OSU’s ACM-W Chapter Report on GHC19

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The Ohio State University’s ACM-W chapter has the mission to engage students in activities that improve the working and learning environments for women in computing. Sponsors played a huge role in our mission by making it possible to send 28 of our chapter members to this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration.

The Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) is the world’s largest gatherings of women in computing and is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. This experience makes such a large impact on all those who attend and we would love to share that with you.

We asked our attendees to tell us how the conference impacted them. These are their words:

“As soon as I entered the room for the opening keynote, I knew that this was going to be such a unique, empowering, and amazing opportunity. I could see the strength we had together as we worked towards the goal of a 50/50 representation in the technology workforce by 2025. The Grace Hopper Celebration reminded me that I had the power to make a positive impact on the world along with every woman who dares to try something different.” Sara Miskus, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering 

“I really enjoyed the keynote at the end. The speaker showed videos of her VR projects where people could experience world events through VR- a new kind of journalism. Though these experiences were tragic and unnerving, viewers had a greater understanding of what had occurred in Syrian attacks, a diabetic man having a seizure, and others.” – Stacy Kauntz, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering

“My favorite experience at GHC was the keynote and listening to Abie award winner Jhillika Kumar’s story about how she got into technology. She talked about how technology, specifically tablets/smartphones, has helped her brother who has autism communicate and interact with the world. Her brother’s ability to interact through technology inspired her to create a start-up called AxisAbility to help improve the lives of people with disabilities. Hearing this story really opened my eyes to how much good technology can do for us and improve our lives.” Isha Satpalkar, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering

“I learned that so many more people support women in tech than I had initially thought, and they certainly can overpower those who do not.” Jenni Silverstein, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering

“One of my favorite moments was walking up to Northrop Grumman having a predetermined notion that I wasn’t good enough and then being offered an intern position after speaking to them. They were very sweet and accommodating and that whole experience taught me to be less harsh on myself. I walked out with a positive and uplifting mindset and I will forever be grateful for this experience.” Bhavya Jayashankar, B.S. Computer & Information Science

“One thing I noticed when talking to women at GHC is that women seem to often get introduced to computer science and technology by chance, which needs to change. I was under the impression that I was an anomaly in the way I learned to code, but GHC taught me otherwise. I am now more determined than ever to support girls in computer science, and encourage “uncovering” the field for girls in middle and high school, so to speak.” Jing George, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering

“My favorite experience was seeing the progression of women of color attending the conference since I attended 3 years ago. It isn’t perfect of course, but the fact that there has been a definite growth of black women speaking at the keynotes, to more of them at the career fair booths, which has been so awesome for me. I was also able to attend a lunch with women from Capital One, and there were multiple black women and quite high positions at the company that were more than willing to give me advice for my future and hear my struggles. I am really hoping GHC keeps this momentum going for future conferences.” Courtney Campbell, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering

“My favorite experience was learning from product leaders such as Dawn Manley and her work at Splunk through a mini-breakout session. Only at GHC can you gain exposure to such influential women in tech. I am immensely grateful to OSU for providing me this experience and will remember it fondly for the rest of my life.” Amy Book, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering

“The chance to hear from inspiring women in tech always allows me to come back to school rejuvenated.” Vicky Sandoval, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering

“I loved to see all the women in tech coming together. In most of my classes there is less than 25% women, so getting to see a majority of women was really motivating to me. It made me want to volunteer and get more young women into tech!” Olivia Wolf, B.S. Electrical & Computer Engineering

“I attended several talks ranging from quantum computing, to edge AI, to virtual reality. These talks had larger impact on my tech and career goals than I had originally expected. I also found it a good experience to learn the perspective of women in technology, from industry experts in the field. I was originally apprehensive about attending as a man, but found the environment welcoming, informative, and never excluding. ” Alex Reichard, B.S. Computer Science & Engineering

More information…

This article is a part of our new feature to increase engagement within our Ohio Community of Women in Computing. Each month we have a different theme, and members are invited to send in opinions, experience, or related research on that theme. A selection of these will be published on our blog, social media and in our newsletter. This month’s theme is Events and Celebrations