SU Voice Alumni Blog

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

Posted by A contribution from Sheila Oh, Department of Computer Science on Thursday, February 6, 2020 at 9:48 AM PST

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) is the largest, global women in technology conference, with nearly 25,000 attendees in 2019. The demand for attending the conference is extremely high— it sells out in a matter of hours. Conference highlights include a career fair featuring over 400 organizations looking to recruit female and underrepresented talent, over 400 sessions, and over 900 speakers.

Ten students from Seattle University’s Computer Science Department received travel awards to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women (GHC) in Computing in Orlando, Florida. All attendees submitted their resumes before the conference and scheduled interviews during the conference. With the large number of companies represented at GHC, students were able to learn about companies and opportunities that they may not have the exposure to in their individual internship and job searches.

One of the most impactful moments of the conference was the opening keynote. The energy of the room was electric as students were surrounded by female technologists from around the world. One of the most important aspects of GHC is that attendees were able to build community and a support network. Students appreciated being able to spend time with fellow SU students and were relieved that they were “no longer isolated or alone.” They were able to rely on each other for support both during and after the conference.

“Being at GHC was incredibly beneficial for my outlook of being a woman in tech. Being around the awesome positivity and constant messages of empowerment was really important for me as a boost for my morale and an inspiration for finishing my degree,” said an SU student attendee. GHC was an extremely positive experience and the energy from the conference has continued. All attendees have been actively involved in ACM-W, whose mission is to promote a stronger community among women in technology through professional connections, opportunities for technical and educational development and community outreach. Additionally, students continue to reflect on the importance of giving back and supporting other female students in the department and building community.

In the words of another student, “I'm so thankful for the opportunity to attend GHC 19. I had the chance to attending over a dozen talks where I deepened my knowledge on cyber-security. During the career fair, I networked and learned of women empowering organizations that my fellow students and I could join. And finally, it was most eye opening to see so many women in engineering gathered together to share knowledge and empower each other.”