Hamilton attendees, from left: Hayoung (Stephana) Lim, Isabella Bossi, Sophie Menashi, Julia Opatrny, Eseosa (Sosa) Asiruwa, Niamh Fitzpatrick, Lia Jundt, Grace Woolfson, Ines Ayara, Paige Rossi, Emma Yanco, Dave Perkins.

Exploring their computer science interests with a network of 18,000 other participants, 11 Hamilton students attended the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Computing Conference held in Orlando, Fla., on Oct. 4 - 6.

Founded in 1994, GHC is inspired by the works of Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, a pioneer of computer programming. The annual gathering is designed to bring together women in technology and engineering, offering them panel discussions, research presentations, networking opportunities, and overall, a welcoming community of passionate, female professionals.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science Dave Perkins extended an offer to any interested students and led the group to the conference. The 10 students varied in year and major.

Hayoung Lim ’21 wasted no time accepting the invitation to the conference, seeing it as an opportunity to guide her future as a young computer scientist. Having never attended such a large conference with so many skilled experts, she was blown away by the amount of intellectual research, new technology, and inspiring stories.

“I gained insight as to what kind of work I would like to do in the future, and experienced some of the newest technology around, such as HP's nail printer and Microsoft's MR simulation,” Lim commented. “My favorite part of the conference was the career fair. While peeking into each booth at the fair, I got to encounter a wide range of women interested in computer science, from college juniors to Ph.D. graduates, and heard their field experiences, which I couldn't really learn during class.”

Similarly, Eseosa Asiruwa ’18 was amazed by the different learning opportunities available at the conference, including workshops on “Imposter Syndrome” and System Design, as well as a social celebration for African American Women in Computing. She also learned about how to approach and study for technical interviews, in addition to topics such as trans issues, being a working parent, and how to ask for a raise, even though they didn’t pertain to her specifically.

As a computer science major, Asiruwa recalls how instrumental Hamilton’s Computer Science Department was when shaping her interest in the field.

“Before coming to Hamilton, I was pre-med and wanted to study biology. Through some exploration, I stumbled upon the Intro to Computer Science course and never looked back,” Asiruwa said. “I really fell in love with my courses and having professors who were just as excited to teach these subjects as I was to learn about them only helped.”

With conferences such as GHC, Asiruwa and other students have a number of opportunities to explore their interests, and continuously prepare themselves for a future after Hamilton.

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