GHC 2010 vs UIST – Reflection

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September 28 – October 2 was the annual Grace Hopper Conference in Atlanta, Ga. It was my first official conference. Although, I had presented at NEUCS 2010 and  attended TEI 2010, GHC was radically different.

Going to a women’s college, the discrepancy of gender in the field of computer science is generally forgotten. I went to GHC with the intention of discovering what the “real world” of computer science was like and to meet other colored women in CS.

What I found, was a wonderful community of women, from all races, ethnicities, economic backgrounds, and experiences! Women who had achieved so much that I felt driven and determined when I left. Women that I could mentor and guide on their journey through undergrad. Women, who were going places and I could say, “I knew them when…”

It is my intention to make GHC a more widely known conference on campus because it is such a great opportunity that every student should have, especially considering the discrepancy in numbers that is so common in this field. I experienced this discrepancy at UIST 2010. The women were outnumbered ~5:1 and it was quite the culture shock, coming from Wellesley and immediately after GHC.

Both conferences, however had wonderful take-aways! GHC allows women to network and bond across boundaries of all kinds. UIST showcases innovation in the field and serves as a kind of predictor for technology to come.

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