The last couple of days in Colorado were truly amazing. I spoke to several wonderful women who were able to give me some great advice and ideas, and got to go hiking with some awesome Google girls. This conference was the most fun, useful, inspiring, and enlightening I have heard of or been to yet.
Before the official conference came to a close Saturday morning, I met an instructor from Illinois who has been teaching with just her Master's. I have been leaning towards this career path (as opposed to being a professor) for many reasons, but after speaking to this person, I feel much more confident that this is the best choice. I think I will still try to pursue a PhD, if it all works out funding-wise, but concentrating on my better-than-usuals teaching ability seems to make the most sense. Even if I wouldn't get paid as much, I wouldn't have the pressures of running a research program or working all summer. For the sake of family life and using those talents that set me apart, I think this is the right thing. Thank you, Vida, for telling me about your experiences!
While two of the four of our travel group left Friday night/Saturday morning, Barb and I stayed until Sunday. On Saturday, we really wanted to go hiking, but didn't have a clue where to go. Luckily, I ran into Kendra from Google. I met her in New York at the Anita Borg Canada Scholar's Retreat, and mentioned our hope to hike. She said that a group of girls from Google (New York and California) would be meeting at the lobby 8am Saturday, and that we were welcome to join them. Perfect!
The hike was amazing. I was definitely out of breath very quickly thanks to the high altitude, but boy was it worth it! The views were simply amazing. It was also really nice to chat with the Google girls on the way, hearing about their experiences coming to the US for the first time, living in small apartments in New York City, and so on. Thanks for a great time, ladies!
Back at home, I am overwhelmed by the amount of information I gathered at Grace Hopper. I have much to go through! But this is a very good thing. For the first time, this pile of knowledge is filled with very useful stuff, particularly things that I might be able to use with CU-WISE for outreach or for talks to our members. I also plan on getting in touch with some of the contacts I made while there, though I haven't had the chance to yet.
Next year's conference is in Tucson, Arizona. Hope to see you there!