Sunday, October 13, 2013

Steak Anyone?

Corn - Cooked on a low heat, seasoned with teriyaki, sesame, butter, onion, and lemon grass
Perogies - Pan fried with some onions and olive oil.
Steak - Marinated with teriyaki, sesame, lemon grass, worsteshire, curry, chipolte. Then broiled in the oven, topped off with some pepper jack cheese.

Day 2 at GHC13

The second day at the conference was amazing! I met so many awesome women and even attended the lunch for labs. I was sitting at a table with some women from the MIT and DE Labs. We were all having great conversations, even one about getting together the different labs next year to try and put on some panels. I said I was thinking about standing up and making an announcement, so the lady sitting next to me encouraged me and said she would tap her glass with her spoon.

I agreed to this, even though I was very nervous. As I stood up and she started to tap her glass, everyone got quite, and it reminded me of a wedding speech (not that I have ever made one). It was only fitting that I start off saying, "I'm getting married...(dramatic pause)... just kidding". The entire room burst into laughter, and I instantly felt more at ease. 

Cloud Services Acceleration through Orchestration

I was asked to attend this session Deepika Nath, I met her during my internship at Cisco in the summer of 2012. It is always nice seeing old friends each year at GHC, and hopefully we will be able to connect in our future GHC adventures.

The session was very interesting and informative. I had very little knowledge of cloud computing stepping into the room. The table I sat at, ended up being with all the Rackspace employees. So I was able to ask them more specific questions about cloud computing during the interactive parts.

I really liked the way the session was setup. Having the information and then workshop like participation always allows the attendees to get more out of it. Besides... brainstorming with amazing women is always fun!

Learning Journeys: The Promise and Perils of Online Education

About three years ago, I received this completely random email from Pooja who was wanting to meet and talk about this thing called Piazza. I have to admit, I was extremely skeptical and actually forwarded it to the professor I was TA'ing for at the time. His advice was to meet with her, so I did, and later sent him this in an email "I met with her today and Piazza is amazing!".

I was very excited when I found out that not only was Piazza a success but that Pooja was going to be a guest speaker at GHC this year. Having met with Pooja in the beginning, it was amazing to see how she and Piazza have grown! It's not everyday that someone is able to witness something so impactful from the beginning. There were at least a couple people in the audience who had the privilege of meeting Pooja in the beginning of her adventures as well.

Don't forget to check out the notes on the wiki: Invited Technical Speaker -- Pooja Sankar


It was really great being in a room with 4 awesome female inventors! Karen Sleeth, the moderator, was extremely funny, she even started humming a song at one point during the talk. There was so much good advice given during this panel, but the one that stuck with me after was...

Find that thing that lets your mind go on a crazy invention coaster! Katalin will watch Into the Worm Hole while folding laundry, or go on a bike ride to come up with ideas. They mentioned a guy that keeps a pencil and notepad just outside the shower, so that when he gets that brilliantly crazy idea, he can write it down before he forgets. Driving is my minds best invention time. There is nothing more soothing than driving with the windows down, the music blasting, and nothing but time. What lets your mind invent?

Don't forget to check out the wiki notes: You Can Invent

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Think Agile: Drive Your Life Forward

During this workshop the people at the table were introducing each other and then my table was split into two groups, since we got two decks of the Set game.

The group of 4 workers in my group did a good job, at first there was one leader that was trying to help make the most sets. As the game continued the others started to chime in more, and we started to form a group.

During one of the iterations, each group was supposed to plan, but most of them ended up playing instead... even our group was guilty of this. The second itteration went way better than the first, because of planning and more communcation. We also finished before the 2 minute mark!

There was one guy at our table, and in our group. It is definitely different than the classroom setting, where there was always lots of guys and then one girl lady in the group.

As the iterations went on, the planning just kept getting better for our group. We even planned out the piles and which order they would be in by the 3rd one. It was this iteration that I didn't even realize the team member that was sitting next to me was not participating, there was a lot of craziness going on... :(

Overall, this workshop was lots of fun, a very unique way of learning the Agile process! :)

Using Volunteer Opportunities to Drive Forward Your Career

The room was packed, and Lisa (the moderator) was very funny. She had the whole room laughing on throughout the session.

The story about the teacher from England bringing her female students to technical companies in the USA was very inspiring.

Apparently cubes of engineers have fantastic things for scavenger hunts. One girl said the funniest thing during the scavenger hunt at Salesforce: "I've never seen a cube before". When Josie said this, the entire room of women burst out laughing. :)

During the last half hour there were lots of good questions from the audience. I even chimed in on one of them. I don't remember exactly what the question was, but I told them another way to get more women involved in a group at work. If you see a woman at work, go up to her and ask her to join. Even if you have to go track all the women down in your company, DO IT! Be the "creeper"... be the "bossy one" all the things that Sheryl Sandburg says women are called when they take action and lead the way!

I frequently find the shy, quite women that would rather stay below the radar and introduce myself. Get them out and about, slowly make them "aggressive" like yourself, and then they can do the same to a shy women they know... think of it recursively. :-p

If I was handed a magic wand...

I would give the women in technology the courage to become leaders and to bring more women in.

What would you do?

First Night in Minneapolis

My alma mater (UCF) sent 12 women to GHC this year, and there are about 4 alumni attending as well. We decided to have a dinner to catch up and allow the Alumni to meet the current students. As soon as the cab let us out, I ran up and hugged some old friends that I haven't seen in what seems like forever (although it's more like only a couple months)...

During dinner I found out that there were 4 past and current presidents of WEECS (Women in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), even the awesome woman who started it over 6 years ago!!! Having generations of presidents and seeing how the current president was able to lead the group
to GHC was something unexpected, but awesome! We realized that each president, introduced GHC to the next president, almost like a tradition. I hope this will continue to happen and maybe be some sort of inspiration to other universities looking to start a group to support the amazing women in technology.    

My trek to Minneapolis

Traveling through the airport is always an adventure. Here I am standing in the security line, my vibram toe shoes already in my bag, my bright blue toe socks making a statement, as I start to take my laptop out to place it in a bin. All of a sudden I hear "Are you going to the Grace Hopper Conference?" I of course replied yes, not realizing it's because I was wearing my GHC shirt from Atlanta that she knew.

I officially met a new GHC peep, Christi Corbett, and I haven't even left Baltimore! She works with the American Association of University Women  (AAUW) and this is her first time attending the conference. She is an author of a paper, "Why So Few? Women in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics". Christi is an amazing women, trying to figure out why there is a lack of women in the STEM field and how to fix that!

GHC Adventures

Year 1: Atlanta, GA

I remember one day getting an email from the department asking if I would like to attend this conference for women in technology. Having no idea what GHC was, I said yes anyway, and was really excited to go to my first conference. I believe Charna Parkey was the President of the Women in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (WEECS) group at the time. If it wasn't for her fighting for funding that year, leading that email to my inbox, my GHC adventure would have never started.

To help with the funding all the women applied to be Hoppers. I believe my Hopper assignment this year was to tell people where to go, forcing me to talk to people. If it wasn't for volunteering at the conference, I wouldn't have gotten so much out of it. Once this year was over, I was looking forward to going next year, and getting involved in WEECS once we got back to school.

Year 2: Portland, OR

This year I was a little more out of my shell and knew some more people attending. I again was a Hopper, this time helping out at the registration desk. I was using my networking skills learned last year to network with the attendees picking up their badges. I was invited to an Intel private networking event because of my awesome GHC networking skills! I attended more sessions this time around and was more out going during the career fair.

I landed an AWESOME Cisco internship from this GHC. I remember stopping by the booth the first day, and they scheduled an interview for 9pm that night. I asked the guy if I should go change into my suite, and he said that what I was wearing was fine; I had on some black dress pants and a button up shirt. I don't remember much about the interview, I know I told the interviewer that I am sorry if I don't make any sense, but I am deliriously tired and am currently in the loopy state. I must have said something right, because before I knew it (well sometime after GHC), I was picking out where I wanted to intern.

Year 3: Baltimore, MD

WEECS wasn't as active this year, so getting funding together last minute, only 4 women were able to attend. I admit, I spent the ENTIRE time at the career fair... I was graduating soon and really wanted to make sure I was going to have a job lined up for when that day came. I was even able to have dinner with my Cisco mentor from my internship, since she was attending to help at the Cisco Career booth.

On my way to the career fair the second day I had an email from the NSA for an interview. I figured, why not, can't hurt anything. By the end of the day, I had a Contingent Job Offer (CJO) from them and what would be a HUGE advantage for my job search. I left GHC this year with one CJO and 4 jobs wanting to fly me out for in person interviews! I ultimately ended up with 4 full time offers because of GHC, and that was one of the hardest best decisions I have ever had to make...

Year 4: Minneapolis, MN

This year will be the first year that I am actually getting paid to attend GHC. I still find it hard to believe, maybe I am getting spoiled? This year I will be helping out by taking notes and blogging on various sessions with the GHC Communities. I am going to make sure to attend as many of the sessions as possible and make up for missing them last year, while also making sure to help out at the APL booth during the career fair.