I applied for a Student Scholarship for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing a while back and just found out that I received one! I wanted to share my essay to inspire others to participate in the conference in whatever way they can (even if that means just attending).
The best news is that three out of the five executives got a scholarship, and a fourth is on a waiting list (fingers crossed!). This means that we can bring more people from Carleton University to Tucson. It also means that I should be able to bring my husband Andrew, which, as I wrote about in my essay below, could help bring the change we hope to see. Thank you to everyone who made all this possible!
I attended Grace Hopper last year for the first time. I travelled with three fellow executive members of Carleton University's Women in Science and Engineering group (http://www.carleton.ca/wise), which I recently helped rebuild and continue to dedicate many hours to. Our time in Colorado was an amazing bonding and team building experience, and we left with enough ideas and inspiration to make the rest of the school year an enormous success. Two executive members will be moving on in September, and new ones will be taking their place. This is the first reason that I want to attend Grace Hopper: I would like to have a similar opportunity to travel with the new executive, to help ensure another good year for our group, and to bring back multitudes of valuable information for our members (to be shared via special speaker events and on our blog at http://cuwise.blogspot.com). Receiving a scholarship will make this possible, as we only have a limited funding budget.
At last year's conference, I volunteered as a Hopper and Community Blogger (http://compscigail.blogspot.com). Being a Hopper was one of the best aspects of the week due to the many people I met, and the ability to give back to those who worked so hard to put this conference on. This is the second reason I want to attend: I want another opportunity to help with the conference, and to continue contributing to the online community. I have already begun the latter by helping BJ Wishinsky of the Anita Borg Institute organize this year's bloggers in whatever way I can. I plan to volunteer as a Hopper again, regardless of the funding I receive.
Inspired by the talks given at last year's conference, and motivated by the response we got when presenting to the National Conference of Women in Engineering, I lead a submission for a Birds of a Feather session that would have all executive members of our WISE group talk about how we rebuilt it. I also submitted a talk on an all-girls computer mini-course I designed and taught this year and last. Both were accepted. This is the third reason I want to attend: I want to share all I have learned with WISE and my mini-course in hopes that others may succeed in their own endeavours.
And the final reason I want to attend is one that is near and dear to my heart. My husband is also a computer scientist, and while he is interested in what I do with WISE and related activities, he often feels he is unable to contribute. With a scholarship, we can afford his airfare to attend Grace Hopper as well, where he is eager to volunteer as a Hopper. He hopes to bring back attitudes and ideas to the company he works at as a software developer, becoming an agent of the change we, as women, wish to see.