It's been two weeks and a day since I've returned home from the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Keystone, Colorado. If you've been reading my posts documenting the travels so far, then you know just how amazing the experience was! There was just one thing I had left to get done: email the many contacts I made while I was there.
I made many connections via the CONNECT project (which I found to be an incredibly easy and useful way to gather attendee information), so I had to narrow my list down to those people who were the most important to the future of CU-WISE and to my own. I forced myself to send each of them an email earlier tonight, and am now crossing my fingers that they remember meeting me. Luckily, I recorded the context behind each person that I could, so I was able to add some memory-jogging details into my notes.
First I wrote to a woman from Intel I met during the speed networking event. She was excited about CU-WISE and thought there might be some potential to help us out with a mentoring program. And who knows - maybe we'd even be able to set up a sponsorship partnership?
Next, I touched base with a very energetic member of the Women 2.0 team. This organization promotes an entrepreneurial spirit among technical women, who often seem to avoid the idea of starting up a company of their own for some reason. I thought there could be potential to somehow collaborate and spread this spirit among our members here at Carleton University.
I sent a special thank-you to an instructor I met completely by chance during one of the conference's informal buffet dinners. We had a good chat about life as an instructor, and what it means to choose that path over that of a professor. It really helped me feel confident in my choice to aim for a career in teaching instead of one in both teaching and research.
Finally, I wrote to a women very involved with ACM-W (ACM's Committee on Women in Computing) and SIGCSE (ACM Special Interest Group in Computer Science Education). CU-WISE might like to have an ACM-W chapter some day (though we'll have to get a student chapter of ACM first!), and aims to hold a local celebration of women in computing when the group matures more (ACM-W provides excellent resources to help with this). The outreach activities we participate in are definitely related to SIGCSE, and I personally have an interest in the topic of computer science education.
This will be the first test of any serious networking efforts I have made so far; I'm quite excited to see who writes back and what they will say.