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Communications of the ACM


Grace Hopper Conference Opening Session: Part 1

Valerie Barr

Valerie Barr, Professor of Computer Science, Union College

The theme of the 9th Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) is “Creating Technology for Social Good.”  This is a theme that has clearly resonated with many people, as the conference totally sold out, with 1608 attendees!  There are 178 companies represented, 23 countries, and 728 students.  There were more than 100 people who volunteerd for the 16 committees that helped organize different aspects of the conference.  One quarter of the attendees, 430 people, are involved in presentations of panels, papers, workshops, and BOFs.  In addition to the usual conference type of activities, one of the sessions on Wednesday was a resume review–the volunteer reviewers read more than 300 resumes.

A wonderful element of the Hopper conference is the emphasis on networking.  At the conference opening on Thursday, Heidi Kvinge of Intel, the conference chair, challenged attendees to make the most of this aspect of the conference by introducing themselves to at least five new people per day.  For the undergraduates in particular, Heidi gave a wonderful example of an elevator speech, demonstrating how they could capture all the key details about themselves in just a few sentences. 

Heidi also acknowledge the support of SAP who sponsors videoing at the conference.  She showed the video that was made last year at GHC.  You can check it out at  This is a great way to get a sense of what GHC is like, to understand the incredible energy at the conference.  Passing on Heidi's request, please pass this video on to your friends and colleagues, and to anyone you know who has a daughter. 


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