GHC Information Panel - Summary

GHC Information Panel - Summary

CSWomen conducted its first lunch event of the spring semester on Feb 12, 2020; an information session on conferences focused on diversity in technology. Here is a summary of the discussion.

Different conferences for inclusion and diversity:

  1. Grace Hopper Celebration (Sept 29 - Oct 2): It is a celebration of women in computing, and boasts of over 25000 attendees every year. Key events include the career fair, poster presentations, panels, workshops, and talks. CICS awards grants for attending the conference. See below for various additional scholarships opportunities.

  2. Richard Tapia Celebration (Sept 16 - 19): It is a celebration of diversity in computing, with focus on under-represented ethnicities, disabilities and genders. CICS awards grants for attending the conference. Scholarships open here.

  3. Grad Cohort Workshop for Women (April 16-19): A workshop with formal and informal presentations on navigating graduate life. This is usually geared towards PhD students, but Master’s students considering a PhD should also apply to attend (applications for this year are closed, and will open sometime in October/November for the next year).

  4. Central Massachusetts Women in Data Science (March 2): A day-long technical conference on latest data science research and applications. (Registration is currently open and free!).

How to Attend GHC:

There are various scholarships that can be availed to attend GHC.

  1. GHC Scholars Program: The official scholarship. This requires submitting an application with a couple of essay questions on why you want to attend GHC and how will you give back. A faculty recommendation is also required.
  2. GHC Women of Color in Technology Complimentary Registration.
  3. ACM Student Research Competition: You can submit your individual past/ongoing research project abstract. If accepted to speak at the poster session, ACM will cover upto $500 for travel/registration/accomodation. Interesting work done for your class projects can count!
  4. Hopper’s Program: You can volunteer for 5-8 hours spread over 3 days at the conference, and receive complimentary registration in return.
  5. Industry scholarships: Several companies like Google, Twitter, Facebook, etc. sponsor a few students each year to attend GHC. The link above keeps track of all such opportunities and is frequently updated. The information is crowd-sourced, so if you hear of an opportunity, please submit a pull request!
  6. CICS travel grant for GHC: CICS sponsors 8-10 women from the department every year. The focus is more on undergrad women, but some Master’s students are also awarded the grant. Please note that CSWomen monthly travel grant does not cover GHC.

If you do not receive a scholarship, you can buy a registration ($450) from GHC. Make sure to keep track of the date and time of registration; tickets are usually sold out in a few minutes. Also follow on social media for real time updates on registration issues if any.

If you are unable to secure a registration on the website, there are official - moderated Facebook groups that you can join, where people who are unable to attend the conference can transfer their registration to you. Please be aware of scams, and do not buy overpriced registration tickets.

Please keep an eye on the deadlines!

  1. Submit your resume to the GHC resume database early (months before the conference starts!), so that the companies attending GHC can potentially reach out to you before and after the conference.
  2. Make a list of the companies that you are really interested in, and talk to them on the first day.
  3. Coordinate with your friends; talk to different companies and compare notes periodically!
  4. Take multiple copies of your resume.
  5. Carry food and water with you.
  6. Wear comfortable shoes.

General advice

  1. Take advantage of the fact that you are in a place with 25000 women in tech! While the career fair is a wonderful opportunity, do take the time to attend other sessions, and network with women from the field.
  2. As the conference is huge, it can be a little overwhelming in terms of what companies to talk to at the career fair, what sessions to attend, and how best to network. Accept the fact that you will not be able to cover everything and prioritize what you want to attend.
  3. Networking can be challenging; it is okay to connect with fewer people and focus on quality.
  4. Companies often conduct social/networking events at the conference. Do attend these if invited; it can be very interesting to talk to employees. Keep on top of your email for such invitations!
  5. If attending without a scholarship, get shared accommodation with friends, or find other attendees through Facebook groups.
  6. As the conference gets nearer, install the GHC app to register for sessions, see the map of the career fair, etc.
  7. Enjoy what Orlando has to offer! Most scholarships mentioned above give you the option to extend your stay by a day (accomodation not covered), so take the time to explore the place!

Experience highlights

Pracheta: To witness the energy of 25000 women in computing was definitely a great memory. I enjoyed listening to the overview and highlights of the different avenues that everyone is pursuing and being able to interact and network with them was enriching.

Akshita: I was invited to attend DeepMind’s panel on various topics ranging from the potential of AI, to healthy company culture. It was wonderful to discuss these things with employees from DeepMind, and to hear diverse ideas from other student attendees!

Shyla: GHC 2019 gave me an opportunity to meet and connect with some of the most inspiring women working in tech. The highlight of my experience was meeting Dr. Fei Fei Li who has always been a great source of inspiration for me.

Thank you all for attending the information session! Please let us know if you have any questions.