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GHC 2017Thirty-four students from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University attended the 2017 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC). The three-day event, held in Orlando, Florida from Oct. 4-6, is the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, with 18,000 attendees.

This year the conference grouped tracks that cover similar topics into clusters, such as artificial intelligence, computer systems engineering, data science, interactive media, human computer interaction, security/privacy, software engineering, work-life balance and career development.

Dr. Dilma Da Silva, department head, professor and holder of the Ford Motor Company Design Professorship II, participated in two panels at the conference, one of which focused on building communities and the other on changing careers. There were also keynotes, panels, interviews for job seekers and a career fair.

Dr. Nancy M. Amato, Unocal and Regents Professor, was also in attendance, leading the Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research Research Scholars Program, alongside Dr. Andrea Danyluk, Dennis A. Meenan '54 Third Century Professor of computer science at Williams College.

“This is the second year we have run the program,” Amato said. “We started it to provide undergraduates who are interested in research and graduate school a research-focused experience at GHC, including mentors, networking opportunities and assistance identifying the relevant programming at the conference. Based on an evaluation of the inaugural 2016 program, the participants reported having significantly more knowledge about research and graduate school than a comparison group of students who did not attend the conference.”

Students who were able to attend GHC 2017 detailed the memorable experience.

“I was surrounded by thousands of the most intelligent women in computing and was able to establish some great connections,” said sophomore, Mackenzie Ford. “It was an honor just to be in the room. This was my second time attending and I have loved it both years. GHC is a rare and amazing opportunity to attend.”

"This was my first time attending the Grace Hopper Conference and it was nothing less than extraordinary,” said sophomore, Mia Brown. “Being around so many successful women in the tech industry, a male dominated field, helped  to boost my confidence as a future computer engineer. The most beneficial thing that I took away from this year’s conference came from a conversation that I had with a representative from Google. She told me that I should never think that I am not good enough and told me to never give up because there are so many women out there who have successfully made it into the tech Industry that are ready and willing to give me their support. This piece of advice is what has stuck with me as I have returned to school and my regular routine and it is the piece of advice that I will use to propel me into my future until I have become another success story.”

Inspired by the legacy of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, Dr. Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney co-founded GHC in 1994. The conference is produced by the and presented in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery.