Earlier this month, I went to the Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando, Florida. GHC is a conference for women in computer science fields to connect with other women who are doing exciting, innovative, and

inspiring things with computer science. I was lucky to be sponsored by Qualcomm. The conference was three days long, and they were all incredibly busy! The very first day, I went to the kickoff keynote talk. There, I was able to hear speeches from Fei Fei Li, Melinda Gates, and Diane Green. It was an incredible experience to learn from these women who have been successful in making names for themselves in such a male-dominate industry. It was a really inspiring couple of hours, being in a huge auditorium surrounded by women all working for and passionate about inclusion for women in tech.

Aside from the keynote speeches each of the three days, there was also a career fair and lots of speaker sessions, as well as networking events. The career fair was nothing like I’ve ever seen before. Most of the career fairs I had been to have been outside in the extreme heat, with lines hours long, with grad students making up most of the line, so undergrads feel like they don’t have a way to get their resumes in. This one, on the other hand, was full of recruiters who were passionate about inclusion and recruiting more diverse people. The booths were not just tables, but rather custom built stations. Some of the really cool ones were at Facebook, where they had an Instagram picture booth and Airbnb, whose booth was sort of a tropical hut. The lines (for the most part) weren’t over a 15-minute wait, and there were hundreds of amazing companies of all sizes there.

Networking events were also super common in the evenings! I went to a Qualcomm event and an Amazon event, as well! At Qualcomm’s event, I talked to a woman who had spent most of her career at Qualcomm – she was talking about what she thought were the most important tips she had for women looking to pursue a career in this field. I also got to meet a lot of the other people who were coming to the conference sponsored by Qualcomm. The Amazon event was held at Ripley’s Believe It or Not, which was a building that looks like an upside-down ship. They had a “scavenger hunt” set up such that we would talk to 3 or 4 employees and do some cool activities like take a picture at the Photo Booth in order to be eligible for the raffle prize.

I came home from the week with SO MUCH tech swag and some really cool new professional role models, as well as a chance to develop my career and networking skills!

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