Zanele: Friday

Today, I got a response from one of the companies I had interviewed at on the previous day, Dow Chemical. The news was all at once exciting and terrifying. My interviews had been awesome, although I had never done an interview for a technical job, so I didn’t know what to expect. However, everyone at the conference who was doing interviews was very friendly. We also got to go to more seminars that were focused on individual women’s research.

rl102: Last Day

The last day was a sad one because it marked the conclusion of a great experience. I wandered around the convention center, listening in on panels and contemplating all the things I had learned so far. Looking around me, I was truly glad to have had the opportunity of coming. It struck me how amazing the convention was–a gathering place for so many female computer scientists. I had learned so much about the computer science industry, its women leaders, and its progress in the past few years. Though I’m without a doubt still a beginner at computer science, the conference helped me affirm my dedication to the field.

Aleis: Day 3

Today everything was pretty much winding down. The career fair, which had gone on all three days, ended at 2. We happened to still be around, so we ended up getting a lot of free stuff that the companies still had and wanted to give away.

Around lunch time a few of us decided to explore Baltimore a bit. We walked around the harbor, shopped at the mall, and enjoyed a very interesting candy store. Good times!

Absolutely the best thing about Friday was the Rock-it Party. It was crazy. It was held in a science center, so there was stuff to do built into the facility. Also, as soon as we walked in we were greeted by a bunch of free stuff from Google and Microsoft – t-shirts, water bottle, glow sticks, etc. There were also pretty legit desserts, a raffle, and a dance party (which people did actually participate in). Overall a pretty cool night.

Peggy: Day 3 Reflections

Today was the last full day of the conference since we’ll be waking up at (or before?) the crack of dawn tomorrow morning to fly back to North Carolina. I was able to sleep in a little more today since the first event started later compared to yesterday; given how intense and tiring this conference has been (though nothing short of amazing), I definitely appreciated the extra hour!

The morning started with a keynote by Anita Young; it’s cool how things have gone full circle since she was also the speaker at the first Grace Hopper Conference! She spoke about the IT revolution, and how unlike previous revolutions, this one is focused as much on personal apps as on infrastructure alone. She also mentioned how the new topic this year was massive open online courses or MOOCs such as Coursera; since I’m taking a peer and academic leadership course that has also discussed MOOCs as a new force of disruptive innovation in education, it was great hearing it mentioned in another situation.

I chose to attend a talk on agile development (“Go Lean, Go Agile – Are we there yet?”). Although agile was briefly discussed by my Software Design professor in the spring, I haven’t had much exposure to it yet, but I’ve frequently heard of it as an important methodology in software development these days and was really interested in learning more. After hearing panelists from several companies, including Mario (an agile coach), I feel like I have a moderately better understanding of agile, and am looking forward to having an opportunity to use it in practice someday.

I returned to the Career Fair for a while to speak to several companies I hadn’t had a chance to speak with yet, and while there, bumped into a friend from another college whom I’d met two summers ago doing CS research! We had lunch together at the food court and caught up on what we were each doing, so meeting her there was a pleasant surprise! After lunch was a plenary talk on Technology Government. Since most of the conference has confused on industry and academia so far, it was interesting to hear from the government perspective and of course about the problems like security that the government confronts.

Then I went to my final two sessions for this conference: “The Future of Online Social Networking” and “Are we ready for the next level yet? Perspectives from junior women in technology” (which talked about career advancement for women, e.g. lower promotion rates compared to men). I had to slip out a few minutes early since I was joining others for dinner.

Dinner itself was an interesting affair – it turned out to be me, another undergrad from Duke, a graduate student from Duke, a professor from Duke, the friend from UMBC, a Stanford professor, and a Stanford student! We ended up eating at a pretty nice restaurant (turns out it was by reservation so we ended up sitting at the bar) – so the food was absolutely delicious!

Last but not least… the RockIT Science and Systers 25th Anniversary Celebration held at Maryland Science Center! We were pretty tired by late evening and didn’t stay very long, but the party was really energetic and everyone looked to be having a great time (in fact, I noticed a few teenage guys on the Harbor trying to crash the party). So many cupcakes and desserts, and free shirts from Google and Microsoft – how will I pack all this swag tonight??

All in all, the past couple of days have been exhausting in the best possible way! I think Grace Hopper was quite an eye-opening experience in seeing how many women are in technology and realizing how large the community really is. I truly had a great time and was really inspired by the people there, and thank all of the sponsors who made this opportunity possible!

Wynne: Thanks

Not much happened to me on Friday, and Friday made me more aware of issues that I will discuss in my final thoughts. I will use this post to thank the Anita Borg Institute and all the women and men who put the Grace Hopper Celebration together. They have brought together a group of diverse women, wonderful speakers, and great topics. Thank you for providing me the scholarship to attend, which gave my school the chance to bring another technical woman to the conference. I wish to express my gratitude to the National Science Foundation, who funded the scholarship I was given.  I am also much obliged to the Duke Computer Science Department for first giving me information on the Grace Hopper Celebration and second making sure I had an anchor in the form of a group of Duke women in the sea of strangers at the conference. Thank you to the women I met and talked to for making me feel welcome and supported. Many thanks to my professors and teammates for projects for understanding my time away from campus and work.


For anyone who read my posts and have questions about my experience, please e-mail me using my netID (at the top of the post)



Hailey: Friday

After spending the past few days indoors, it was nice to get out of the convention center for a bit. We went and walked around the harbor during lunch, looked at the boats, and did some shopping.  Then at night we attended the RockIt Party at the Maryland Science Center on the harbor. The science center itself was phenomenal, with Dino-exhibits, physics experiments, and multiple IMAX presentations. And to top it all off, we were provided free desserts and swag from Google and Microsoft. It was the perfect fun ending to the past few days.


We are a group of undergraduate women attending Duke University who, with the help of the Computer Science Department, will be attending the Grace Hopper Conference 2012 at Baltimore, Maryland.  Please read to follow our various thoughts and experiences during our days at the conference.

~Wynne Lok