GHC14: The Experience of a First-Timer – Part 3

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my GHC experience!

The Friday of the Grace Hopper Celebration I was up bright and early again for my 7:45am Hopper shift (which was a struggle after dancing the night away the night before). My job was the same as before – tell people where to sit for the keynote speaker. This time, I had this sign here to let people know if seats were still available where I was standing.

This time, I stuck around to hear the keynote: Dr. Arati Prabhakar, director of DARPA. She showed this video of how a quadriplegic lady was able to use her brain to control a robotic arm. I thought that was pretty neat! Technology has such amazing uses.

At the end of the keynote, they played this awesome video for next year’s GHC in Houston! Made me super excited for 2015!

After I signed out of Hopper duties, I met back up with the others and we decided to do a last stroll through the career fair – in case we missed any good swag opportunities! Boy, am I glad we did. We were just walking along and I happened to see a camera guy walk by. I looked back and I saw Gillian Jacobs! If anyone doesn’t know, she plays Britta from the TV show Community – which I happen to be a huge fan of. And as anyone that knows me can attest to, I’m a major fangirl when it comes to celebrities. So I may have had a mini panic attack when I saw her. Of course, the girls I were with didn’t really know who she was so they couldn’t appreciate my excitement. But I am super thankful for them (shoutout to Daphne and Lindsay!) because since they weren’t fans, they didn’t mind just walking up to her and asking for a picture (if it were just me, I would have just stood there starstruck instead of taking action). So thanks girls for this awesome picture! (also photo cred to Tess from ThoughtWorks!)

So that was awesome. Also at the career fair, we saw a few of those Intuit unicorns (they were having a contest where if you see a stuffed unicorn at the conference, snap a pic and tweet them for a chance to win something). We did all this and I got a favourite, so I thought maybe I could win one of the cute little unicorns (I mean look how adorable they are!!)

Unfortunately, we just missed out by a few minutes – they had given them all away already 🙁 We were very disappointed. So we left the career fair and headed for lunch at the food court. Before the sessions were about to begin again, we took pictures (and a selfie) to commemorate our GHC experience!

I then went to the Presentations in Security session. You can see the notes for this sessions here: GHC Wiki. I thought it was pretty fascinating how they were able to find cyber criminals in underground forums by looking at their different writing styles. I’ve always found computer forensics to be super interesting so to see that their work actually led to finding criminal doppelgängers is awesome!

After a cookie break, I attended my last session at GHC14: a second Presentations in Security that introduced cryptography. I thought this session would give me some insight for my project in my cryptography class that I am currently taking, but it was more of a introduction to the basics of crypto – which was still helpful! It reinforced what I already knew.

Once the last session was over, (sad face 🙁 ) we all met up at the Communities dinner, before heading to the final celebration of Grace Hopper!! I was sad to see it coming to an end. The days just flew right by, before I could catch my breath – and some sleep! While not everything went exactly as I planned, I think it was still an amazing opportunity. Every now and then I would just look around – on the escalator, at the keynotes, in line for lunch – and just try to grasp the fact that every one of these women are just like me. Maybe we all have different backgrounds and maybe we come from different places in the world, but we all have the same struggles – the struggle to fit in, the struggle to be confident, the struggle to have faith in ourselves – and the same goal – to find equality for men and women. While we may all be here for various reasons, we still all have this ultimate goal: to celebrate being women in computing. We can debate all day about what was said and done, what is right or wrong, but at the end of day, the Grace Hopper Celebration is just that – a Celebration. A celebration of where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we can go next.

And Friday night was just that – a huge celebration! With dancing, glow sticks, good food, raffles, free shirts, and photo-ops – we all came together to celebrate ourselves. It was a fabulous ending to a fantastic event.

Although the Grace Hopper Celebration may be over, the celebration of women in computing never ends – each and every one of us should celebrate ourselves each and every day!

Also, I will be heading to ONCWIC in 2 weeks – our own mini version of GHC in Ontario! If you are from Canada, feel free to check it out!

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