High School Female Scholars Visit Women’s Tech Conference

From October 2-5, 2013, our very own Jennifer Argüello took 3 young female Summer Math and Science Honors Academy (SMASH) seniors to experience what some say is the Woodstock for technical women – The Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing.  It’s the largest gathering of women in computing in the world and is run by the Anita Borg Institute. Attendees are talented technical women computer scientists who range from undergraduate to PhD students and university faculty to technical professional women. It was in Minneapolis this year with 4,800 in attendance. Here are some of the observations of the 3 students who went with Jennifer.

Leilani Reyes wrote:

“Prior to the conference, I didn’t really expect it to change my life. Computer science was still a mystery to me since nobody ever talks about it at home or at school…However, throughout the conference, I learned more about the magic of computer science and its application to life and, frankly, fell in love with it. It was empowering to see so many women at the conference who, despite gender discrimination and others’ low expectations of them, rose to become powerful, successful figures and, consequently, role models of mine…I think, in terms of computer science (which is where our society is quite centered around), the lack of knowledge women have of its power and application originate in the typecasting of young girls to like pink, beauty, and fashion while boys to like building, mechanics, and adventure. Realizing the importance and magic of computer science is something everybody should learn about early on, so this initial typecasting doesn’t escalate to it belonging only to men. If I had known about computer science being extremely fun and practical earlier, I could already be making and selling programs like some of my colleagues. For this reason, I am incredibly grateful of my opportunity to participate in the Grace Hopper Celebration while still in high school. It not only has opened so many doors to mentors and plans (via networking), but has empowered me to share my experience and newfound interest in computer science with other girls at my high school. Thanks to the Grace Hopper Celebration, I’ve realized this and the awesome opportunities of computer science and look to share this knowledge with girls in my community…”

Tia King wrote:

“The Grace Hoppers Convention changed my perspective on computers as well as being a woman pursuing a computer science career. I used to be scared of potentially being the only woman in my department at my future college, but now I feel empowered because of GHC. I met so many amazing people and learned a lot of things about CS. I am looking forward to next years’ because GHC is a life changing experience that everyone woman in Computer Science should have.”

Yolanda Muñoz wrote:

“GHC definitely opened many doors for me, helping me network with some very inspiring and helpful people. It gave me knowledge and the motivation to study what I want in general, not only CS. I can honestly say this was a life changing experience, and I definitely plan on attending GHC in the future.”

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