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The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing: A Recap of the Conference

Posted by Faculty of Computer Science on March 2, 2016 in News, Students, Alumni & Friends

Photo of Sage Franch, Keerthana Kumar, Sarah Morash (BCS '15), and Brittany Kelly

Six members of the FCS community (including: undergraduate and graduate students, a recent alumna, and a faculty member) attended the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the world's largest gathering of women in technologies. It is produced by the Anita Borg Institute and presented in partnership with ACM.

On February 23rd, we hosted a session to recap on the successes and challenges that everyone experienced with the conference, to provide advice to students and faculty interested in attending, and to help the everyone work through the different ways you can get involved to hopefully attend in 2016.

Learn more about how to attend the Grace Hopper Conference in 2016 & see some photo highlights from the 2015 conference.

A look back at the 2015 conference

Brittany Kelly, Bachelor of Computer Science student

"I was given the opportunity to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing thanks to Dal FCS. It was one of the most eye-opening and confidence building events I've ever had the pleasure to attend. I originally intended on attending panels focused on increasing the diversity in the work place, and bringing some of those things back into our Faculty. What I learned is that as long there are strong and inspirational role models in our community, it will encourage more and more people to become involved - and more importantly stay with the community. As the President of the Women in Technology Society I'm hoping to not only open the doors for more people to attend this event, but to bring a small slice of the conference with me back to our Faculty so that everyone has the chance to feel the same energy and feel that you belong in this industry. "

Sage Franch, Bachelor of Computer Science student

"Inspiration was rife and passion was tangible in the air at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, held this year in Houston, Texas. This GHC brought in a record-smashing number of attendees – over 12,000 women and men in the tech joined together for a three-day conference featuring presentations from over 500 speakers including CEO of YouTube Susan Wojcicki and COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg....

...This was my second time attending Grace Hopper (last year in Phoenix was my first) and this time I wore two hats – one of a student, one of a professional – so I got to see GHC through multiple lenses. With me this year (from left to right in the image above) were my friends from university: Keerthana, Sarah (who was with me in Phoenix last year), and Brittany. These girls are dedicated to furthering equality at Dalhousie University, and this week gave birth to some great plans to bring back to campus." - Read Sage's full recap at Trendy Techie

Gabriella Mosquera, PhD student

"The gender gap in STEM fields and the unconscious bias that exist in these fields can very easily lead to female students feeling isolated; and, in many cases, result in high undergraduate drop out rates. This is why conferences such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing are important. This year, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing had 12,000 attendees, 700 speakers, 13 tracks, and over 200 sessions highlighting the work of female computer scientists and engineers in both academia and industry. 

For me, attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing was exciting. It  was also enlightening because of the opportunities presented (there were over 200 sessions); and, at any given time, attendees had at least five possible sessions to attend, all of which were applicable to different stages in your STEM field career. 

Most importantly, the Conference was inspiring - not only did you get a chance to learn something new at one of the many technical track sessions or coding, organizational, or career workshops - you also had the chance to learn about various initiatives and programs that were aimed at reducing the gender gap and unconscious bias in STEM fields.  Every initiative was geared toward fostering female role models to look up to. I highly recommend this Conference to future attendees, whether you are an undergrad, graduate, or faculty."

Learn more about how to attend the Grace Hopper Conference in 2016 & see some photo highlights from the 2015 conference.