SCIS goes to 2018 Grace Hopper Conference

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Five faculty members and twenty-six female students from FIU were granted a scholarship from the School of Computing and Information Sciences to attend the 2018 Grace Hopper Conference, Sept. 26 – 28th, thanks to the generosity of our director, Dr. Iyengar. Twenty-five additional FIU students led by WICS president, Alejandra Massuh, returned to the Grace Hopper conference, having been sponsored the previous year by FIU.

During this conference, we were all treated to amazing keynote speakers including Jessica O. Matthews, the founder, and CEO of Uncharted Power and Justine Cassell, an associate dean at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science. Jessica inspired us with her life-changing story of creating innovative technologies to power Nigeria, including the invention of a soccer ball and a jump rope that generate power after playing with them. Justine inspired us with her work in artificial intelligence to develop personal assistants. Other speakers included the inspiring Sophia Dominguez, CEO, and co-founder of the first search engine for virtual reality/augmented reality news and content, and Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg, co-founder of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization to personalize education, fight disease, and alleviate the criminal justice system.

The conference provided us with multiple track sessions on topics such as AI, VR/AR, Data Science, and IoT. Our students made aggressive schedules to attend multiple sessions related to their field of interest and will be preparing special PowerPoints to summarize what they learned, to share with others at FIU. They will also share what they learned by serving on two panels, one hosted by WICS for FIU students, and another hosted by CodeFest at the Big Sisters/Little Sisters event.

Finally, the conference provided multiple opportunities for our FIU students to meet and interview with technology companies such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook, allowing them to secure valuable internship opportunities as well as job offers after graduation.
In all, the Grace Hopper Conference was a valuable and very enjoyable experience for all FIU students and faculty who attended. We hope FIU will continue to support attendance at this conference for many more fortunate female students and faculty to attend in the future.

Written by
Cristy Charters

Selected Quotes from the #FIUSCIS Students:

My name is Anamarys Sanchez and I am one of the lucky FIU students that had the amazing opportunity of attending the Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston last week. By this means I wanted to thank you for supporting this trip, and let you know that the experience of interacting with thousands of ladies with my same interests was very inspiring. I hope FIU continues investing in this kind of events so future students can have the same opportunity as me.

~ Anamarys Sanchez Morales

I am one of the girls who was sponsored by FIU to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. I was able to attend many fascinating talks and talk with people from different fields of computer science.

As a result of Grace Hopper, I was also offered an internship for the upcoming summer with Microsoft Explore – their internship program for freshmen and sophomores. By going to Grace Hopper I was expedited through the interview process and able to get this great opportunity with Microsoft- specifically working in the Xbox division.

Thank you so much for sponsoring me and all the other girls to go here. Many of us were able to secure internships so much easier by attending this conference and it was a truly memorable experience for us

~ Rébecca Dupuis

I wanted to personally reach out and thank you for supporting the FIU Grace Hopper Scholarship which allowed many women, myself included, to attend GHC 2018. This event opened my eyes to so many cutting edge technologies, and helped me narrow down technical topics of interest to pursue in my research and graduate degree.

Without this scholarship I would not have been able to have this experience, and for that I am eternally grateful.

~ Sabina Cartacio

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