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GHC Inspires Bowdoin Gender Minorities in Tech – The Bowdoin Orient

Courtesy of Abby Mueller
Anitamore CS Bowdoin Women in Computer Science students attended the Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando, Florida. Attendees attended career development programs and lectures given by prominent figures in technology.

From September 20-23, Bowdoin Women in Computer Science (BWiCS) faculty and students attended the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) in Orlando, Florida. About early career support and exploration for college students around the world.

The conference was organized by the Anita Borg Women’s Technology Institute and the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM). Grace Hopper, for whom the conference is named, was a technological revolutionary and one of the first women to receive a doctorate in mathematics. The opportunity for Bowdoin students to participate is made possible by alumni donations to BWiCS.

Computer Science Professor and Chair Laura Toma reflected on the conference and its unique mission.

“Currently, only 25 percent of the participants in computer science programs and degrees are women, so this is very important for the development of computer science as an undergraduate,” said Thoma.

GHC’s mission is to increase this number exponentially. With more than 20,000 attendees, the conference creates opportunities for students and members from various technical fields to connect.

Sophie Lipset ’24, a mathematics and computer science double major, attended GHC and thanked the conference for demystifying her career path.

“[The conference] It gave me a clearer idea of ​​what field I wanted to go into,” said Lipset. “I also learned that the process of getting into the tech industry is very difficult, but attending conferences made it a little less intimidating.”

A new panel of speakers from both the tech world and beyond, a source of empowerment for young women and non-binary individuals. This year’s conference hosted panelists including Megan Rapinoe, member of the All-American Women’s Soccer Team and New York Times bestselling author. Dr. Anita Hill, chairman of the Hollywood Commission and law professor at Brandeis University; Francis Haugen is a data scientist and Facebook medical malpractice whistleblower. Thomas was particularly struck by Haugen’s words.

“[Haugen was] Shocking and inspiring…her message was ‘We can do it’ [create] It will change,” said Toma.

Toma shared how the meeting confirmed her identity.

“We can change the future and the time is now,” said Toma. “GHC reaffirmed my mission to advocate for more computer science his resources here at Bowdoin.”

Lipset spoke about the conference’s ability to foster a culture of empowerment among gender minorities in technology.

“I was very inspired by everything around me, and talking to women from all walks of life cemented my desire to work in technology,” says Lipset. “The fact that most of them were women [at the conference] Talking to people just got a whole lot easier. You can approach people in line and start a conversation with anyone. ”

Abby Mueller ’24, a computer science major with Lipset, resonates with this affirmation and wants to replicate it among her peers.

“Attending the conference with an amazing group of women from Bowdoin made me want to know more about Bowdoin women in computer science,” said Mueller.

Students interested in participating in GHC in the future can apply for the conference at in July and apply for scholarships starting in March. Bowdoin provides funds when needed to those who have not been awarded scholarships.

Emma Kilbride contributed to this report.