CISE/SE Students at the World’s Largest Gathering of Women in Technology

in NEWS, SE Spotlight Alumni, SE Spotlight-Research, Students

by Christina Polyzos

GracehopperTheodora Brisimi (ECE), Elli Ntakou (ME, SE), and Yasaman Khazaeni (ECE, SE) attended the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing on October 14-16, 2015 in Houston Texas with the support of CISE and the Division of Systems Engineering.

Theodora Brisimi (ECE) and Elli Ntakou (ME, SE) presented posters. Brisimi (advisor: Ioannis Paschalidis) joined the conference to meet prominent females and expand her professional network by showcasing her work and conversing with women from organizations in her field of expertise. “GHC was inspirational and my participation has been a unique, scientific and social, experience. I was fortunate enough to be part of such a noteworthy event,” Brisimi said.

This conference brings together women from various technological fields to share ideas, network, and partake in professional development activities with over 700 speakers this year. GHC is notably the world’s largest conference for women in technology. It is a unique opportunity for women to assemble and connect with each other, although the conference is open to men who attend to support women in the field.

According to Ntakou (advisor: Michael Caramanis), “the conference had a different feel than the technical conferences that I have attended in the past, in the sense that people put much more effort to relate to you.”

In fact, this year, participants expanded to an overwhelming 12,000 attendees from academia and professionals from different countries and organizations. As a result, to accommodate the influx of participants, the program included ‘clusters’ which were comprised of multiple tracks.

Khazaeni (advisor: Christos Cassandras) primarily related to the track “on Robotics as a Part of Society. This was an example on how things that were fantasy will become reality sooner than we think.” These technology conferences open the road to women who eventually become leaders in their field. “I hope we can carry the message we got from this conference and be part of the movement to help more women join STEM fields.”

In 1994, Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney co-founded this conference with the vision of bringing women technologists together to celebrate achievements, discuss career interests, and present research. The Grace Hopper Celebration incorporates career sessions with technical sessions, including proposal presentations, mentoring workshops, papers, a PhD forum, panel discussions, and a Poster Session. Conference keynote speakers and presenters are leaders in their respective discipline from academia, government and industry such as Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube, Manuela M. Veloso, Herbert A. Simon University Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook & Founder of Leanin.