Grace Hopper Conference

So today is the last day of the conference. And I’m both happy and sad. Happy, because it’s already been a really long two days and I need some sleep. Sad, because it’s always a fun conference, especially when you travel with a lot of people. I’m just going to give a few random comments on thoughts that have been running through my head.

  1. The lack of men. Yes, the conference is for women. However, every time I have gone to the conference people (usually speakers) are always talking about how great it is for guys to come to this conference. And, since Grace Hopper is now selling out, it seems like it would be very reasonable for them to reserve a section of tickets for males. A good number would be to the average percentage of women in cs (which is something like 13% right now). The goal could be to eventually get the conference to 50-50 (which won’t happen soon, so don’t think my suggestion would make it no longer a women’s conference).
  2. There have not be nearly as many sessions that I have been interested in attending. The first two times I came, I always felt like there were more sessions I wanted to attend then physically possible. This time, it’s been difficult to find more than 2 sessions a day that I want to attend.
  3. Coming with a big group always turns out to involve a ton of interesting discussions on tons of topics – from undergrad and grad school life to prison systems to writing student group constitutions. All of it was fascinating and made the whole trip that much more worth it.
  4. That bringing swag from Canada always sucks. Because anything left we really don’t want to take back, since we’ll have to take it through customs again. So today is going to be a huge push to shove stuff on everyone so at the very least, we are only left with pamphlets which are easier to leave behind.
  5. It’s always much more awesome to be close to the convention centre. We’re about 30 minutes away on bus (15 on the express). It just means it’s not so simple to run home and grab anything (or take that urgently needed nap).
  6. I miss the impostor panel. I don’t know when they got rid of it, but it was the biggest highlight of the conference the first time I came. And I think about it often when I’m not sure that I belong or that things are going terrible.
  7. The internet here is brutal. The conference you can pretty much not stay on. There are 4600 people at the conference. And we had an online game to collect entries into a draw. We’ve only been able to run the game long enough to collect 10 entries. The internet at the place we’re staying is almost as bad. Of course, we have well over 20 devices here that can connect to the internet.

If you’re here, are you having a good time? Any comments about your experience? Things you would change?

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