The Grace Hopper Celebration was amazing and life changing. I absolutely loved being there and meeting so many other women who are interested in computer science. I believe that this is a MUST attend conference for any woman interested in computer science. Go at least least once! It is a mix of academic and industry topics.
The first reason this conference is so great is the mirroring. I can not explain why seeing someone who is like you is so important but I can tell you first hand that it is key. For some reason, seeing other women who are successful and interested in computer science is just very motivating. I came back from the conference very energized.
Another aspect of the conference that is life changing is the casual mentoring. It is easy to meet people further along on similar paths and it is easy to ask questions and get help and mentoring. I talked to several people who ran workshops and talks and they were very helpful. I received a lot of advice.
Lastly, the conference is great for networking. I have made a lot of connections with people. I usually meet people at conferences as I am very outgoing and friendly. However, this was by far the easiest conference to meet people. Everyone was so friendly and I left with 3 to 4 times the number of connections as compared to a typical conference.
I am used to going to conferences where I am one of a few women. This conference is mostly women and only a few men. That fact alone makes it an interesting experience, but the mirroring, mentoring, and networking are the key reasons why this conference more than any other is a must attend conference for every woman in computer science. Like I said, go atleast once!
Here is a great posting about specific events at Grace Hopper this year.
kd-PhD's Post on Grace Hopper
Lastly, my friends and I did a workshop at the conference on Origami and deltahedron. The name of the workshop was Computational Geometry with Origami, A Computer Science Circle. I have been learning how to run math circles for a few years but this was the first computer science circle I have done. More information about math circles can be found here:
The Math Circle
For the computer science circle at Grace Hopper, we made various deltahedron and explored the mathematical properties. It was a huge success and a personal milestone. 75 women and a few men showed up for the workshop. I'll write up the details of the material for this workshop in my next posting.