One woman's path through doula training, childrearing, and a computer science Ph. D. program

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2009

This year I had the pleasure of attending the 9th Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. This was a sold-out event with 1600 technical women in attendance from all walks of academia and industry.

For me, it was an event at which I could talk babies with computer science and computer engineering women! Well, and network with other women in my field, and learn about new trends in the industry, and see what the powerful women of technology today are doing.

I met Brenda Laurel, a sassy human-centered designer of a multitude of projects, ranging from energy conservation in low-income homes to a toy bee that teaches 6-year-olds about power and battery life to a video game for girls which was bought and killed by Mattel.

Unfortunately, I do not think Dr Laurel was particularly wowed by my thesis idea (though she tried to appear interested when I pitched it). Several grad students, particularly those with children or in a child-care field, however, came to chat with me about it.

At the end of Jen Mankoff's talk, I asked how one goes about finding interdisciplinary collaborators, and, though shyly, spoke briefly into the microphone about my research idea. I received several good answers, both from Jen and later through e-mail from another professor that was attending the talk. But the most startling thing for me was when I got up to leave, at the end of the talk -- I was nearly sprinting out the door because it had been several hours since I nursed my son, who was in the free, sponsored day care. Three women intercepted me and began asking about my work. I was so happy... and proud!

Now, I know that I have yet to blog about what the research is, but hang tight. Let me get some preliminary prototypes going, and some preliminary results, and I will tell you all about it.

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