A group of talented young women from our college headed to Houston for this year's Grace Hopper Celebration. IS&T is able to send a number of women to the conference each year, giving this group of women an experience of a lifetime. From talking to recruiters, bonding with their fellow students, and getting to know IS&T faculty members (Sandy Vlasnik and Dr. Briana Morrison this year!), the group always comes back to Omaha inspired. Check out some of their reflections below!
There was a lot of hype leading up to the Grace Hopper Celebration. I had heard about the job offers, the friendships that blossom at the conference and continue for many years to come, and the empowering experience of being surrounded by thousands of women in technology.
This was a very special event for me as an international student. I saw other Iranian ladies in the event and talked to them and listened to their experiences of doing internships and jobs. We are in the same situation, so I can use their experiences. For example, how differently industry and academia accept non-citizens. I talked to students from other universities. Always talking to different people will broaden out horizons.
As I made my way to the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration held in Houston, Texas, I was excited to gain new experiences and network with other students from across the globe. With this being my first Grace Hopper Celebration, I didn’t really know what to expect. I was told by previous attendees to go in with an open mind and try a little bit of everything. This included the career expo with hundreds of vendors, such as Google and Microsoft, to the variety of breakout sessions where you were able to immerse yourself into high-level overviews on IT subjects. Although, what I took away most from this conference was the keynote speaker presentations. One in particular that made a mark on me was a presentation gave by Jessica O. Williams, Founder & CEO of Uncharted Power.
“Just because it is not your plan doesn’t mean it’s not your destiny.” This statement made by Williams, in my opinion, can be very relatable to many college students, not just IT students. As most students start college, many people are undecided on what career path they want to pursue. Some struggle with what they want to do in the future and change their major a few times. From my experience, when I started at UNO, I initially thought I was going to go down more of a business track than information technology. After taking a few introductory computer science classes, I fell in love with the idea of programming and the development of information systems. That being said, I didn’t think my plan would be to pursue a career in IT, but ultimately learned that this was something I wanted to do as a career. Upon my return to Omaha, I feel as if I am an ambassador for the Grace Hopper Celebration. I am excited to take what I learned and try to continue to make an impact here at UNO. I also hope to encourage younger, high school students to consider a degree in IT.
I would highly encourage other students, if given the opportunity to attend, to make it a priority. This conference was very empowering since you, every day, are able to be in one place with that many confident women technologists.