate student "Hey, over here! This is what's coming up for you soon!". Then I wandered around the Job Fair, having my first tips on career development, also having some interviews to boost up my confidence (this was real, no laughing please). Switching to talks... these girls were clever! I clearly remember that there was a talk for secrets to success, and it was prepared like a musical! How cool it is, right? You never saw anything yet, young Padawan. I will not explain the awesome technical talks or grant writing and funding sessions.. But, another GHC-specific talk: imposter syndrome. Wait, what? Of course I hadn't heard it before, and I was dragged into it by a senior friend of mine. Remember that uneasy feeling that you're not sure about whether you can achieve what's expected from you? (Don't argue with me, I know you had that before!) Yes, that's a tiny bit of imposter syndrome. And I would never ever be aware of that virus if GHC was not making everyone that is left (or made felt) outside of the circle...

    Enough with the day, let's discuss the nights! The social events in the conference were spectacular. The awards ceremony was so inspiring that getting to know such work and such amazing people was a motivation all by itself. There was also a celebration for the 25th years of Systers community, which was like a closing party, and it was in the Maryland Science Center... This might still be "the event" of my life. Let me elaborate. Imagine a science center, full of dinosaurs, body parts, machines and experiments, with a planetarium! Now imagine islands of desserts, hills of cupcakes and cheesecake, and sweets that you ever saw. Finally, imagine hundreds of women in science. Now put them all together... Amazing, right? Oh, just to mention, there was a live disco right outside too. And when you get bored of dancing, you can just watch a wonderful night show in the planetarium. It was an amazing experience overall.

    Anyway, enough with the memories, but hey, I still need to tell how awesome GHC in 2013 and 2014 was! I know you're getting bored, maybe I'll reflect them another day. For now, these stories [1][2][3] can feed your curiosity. Coming to the main idea, did you notice that how many "first time"s for me have been unlocked by GHC? This makes you realize that you're important. Which brings us to the next part...

    What happens?

    Attending Grace Hopper is a wonderful experience as well as a precious responsibility. It is not just a regular conference that you attend to, and then forget about; but it shapes one's lifestyle, priorities, and perspective. It makes everyone feel that we are never alone.

    The organism

    It gives tremendous amount of motivation by sharing, just sharing. Stories from your everyday life, experiences from reactions you are subject to, what-if scenarios if you do not assess those situations, emotions if the imperfect situation captures you, challenges to beat the imperfect situation, in summary, everything you have experienced and might experience in your everyday life is shared. This connects everybody to support others' cases, to union and to act together for the parallel challenges. So both for academic and volunteering activities, GHC community always keeps this collective organism fueled up.

    The self

    Inherently you share too. You see the newcomers, and wanna be there before they fall into that hole you have fallen before. You want to pass your experience, pass to torch as the others have passed to you. You want to carry the organism with you and make it more invulnerable.

    It sounds silly, but realizing that all the wonderful 'godlike' people are also a part of the organism, (that they're always in reach or they make mistakes or they eat cupcakes or they moonwalk), makes you feel more rewarding and confident. You realize that it is only you, what makes it special. If you forget how to enjoy, or if you sacrifice your unique character to become a slave, that's when you being to lose, that's when trying to be perfect harms you. You realize that balancing and being in charge of unbalancing should be the key to their success, so as yours.

    The product

    At the end, you want to keep those connections and improvements alive. Thus, you come to a point that you understand that GHC is not limited to 3-4 days. We are all connected with Systers, WISP/WIE programs, CRA-W, and local CS people. And after a while it becomes a life-style, to protect and develop the self and the organism, by taking part in all events, volunteering for all opportunities, and advocating wherever you see something wrong.
    You also get amazed (see my first lines:) ) that how such a huge product can consistently be kept alive. You admire the creators and defenders of our fragile but connected world, most of which are only volunteers, and appreciate all efforts, all time commitment, and all the love given to our community.

    What will happen?

    Of course, GHC will keep impacting the world, again this year.


    I have been saying that after a while you just need to be "more" a part of it, right? Well, after being a Communities Volunteer for 2 years, this year I'm proud to be on the Communities Committee and help organizing this awesome "get-together with friends and systers". Thus, it's an honor for me to actually spend labor in this event which I completely believe in. Rest assured that our committee is working like bees to enable everyone to make the best out of the conference, with new events, gatherings, channels, and news!

    This year is especially important for me, because I'll be presenting my pretty buildings in #GFX session. Looking back and realizing that how far I have come since the misty first days of PhD, I can't wait to share my awesome work while looking each one of you in the eye! If you want a trailer about the presentation, I suggest you to have a look at our papers [4][5]. Else, you're invited to my talk on Wednesday Oct 14 at #GHC15.


    You'll definitely level up! Both motivated and armored! Socially, academically, and personally.

    Maybe after reading this, you will want to be a volunteer and start being a part of us, now!

    But more importantly, I believe you'll become one of us, you'll find yourself both similar and different enough to be comfortable with the crowd, and you'll realize that the imperfections of any systems (human-centric, data-centric, process-centric), can be overcome by a little environment support.


    For me, GHC become like an annual celebration where I spend quality time with friends all around the world, colleagues from all disciplines, and anyone interested in our battle for humanity:) I really want all of us to share that same feeling, that our safe environment is getting larger and larger by all of our efforts and we can accomplish anything we want! The chamber that had 8.000 women in computing fields, has reached a record of registration for the celebration and this year we're expecting a 1.5 times larger circle of 12.000 women! Not comparable to us in size for #GHC15, but I want to conclude this excitement with some of us that can convey that feeling with their smiles, to show us, just us...

    Can you imagine? Can you think about the accumulated knowledge we can obtain from this year's GHC? Now, is it possible to not be excited about such an adventure??!

    I'm already amused and can't wait to be in Houston. I hope to see and meet each one of you, to embrace our community, to be useful for our living organism, and to carry this perspective onto the new generations.

    Thank you everyone, see you in Houston!

    Ilke Demir

    [1] Purdue CS @ GHC 13:
    [2] Purdue CS @ GHC 12:
    [3] Purdue CS @ GHC 14:
    [4] Proceduralization of Buildings:
    [5] Segmentation of Buildings:

    Post syndicated from Over The Heels and Far Far Away

    Friday, August 14, 2015

    GHC15: A Whole New Box!

    At my company, we have a metaphor: life is a series of boxes. You start off in a box, right at the bottom. As you learn and grow, your box fills with your knowledge and accomplishments and pushes you up until you're at the top of your box. climb out of your now full box. Straight into another box. Right at the bottom. And the process begins again.

    This year will be my third going to the Grace Hopper Celebration. Each year, I have gone in a different capacity and this one is no different! Every year, GHC helps me expand my knowledge, grow, and push myself into a new box.

    The first year I attended, I was just starting my Masters in Computer Science. A (somewhat) young student, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. I was so excited as I had never attended any conference aimed at women in computing, let alone one of this magnitude! I remember arriving and being absolutely flabbergasted that so many people could fit in one conference centre—and 90% of them were women! What an empowering moment!

    I scheduled everything. I went to panels aimed at new grad students—my newest box—attempting to prepare us for the completely new world of grant applications, research, publishing, and conference talks that awaited us. I learned tips and tricks that later helped me both in my classes and my research (although no conference talks yet!). I also indulged in several of the security-related talks, my main area of interest.

    I attended the conference with several other students from my school. It was a really inspiring and diverse group of girls. This experience alone was completely disjoint from any other conference I had been to. We were able to laugh, bond, and inspire each other with talks from the smallest things (like as how haggard we felt and looked after travelling) to deep conversations (such as illnesses in our family and the forces that had driven our passions to STEM). This group of girls really made the GHC experience for me. They, along with so many of the speakers I listened to and new connections I made, inspired me in a way no other conference ever had and had me raring to go back the next year!

    For my second year, I was lucky enough to attend with my current company, Shopify. I had just finished all my classes and had signed a full-time contract with Shopify so I could work whilst I finished my thesis. I went this year, not as a student, but as a representative of my company. It was a complete contrast to my previous experience at GHC.

    I attended few panels, but the ones I did check out were aimed at women just starting out in their careers. The panels covered a range of topics including how to discuss difficult topics at work, how to ask for/negotiate contracts and raises, and how to really get the most out of your experiences at your company without being overlooked.

    While all the talks were inspiring to me, they couldn't come close to my experience taking part in the career fair. For those of you who haven't previously attended GHC, let me tell you that this career fair is on an entirely different level. It is the single largest job fair I have ever seen, and the fair itself is bigger than some of the Comic-Cons I have attended! It was a very humbling experience to see how small both my company and I are in relation to the vastness of the technology field as a whole.

    I stood at Shopify's booth for three days talking to potential candidates ranging in age and experience, from young undergrads to women who had been working in tech for over 20 years and were looking for a change. Each of these women had a story to tell and something to teach. Being able to talk one-on-one with so many inspirational women was phenomenal. Hearing their about their struggles and triumphs and the lessons they had learned really showed me how I could become a better employee, programmer, and person. On top of that, I got to get to know some of the women from my company so much better through this trip, which was truly wonderful. Though this was with a different group, the bonding, laughter, and memories were of the same kind as I got to experience last year. This, as well, was an entirely different box for me. I had always been shy and kept to myself, never being the one to start a conversation. But this pushed me to my limits until I was smiling and chatting with anyone and everyone in sight, and I couldn't have been happier.

    And now, for my third year, I am actually able to help organize this amazing conference. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be doing something like this, but I'm so happy to be able to help make this conference a reality for another year in the hopes that it will inspire other women as it has me. Already, just being able to work with the rest of the members of the Grace Hopper Communities Committee has been wonderful. They are such a diverse, intelligent, and kind group of women that have already driven me to new heights, and once again into a new box.

    What I wanted to highlight most in this blog post is the sheer diversity of GHC. It really is suited for everyone at any point in their career, whether they are in academia or industry. The conference was completely different for me each time I attended, as my role had changed. As I have grown, so have my GHC experiences grown with me. GHC allows itself to be a deeply personalized experience for everyone, letting each attendee choose what they want to attend and focus on, so that we can all grow, develop, and learn as much as possible.

    I know that this year will be no different in that regard, though I know that it will be a complete 180 in terms of what I do and learn once again.  I can't wait to see what's in store! See you all there!

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