Wednesday, October 1, 2008

GHC: It's All About Networking

Another day at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and another flood of thoughts trying to escape my brain faster than I can write them down. Today was a pretty long day without much photography. There was a lot of networking, though! That's a main theme of this conference, and I have to say that learning to do it well is very important.

We all got to the conference centre pretty early this morning (two arrived at 7:00am, and the other two, including me, at 8:10am). We had various Hopper duties to fulfil, like being a greeter and running the t-shirt and Hopper registration booth. I helped with a session monitor training meeting and then watched over the Internet Cafe most of the day.


We also officially registered for the conference today. We got a nice bag with the conference poster on the front. It was filled to the brim with goodies, including notepads, pens, and even a book about key early programmers!

While checking out the loot, an undergraduate video blogger came by to see if we would say a few words. The result is a part of the video embedded below (or linked here). Skip ahead to 2:40 and then 3:37 to see us! We also helped take a little video of getting our badges scanned for the CONNECT project.



In the afternoon, I went to the resume clinic and ended up chatting with a professor about how to do an academic resume. Although many people wanted help getting a job in industry, this is exactly what I was hoping for!

Later, there was a speed networking event where we got four minutes to speak to another person and exchange contact information. Before this event, we were encouraged to think about our "30-second commercial" and use that to introduce ourselves. I didn't do a very good job because: (1) I wasn't planning on doing this, so I wasn't prepared; (2) it's really dry here in Colorado, probably because of the elevation, to my voice was dying quickly; and (3) the room was really noisy and I couldn't concentrate or hear the other person very well. I made a few contacts I think will be very useful, and ended up randomly "meeting" a fellow Anita Borg Scholarship finalist. Figures!

That brings me back to that main theme of networking again. Even in the welcome session for new GHC attendees, the word came up over and over again. It is truly one of the main purposes of the conference. We are here to meet other technical women, and our ability to make these connections meaningful could make the difference of fulfilling our dreams in the future. So many doors open by talking to the right person. I have not made huge efforts doing this yet, but I have been happy about the people I have met so far. The next two days will bring some interesting possibilities...

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