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

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grace Hopper '11 checklist: Five things to do at GHC11

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is basically a giant lady-party in which all of the conference attendees are gorgeous, brilliant, and interesting.  But you already know this, because I have blogged about Grace Hopper in my post about do-overs next time I go, and in my post from my attendance in 2009.  That is not totally right -- it is not just a party.  It is an opportunity to showcase your work, learn about other women's research, find out ways to bring more women into our field and make it more woman-friendly, meet new people, and build lasting relationships.

Here are the top five things that I wish to get out of attending Grace Hopper Celebration this year, in 2011.

5. Reconnect with old friends

It has been a year -- in some cases, more -- since I have seen old acquaintances, friends, and mentors.  From my first room mate, to the professor that has changed how I see myself as a researcher, to the group of 200 women that have given me the gift of working with my rockstar undergraduate student, I look forward to seeing these ladies again.

4. Find a collaborator

Researching alone can be dismal.  Would it not be fun to meet someone with similar interests, in which we can complement each others' strengths?  I have this rosy dream about collaborating on a paper with someone I had met once (maybe twice) at Grace Hopper.

3. Meet a new mentor

My career will soon be in flux: next year, I will be dissertating while on the academic job market. (Note: Even though Blogger doesn't think "dissertating" is a word, it totally is.) I imagine I will be in need of new guidance -- of help finding appropriate job openings, navigating the complicated job-seeking and application system, and finding the best way to present myself to particular universities.  What better place to meet someone that can potentially help me than at Grace Hopper?

2. Make a new mentee

(Note: Blogger doesn't think "mentee" is a word, but if it isn't, it should be. It's who mentors advise!)  As a senior graduate student in her final throes, maybe -- maybe -- my experience can be valuable to someone.  I have an undergraduate degree with two majors, I worked in industry for 3 years, I had a baby pre-advancement in graduate school, and I work in a highly interdisciplinary field doing research of my own invention.  I write grants, I write blog posts, I invent eHealth learning methods, and I play video games.  Surely I could be a resource to somebody!

1. Say thanks

I am pretty lucky that in four years of attending Grace Hopper, I have never paid for the visit myself. In three years, I have never paid for child care.  In two years, I have contributed to the program at Grace Hopper, hosting sessions and panels.  I feel privileged that I have helped shape the community of women that I am about to see again, meet, or just observe.  So, at Grace Hopper this year, I plan to say thanks for accepting me as a part of the package of women in computing, of technical women.

If you will be at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Portland, please find me and say hello!  I will be tweeting as @lexyholloway.

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