“Sending students to the Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) has been the cornerstone of the Computer Science Department’s plan to increase the number of female students pursuing a CSCI degree. Being in the company of such a large group of technical women helps fight the feeling of isolation women often feel in technical fields, where they are in the minority. All students who have attended GHC in the past have returned vitalized and full of ideas.” – Sibel Adali, Ph.D., Professor of Computer Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Associate Dean of Science for Research and Graduate Studies, RPI Faculty Advisor to ACM-W
The Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women in Computing is a community of students inspired by our technology-driven world. This chapter was started at Rensselaer to be a safe, collaborative space for anyone and everyone with a passion for technology. We focus on tearing down inherent biases and overcoming obstacles to achieve a more inclusive and diverse tech industry that welcomes individuals from all backgrounds. We do this through social events, mentorship, networking sessions with employers, and collaboration with the CS department and other student-run organizations at RPI.
The Grace Hopper Conference provides a wide array of opportunities for Rensselaer women. Students who attend GHC will build professional networks, go to seminars that enhance their confidence as women in the tech field, and secure prized internships and permanent job offers. Through these connections made and the knowledge gained at GHC, female CS majors harness their inner strength to become leaders in the tech industry.
The professional impact of attending GHC for women in CS is undeniable, and Rensselaer students have benefitted from attendance at the conference for more than five years. This past September, fifteen Rensselaer female students were awarded scholarships through the Computer Science and ITWS departments to attend GHC in Orlando, and another twelve students attended virtually.
Many students use GHC as an opportunity to expand their knowledge in specific domains of computer science. This gives students a competitive edge when searching for internships, research positions, and jobs. During the conference, students have the opportunity to attend a variety of tech talks on topics such as integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning into user experience, stereotype threat within AI technologies, and accessibility of design for all users. Several students have said that these seminars opened their eyes to the wide range of concentration areas in CS.
The empowerment and sense of belonging that many women experience at GHC is what makes the conference so unique. Students have come away with the realization that they should never sell themselves short in their abilities, and they are reminded that having a community of supportive women is one of the most important ways to combat imposter syndrome in the tech world. One of the 2018 attendees commented that because of her experience at Grace Hopper, she wants to always ensure that safe spaces exist for women and underrepresented minorities in the computing industry.
The feedback from students after they return from GHC include comments such as:
“The Grace Hopper Celebration was a remarkable opportunity to connect with women from all over the tech industry. I really enjoyed learning how others are using their computer science skills to shape our society for the better.”
“I attended leadership seminars that I believe truly helped me better understand myself, and they gave me more confidence. I plan to bring that into almost every aspect of my academic and professional career.”
“[I learned] how important it is to give back to the community and lift others up as you move forward; to continue the cycle of support.”
“I was able to network with women from a variety of career levels, career paths, companies, and locations all around the nation. I was inspired by each woman’s story and her journey on how she got to where she is today... I cannot imagine there exists a better opportunity than attending Grace Hopper for a young woman searching for a career in computer science.”
What You're Supporting
Help support the Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter (ACM-W) in sending more students to the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC), a three-day conference that prepares women to become future leaders in the tech world. Your donation will help cover the costs of registration, airfare, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation for students selected to attend GHC in 2023. Women who attend GHC return to campus with a renewed enthusiasm for their studies and their future in the tech industry. They are excited to empower other women at Rensselaer and expose the younger generation of women to technology.
Many of the students who attend GHC are involved in student clubs on campus such as ACM-W, the Women’s Mentorship Program (WMP), the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), the Rensselaer Center for Open Source (RCOS), Coding&&Community, HackRPI, and Upsilon Pi Epsilon. These clubs greatly benefit from the energy that students bring home from GHC, and their commitment to uplifting other women and underrepresented minorities in the tech world.
We need to raise $6,000 in order to send Rensselaer students to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
Who We Are
ACM-W is a community of students that celebrates, informs, and supports women in computing. The Rensselaer chapter provides a safe, collaborative space for everyone with a passion for technology. By providing a variety of workshops, networking events, and career advancement opportunities, ACM-W’s goal is to tear down inherent biases to achieve a more inclusive and diverse tech industry.
Several ACM-W members attended GHC in 2022, and they have been working actively to bring what they learned back to the Rensselaer community. Both the Department of Computer Science and RPI’s chapter of ACM-W would be extremely grateful for your support. For more information on ACM-W, head to our website, and for more information on the Department of Computer Science, visit our website!