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.