Girls++ Members Attend Grace Hopper Celebration

Posted On April 7, 2019
Categories Student News

Last fall, several members of Georgia State’s Girls++ organization attended the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference (GHC), the largest gathering of women in technology. GSU attendees included Dr. Olga Glebova, a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science; Ph.D. students Heta Desai, Jyoti Islam, Maryamsadat Jalalitabar, and Dhara Shah; and undergraduates Natsai Nadia Ndebele, Koranna Melody Nwaogu, and Sri Rajasekaran.

GHC, which was held in Houston last September, focuses on celebrating the crucial role of women in technology. Koranna describes the audience as “anyone who has a passion for technology and its growing advancement as an industry, and specifically, anyone who is interested in connecting with the innovative women who are breaking barriers within this field.” The 2018 conference provided a variety of educational panels and presentations on various STEM topics, which she enjoyed. “I attended a panel that discussed how the advances in machine learning can be applied to the medical field,” she said. “This panel was eye-opening to the way in which the growth of the machine learning industry will lead to being able to provide medical assistance to more people around the world in coming years.” Meanwhile, Dr. Glebova was able to take advantage of the sessions designed specifically for faculty members. “As a faculty member, I attended the professional development sessions, which focused on the utilization of teaching practices that promote diversity and inclusivity within the classroom.”

Networking is a key aspect of GHC, as Jyoti Islam discovered. “As my GHC scholarship was sponsored by Allstate, I was invited to an early-morning breakfast hosted by them. Upon arriving late to the breakfast, there were only two individuals seated next to me; however, one turned out to be the vice president of Allstate and the other a senior tech lead within the industry! I was able to network with these prominent leaders, establishing a valuable career connection.” With over twenty-two thousand attendees at GHC, young women left the event feeling empowered to carve out their own position within a male-dominated industry, and those who attended strongly encourage other women to participate in future conferences. “This experience is amazing! Even if a full-time job is not the direct result, you will leave the conference with a newfound confidence in yourself and a passion for technology,” Jyoti said.

The Grace Hopper Celebration is produced by AnitaB.org (named after the late computer scientist Anita Borg) and presented in partnership with ACM. The 2019 GHC will be held in Orlando on October 1–4.

Story by Elizabeth Hazzard