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Grace Hopper Celebration participants raise the roof for STEM diversity

24 Oct 2017 | Jane E. Herriman

This year I attended the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Computing for the first time, thanks to the support of Julia Computing and Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

GHC is the world’s largest meeting of women technologists and this year it drew 18,000 people to Orlando, Florida. Notable speakers this year included Melinda Gates and Debbie Sterling. Often over 20 talks or panels are held concurrently, offering both technical content and professional advice, and an ongoing career fair allows participants to interview everywhere from Google and Facebook to the national labs to Bank of America.

There ain’t no party like a Grace Hopper Celebration dance party!

Beyond the vast array of available activities, the environment created at GHC was incredibly supportive. I found it easy to reach out to other attendees, enjoying friendly and warm conversation with each person I met.

With the Julia community’s strong interest in cultivating an inclusive environment and greater diversity amongst its users and developers, GHC2017 was an ideal venue to gauge interest in Julia amongst undergraduate women and to identify potential partners for future diversity efforts. Among the many bright and talented undergraduate women I met at GHC, I frequently encountered leaders of organizations dedicated to increasing diversity in computing at their home institutions, such as the Association for Women in Computing (AWC) and the Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women in Computing (ACM-W). Many of the women with whom I spoke were enthusiastic about the opportunity to help bring Julia to their communities by hosting tutorials and workshops this coming spring. We’re now in the beginning stages of setting up our first diversity-oriented events and excited to have made these new connections!

Jane Herriman is a PhD candidate in applied physics and materials science at Caltech, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Director of Diversity and Outreach at Julia Computing.

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