A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the Grace Hopper Conference in Portland, Oregon. It was a great opportunity to meet students, professionals, parents, teachers, and supporters – all in the field of computing! We had the chance to attend numerous info sessions ranging from topics like applying to graduate school to creating a start-up. Additionally, there were two inspiring keynotes given by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Shirley Ann Jackson, President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The conference was also great for students due to the huge career fair! Companies were heavily recruiting and offering tons of free SWAG!
While all of this was amazing, the best part for me was the NCWIT meet-up which was hosted at Puppet Labs, complete with Hotlips pizza and Voodoo Donuts. It was really great getting to connect with past Aspirations Award winners, some familiar faces and some new faces! We had the honor of having Rick Rashid, Chief Research Officer of Microsoft Research, attend the dinner. Microsoft Research is a big NCWIT supporter, and we are very thankful for all of their support over the years!
I was especially excited to meet Mr. Rashid, because I am a currently attending Carnegie Mellon University, where he used to teach, and I will be interning at Microsoft this summer as well. He shared some of his stories with us and left us all with some very inspiring words.
Next we heard from Tamsen Galloway, Solutions Sales Executive at ViaWest (another sponsor!), who gave us a very informative and helpful presentation on networking. We all had a chance to introduce ourselves in front of everyone as practice.
This night was the highlight of my trip – I had a chance to see what crazy projects my fellow Aspirations Award winners were working on and I look forward to seeing everyone succeed. It was amazing and inspiring to see how accomplished every woman in that room was and it just pushes me to strive even more. If you have never attended the conference before – I highly recommend it. Hopefully our NCWIT meet-ups can continue and grow in future years!
Ranika is a 2008 winner of the NCWIT National Award for Aspirations in Computing.