Back in early October of this year, I got the chance of a lifetime to visit Orlando, Florida and attend the Grace Hopper convention with the computer science department! We had a fantastic group led by Prof. Sue Black and Prof. Alexandria Cristea, and spent a week living, breathing, and celebrating women in technology.
The conference was absolutely fantastic; it was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many women in one place, never mind so many women with such a passion for tech! There were a huge variety of talks, from never-before-given-outside-of-Apple talks on safety critical systems, to AI, to data science, to personal and professional development, and plenty of workshops as well. It was really cool to see all of the opportunities that the current undergrads got to take advantage of, too – for myself, a recent graduate who had just moved to London to take up a new job, the networking and getting connected to several London-centric groups was really cool, whereas for one of the attendees who is current 3rd year, looking at the huge array of job opportunities was the highlight, and she had interviews at the conference itself and was also able to line up some for when she returned to the UK! Another student, who is just entering 2nd year, was the coolest person to watch over the week, because you could see her confidence growing through the week as she got more and more empowered by the different events she attended. I have no doubt it will help all three of us hugely, both with immediate effect in the next days and weeks of our work and studies, but also in years to come. And naturally, getting to attend the conference with Dr. Black and attend so many extra events as her students is just an incredible opportunity in and of itself!
In the weeks since the conference, I’ve already been to events with the amazing women I met at the conference, and even got invited to speak on a panel about the event! I’m still in a bit of a daze from the whole thing, but I know this incredible experience has already had a huge impact on my life and career, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next!
Hannah Bellamy – Class of 2019. B.Sc. Computer Science