Last month, I got the incredible chance to go to my first Grace Hopper Celebration! For those who don’t know, GHC is a conference that brings together the research and career interests of women in computing! In fact, it’s the world’s largest gathering of women in computing as well. This year, it was held in Orlando, Florida—which I later learned was because only the convention centers in Orlando and Houston were large enough to accommodate so many people.
Besides being able to attend the workshops and career fair, I was also at GHC to present some of the CS research I had conducted over the summer through an REU (research experience for undergraduates) program. My poster was entitled “Explaining Fashion recommendations through AI-generated explanations,” and explored how justifications and the way in which they are presented on the interface could enhance a user’s traditional shopping experience. It was such a cool experience, and I got to receive feedback from a number of people (students, researchers, etc) who stopped by! I was also able to catch up with some of my former lab members at the conference who were attending from WashU and Caltech, which was super lovely.
Everyone loves to talk about the career fair, but for me, one of the most fulfilling things about Grace Hopper were the various workshops that were held. On the second day, I attended one called “mentoring circles,” which was a room filled with round tables. Each table had a mentor (ranging from women in the industry to women in academia) and focused on a different topic, such as “Product Design or Software Engineering?”, or “Exploring Graduate School for Computer Science.” It was so valuable to get to talk to these mentors personally, and meet girls with like-minded interests at each table. Honestly, I wish I had planned out my schedule a bit better to accommodate all the cool workshops! But thank goodness there’s always next year 🙂