Applying to Grace Hopper (FAQ)

Applying to Grace Hopper (FAQ)

One of our members, Shiri Dori-Hacohen, has been successful in being awarded the Grace Hopper scholarship to attend GHC multiple times in the past. As a result, she often fields questions about the admissions process. This year, she has taken the time to compile them into a list of “frequently-asked-questions” for members working on their application or attending for the first time.

Admiral Grace Hopper

On top of the GHC16 scholarship applications, there is also a call for proposals with the same deadline (March 30th). Proposals include panels, talks and posters. From my experience, people with accepted posters often have a higher chance of getting scholarships. There are technical and non-technical tracks.

This is a very cool opportunity if you’re interested in public speaking or presenting your research in a non-traditional setting. (If the latter is your goal, be mindful that this is not considered a technical publication and should probably not be used to communicate otherwise unpublished research. If in doubt, consult with your advisor).

Also as an added perk, accepted talks (but not posters) are getting a complimentary registration for the day of your talk, or a discount if attending the entire conference.

I’m passing this along with a blog post with tips on how to maximize your chances for a proposal to be accepted:

Best of luck to all, Shiri

How do I keep an eye out for announcements?

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General Application Questions

I am a first year graduate student at UMass Computer Science. I want to apply for Grace-hopper scholarship, what is your advice?

My biggest piece of advice would be to submit a poster in addition to the scholarship application. Getting a poster presentation accepted is correlated with scholarships.

How does reimbursement work?

You get reimbursed later.

Do I need a travel authorization?

Yes, you must fill out a Travel Authorization form, which lays out your expected travel, housing, and meal expenses for UMass ahead of time.

If I get accepted, what about registration?

This varies from year to year, but often runs out early. Keep an eye out for announcements.

What about other funding sources?

Google scholarships or other sources have been available in the past. You’ll have to see what becomes available this year. GHC should know about it; keep an eye out.

I missed the deadline, what can I do?

There’s always next year. If you’re an early-stage grad student, you will also be eligible for Grad Cohort, so keeep your eyes open for emails about that as well.

Is it a good idea to bring my husband/spouse/significant other with me?

While family travel is not likely to be supported through grants, your family is certainly welcome at the conference. I (Shiri) have attended with a baby and a husband, but it’s your personal choice.

What about childcare?

There is usually free childcare, but you have to sign up in advance. If you then don’t attend the conference, they will charge you money anyway.

What are the deadlines?

The website is the one true source.

Should I also apply to the department GCH award?

Yes. You definitely should apply once details are out. If you’re not sure if they’re out, ask our Khaleesi, Leeanne.

What should I write my essay about?

The topic might change from year to year, but assuming it stays similar to prior years, there are some general pointers. Typically, they ask “Why do you want to come, and how will you share back with your community?”

You should:

  • Focus on topics like your specific challenges.
  • Answer how attending GHC will help you, specifically.
  • Answer how you’ll share what you learn back to the CS women community (You can always write a blog post!).
  • Make it personal, use stories from your life.

How do I get someone to proofread my essay?

If you have time, it’s best to get someone else to read and review your essay (preferably a native English speaker, if possible). Sign in to and ask for feedback!

Student Research Competition Authorship

There appears to be a department limit for the number of submissions that can be sent from each department. GHC recommends coordinating with your chair.

This doesn’t appear to be relevant to our current year, or they’ve removed the submission page. Either way, our current chair is James Allan, who would coordinate submissions. In the future, if you want to apply to this, and you don’t know who the chair is, you can always email, and someone will help you.

I can’t submit to this because I always work with my advisor, right?

As long as work is done primarily by you, it can be submitted. What this means is dependent. If you’re not sure, ask your advisor. You should check with your advisor about submitting any of this work, anyway.