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Systers Members Reflect on Their Experiences at the 2019 Grace Hopper Celebration

Two weeks ago, five members of Systers: Women In EECS@UTK attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing- Ava Hedayatipour, Farnaz Foroughian, Ria Patel, Lydia San George and Sirajum Munira.  The conference was held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida and more than 25,000 people were in attendance.  Ria Patel, Ava Hedayatipour and Farnaz Foroughian share their thoughts on the experience.

Ria Patel

GHC was nothing like I have ever experienced before! This is an experience that every woman in technology should have the chance to have. I spoke to several companies about what they did and what internships they have for undergrads in computer science. Although most companies were looking for juniors and seniors to fulfill their roles, I still managed to get an offer! I am currently going to work as a Software Engineer Intern. As well as speaking to many companies at the career fair, I attended some guest speaker sessions that featured topics such as being a minority woman in tech leadership, being a CEO of your own company, etc. I managed to gain many contacts with influential women in the field of computer science as well as other students from schools around the world! Overall, I would definitely recommend going to GHC in order to network with many people in the industry as well as get your name out there!

Ava Hedayatipour

In the first week of October, I went to Grace Hopper Celebration 2019 by Systers sponsorship. I was exhilarated that I got the chance to attend the best conferences that focus on providing professional development for women in engineering, with more than 20 thousand attendees. The highlight of Grace Hopper is always the opening keynote. With a few thousands of women cheering and hearing inspiring stories from the inspiring women, there is an incredible vibe going on. During the conference, there was a career fair going on in the main hall, where I experienced the latest technologies, tools, and services from the top companies in the industry. I was able to talk to representatives from big names in electrical engineering like Xilin, Cisco, IBM, Qualcomm, Apple, Amazon, Texas Instrument and Oracle. Among many useful sessions and talks in course of three days, I enjoyed the most the two sessions that I chaired, one about using technology in fashion and the other one a panel of experts in academia and industry that talked about the future of Artificial Intelligence. The after-hours of the conference are always comforting and chill, connecting with different people in company parties and catching up with friends that you have not seen for a long time, make every day of Grace Hopper pretty unforgettable. It was wonderful to talk to the people at both the Science & Technology. I am sure I benefited from the diverse perspective I witnessed at the conference. I will practices exchanging new ideas and methods that I learn, share my experience and try to empower women in my department. Most importantly, I encourage everyone to experience Grace Hopper 2020!

Farnaz Foroughian

It was the first time I was attending GHC and it was amazing to see over 25,000 women in tech from all over the world gathering in one place. Of course there were long lines everywhere and in those lines I could talk to many girls in EE or CS. This great event gave me the opportunity to see many pioneer women in different fields in technology and computing and they inspired me. I also attended several great sessions I had registered for.

Moreover, by visiting the career fair and talking to the people from many companies, research labs, and universities I could distribute my resume and also got updated on the latest technologies.

To me the most important part was networking and talking to incredible people who had lots of great ideas. I also could make friends from other universities like Oxford.

Besides, I had lots of fun with other girls by attending the events and parties of big companies like Google, Intel, and etc. at nights.