Twenty-nine computing students headed to Grace Hopper computing conference

Created on: September 28, 2012

Twenty-nine Purdue students are headed to the country’s largest technical conference for women in computing Oct. 3-6.

The students – 20 from the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) and nine from the Department of Computer Science – will join 3,600 other women in Baltimore, Md., to share research, network, discuss industry needs and learn about career development at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference.

“I’m hoping to find more reasons to love my major,” said Sophie Bounphisai, a first-year CIT major. She and other first-year students are also looking forward to the feeling of empowerment they’ll gain from being surrounded by and interacting with successful women in their field.

At the same time, seniors in the CIT program will be focused on professional networking, job searches and sharing their enthusiasm for Purdue.

“We have a unique degree program, so I want to portray the value of what I’ve learned here,” said senior Jena Fisher. She and the rest of her CIT colleagues will help staff a Purdue booth in the exhibit hall as well.

Six faculty and staff from CIT will travel with the students for the conference, including Fatma Mili, professor and head of the Department of Computer and Information Technology, who is a program co-chair for this year’s conference.

“The Grace Hopper Celebration is a very important tool for empowering women students and giving them the tools for success in their studies and careers,” Mili said. “The impact on the students and the excitement it generates is palpable and hopefully long lasting. Thanks to a program with a full agenda for students and a number of scholarships, about half of the attendance recently has been college women.”

Two Purdue faculty have been invited to present a session titled “Recruitment Practices to Engage Female Interest in Computing.” Presenters are Alka Harriger, professor of computer and information technology, and Dawn Laux, clinical assistant professor of computer and information technology.

Laux and Brandeis Marshall, assistant professor of computer and information technology, coordinated the department’s efforts to ensure students were able to take advantage of the conference.

About the conference

The Grace Hopper Celebration Of Women In Computing Conference is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront. It results in collaborative proposals, networking and mentoring for junior women and increased visibility for the contributions of women in computing. Conference presenters are leaders in their respective fields, representing industry, academia and government. Top researchers present their work while special sessions focus on the role of women in today’s technology fields.