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.