I had a delightful time attending AnitaB.org’s 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Tech – the world’s largest gathering of women technologists – recently held in Houston.
The three-day conference was filled with talks, panels, pitches, awards, academic poster presentations, demonstrations, networking events and much more by leading women in industry and academia. This year’s special speakers included Dr. Priscilla Chan, Co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Dr. Anita Hill, attorney and professor of social policy, law, and women’s studies at Brandeis University. Dr. Hill is equally well-known for her 1991 sexual harassment testimony against then-Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas. Her #METOO themed discussion (booked months in advance) was coincidentally held on the morning of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination vote and was live-streamed to all attendees who could not all fit into the room.
It should be noted GHC is geared largely toward undergraduate students looking for professional opportunities in the industry (the event was centred around the career expo). That said, it successfully brought researchers, graduate students and academics from across the world to discuss research and career interests. It was motivating to see some 20,000 women in attendance, many of whom were GHC scholarship awardees like myself. The award provided airfare, accommodation, registration and a small stipend to current students and faculty members and REALLY helped reduce barriers to attend such an event.
While GHC was largely a tech diversity and inclusion conference and an industry talent acquisition event, it was an insightful and motivating conference as a queer POC woman in tech and graduate student. I met many women who have been where I am in all aspects of school, life and career. Many were happy to be official mentors or to connect socially while waiting in many of the week’s long wait lines.
GHC is held annually and relocates between Houston and Orlando each year. I highly recommend any woman in tech who is a current or recent student to apply for the GHC scholarship. It’s a wonderful event to connect with other women in your field.
You’ll find additional stories of my experience on my Instagram stories too.