Women in Computing Join Grace Hopper Celebration

More than 75 Northwestern students attended the Oct. 3-6 event.

NU Women in Computing.

More than 75 Northwestern women descended upon Orlando, Florida last week for the 2017 Grace Hopper Conference.

Billed as the world’s largest gathering of women in technology and engineering, the conference featured tech talks, celebrations, networking events, a research competition, and a career fair. The October 4-6 event, produced by the Anita Borg Institute, drew 18,000 women from around the globe.

“The Grace Hopper Celebration is a really special event for women technologists,” said Meg Grasse, president of the Northwestern chapter of Women in Computing. “It combines themes of celebration, inspiration, and opportunity, and provides tangible takeaways for how to make tech more accessible for women.”

Melinda Gates, philanthropist and cofounder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered the conference’s opening keynote address. She shared anecdotes about being a woman in tech and suggested ways to empower more women to become tech innovators.

“If we want the future of tech — and the future of humanity — to live up to its promise,” Gates said, “the industry needs a whole lot more of what I’m seeing right here in this room.”

In several seminars, participants learned about new developments in artificial intelligence, wearable technologies, data science, and software engineering. During the day-long career fair, students explored opportunities in academia and at several top tech companies, including Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google.

“Many Northwestern students received on-site interviews and even internship and full-time offers,” Grasse said. “Companies were blown away by what our candidates had to offer.”