School of Library and Information Sciences Assistant Professor Siobhan Day Grady, Ph.D., and six students were selected as Grace Hopper Scholars to attend the world’s largest conference for women in computing and other technical fields.
The Grace Hopper Celebration sponsored by AnitaB.org typically draws 25,000 participants to an on-site gathering named for the first female Ph.D. in computer science. Although this year’s Celebration is virtual, set for Sept. 26-Oct 3, the experience will still be “life changing,” Grady said.
“Grace Hopper already has given us workshop opportunities and links to the Facebook group, which is a good network,” she added. “Having knowledge, but also having a network and community of people to interact with can be transformative.”
Grady, who holds a bachelor’s and master’s from NCCU, first attended the conference as a scholar while attending her doctoral program at N.C. A&T State University. In 2018, she became the first female to graduate from A&T with a doctorate in computer science, and is working on research to improve the reliability of artificial intelligence in self-driving cars.
Women working in technical fields can sometimes feel isolated, with only about 13% of technical degrees going to women. Their salaries sometimes also lag behind their male counterparts.
But bringing together thousands of female STEM majors to meet with industry leaders, some of whom are on the lookout for new talent, creates a feeling of empowerment, Grady added.
“The Career Room at the conference includes all the top companies,” Grady said. “Students can get an interview on the spot; some even get a job on the spot. But everyone gets exposure to aspects of a technology career they might not have thought about ,as well as the various opportunities available within tech.”
The 2020 virtual conference will have 30,000 attendees from more than 100 countries and features keynote remarks by athletes Serena Williams and Megan Rapinoe, as well as talks by dozens of industry leaders, including Lisa Su, Ph.D., chief executive officer and president of Advanced Micro Devices.
Approximately 1,000 students and faculty members are chosen from around the world to become Grace Hopper Scholars annually. Last year, a new program was developed especially for students from minority serving institutions.
“The students and faculty are selected based on merit, and this year is no different,” she said.
Students from the School of Library and Information Science chosen for the conference were Rebecca Moss, Latasha Reid-Daniels and Tiffany Crawford. Students from the Computer Science and Business program are Meliana Robinson, T-Keyah Fleming and Dorissa Lewis.