Tag Archives: women

Capital Regional Celebration of Women in Computing!!!

If you’re like me, you’re a woman in tech…or you support women in tech. Either way, you’re really excited about the Capital Regional Celebration of Women in Computing (CAPWIC)! If you’ve never heard of a Celebration of Women in Computing, let’s take a quick informational field trip:

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) is the world’s largest technical conference for women. Attending is an amazing experience, however sometimes it’s not possible for all women due to location and/or travel cost. That’s where the Regional Celebrations come in. Throughout the country there are Regional Celebrations of Women in Computing that are like GHC, but on a smaller scale. These smaller celebrations are great. They’re very welcoming, they provide tons of opportunities to participate, they perfect for forming local support networks and they cost less to get to.

So, now that you’re familiar with what I’m talking about, here’s a short story. When I was a student at DePauw University, I went to the Indiana Women in Computing Celebration. My first year I gave a Lightning Talk, I lead a Birds of a Feather table and I conducted a hands-on robot workshop. These were all opportunities for me to practice public speaking & everything that comes with it (preparation, anyone?), plus they wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t a local conference. All of my sessions were great! I got to meet so many women in the area. INWiC wound up being super beneficial for my career too! Even after I moved out of Indiana, I still went back for INWiC because I want to help make it a great experience for other women.

This brings me back to the point, CAPWIC is coming up!! I’ll be speaking and presenting at CAPWIC this year and I’m so excited to be contributing to such a great event. If you’re in the DMV area, I highly encourage you to go! With that being said, here’s the spiel, hope to see you there!

In about a week, the first Capitol Region Celebration of Women in Computing (CAPWIC) will take place in Fredericksburg, VA: April 13-14, 2012. See: http://www.capwic.org for the conference website. It is not too late to register!


We encourage your participation in the conference and hope that over half of the attendees will present a short talk! It’s not too late to sign up for a Lightning Talk or 20 minute presentation and get to participate in the conference. Don’t forget, you can include the Lightning Talk presentation in your resume. Having a presentation in your resume demonstrates initiative, motivation and academic competence. Developing and giving the presentation provides you with benefits too: confidence, encouragement and an introduction to the professional world. Brainstorm ideas for proposals with your advisers and friends, occasionally two women share a Lightning Talk. More info on Lightning Talks.

Submit your proposal for a Lightning Talk today! Email the title & abstract (a few sentences to a paragraph) to information@capwic.org or to lparker@vcu.edu.

If you’re still wondering whether to attend, you should! We want to see you there! Here are the top 5 reasons to attend CAPWIC:

  1. Informal Dress Code. Wear your jeans and participate in some old-fashioned face-to-face communication.
  2. Food and fun! We will have snacks at breaks, nice meals and an ice cream social on Friday evening. We will play a version of Bingo that will allow you to win prizes.
  3. Other women have benefitted, why not you? Over 95% of participants at other Women in Computing conferences said that they would come back.
  4. Networking is one of the most important reasons to attend CAPWIC! There will be opportunities to meet professors, lots of students and industry professionals.
  5. We have a very exciting program. There are research talks, poster sessions, lightening talks and more. Hear pointers on how to give a presentation from a theatre professional. Learn about parallel programming from an expert. See what other students are working on. Even give your own lightning talk!


Lightning Talks are very short (5-6 minute) talks. We’ll know the exact length, after we see how many proposals come in. Here are some examples of previous Lightning Talks:

· Socialization in an Online World

· 5 Ideas in 5 Minutes for Women in CS Organizations

· Appealing to Different Learning Styles in Computer Science

· One Laptop Per Child

· Gender Differences in the use of Social Networking Sites

· Collaborative Learning Environments: Reducing Dropouts in Public Schools in Chennai, India

· Variations on Matrix Multiplication Algorithms: Summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates

· Inner Peace in Outer Space: An HCId approach to habitability in a high stress environment

· Self-Healing Database Management Systems

Tennessee Women in Computing (TNWiC)

This past weekend I was lucky enough to attend (and speak at) the very first Tennessee Women in Computing Regional Grace Hopper Celebration. I know that a super long name which is why everyone calls is TNWiC. Here are some stats-at-a-glance from TNWiC:

  • 180 attendees (TNWiC sold out and there was a waiting list!)
  • 19 sessions
  • 5 Lightning Talks
  • 2 talks with “awesome” in the title (mine was one!)

Day 1 started with the keynote from Dr. Lynne Parker about what robotics can learn from nature. From flight patterns to hunting principles, robotics has a long way to go and a lot to learn from wolves, birds, and bees. One of my favorite things about robotics that Dr. Parker talked about is the diversity that’s needed in the field. Not just women, I mean backgrounds; everything from math to philosophy is relevant to robotics.

Following the keynote were two rounds of sessions, one featuring a talk by Ruthe Farmer (@ruthef) of NCWIT, The Power of Encouragement, and the other featuring the panel I was a part of, Thriving in a Man’s World. Ruthe actually mentioned me in her talk! She made a quick reference about how I became a CS major (my professor wrote on my test, “Do you have a major?”). She also talked about the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing. If you know any high school girls who have an interest in technology, encourage them to apply! The panel I was on discussed advice for surviving the workplace. We answered questions about being mommy-tracked (well, I didn’t answer that one) and how to dress in the workplace and everything in between.

The second day was packed full of great sessions too! There were two sessions for the Distinguished Speakers, Dr. Valentina Salapura (IBM) and Dr. Vidya Setlur (Nokia). In additions there were lightning talks (I gave one!), technical presentations and an invited speakers session. During my session, Mobile: Be Awesome. And Hot., I got to talk about some of the cool features of Windows Phone 7 and show-off two ways of creating mobile apps that require little to no coding experience. If you’re interested in creating apps and games for the phone check out AppMakr, an RSS aggregator, and ScriptTD, a customizable tower defense game engine.

Demo of ScriptTD

I always love the regional Grace Hopper conferences and TNWiC was no exception. The opportunity for meaningful local connections is so important and I’ ‘m grateful when I get to be a part of that process. I’m so proud of the organizers of TNWiC, it was a very successful first conference and I know it’s only going to get better.

NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing (2011)

Alfred posted about the Award for Aspirations in Computing from NCWIT recently (if you don’t subscribe to his blog, you should). I’m so glad he did, because it’s a great reminder that the application process opens in about 3 weeks!

The NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing honors young women active and interested in computing and technology. We are looking for next generation of technical talent. Award winners receive cool prizes, gadgets, scholarships and all girls can join a community of fellow technically-inclined young women.

I was lucky enough to meet two award winners at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing last year and they were so inspiring! This award can be really beneficial; both of them had internships lined up for the summer!

To stay up-to-date on the award, make sure to like it on Facebook. (Applications will be accepted between  9/15-10/31.)