Oct 2, 2013

Grace Hopper 2013: Keynote Panel and Student Opportunity Lab

October 1st:
Thought Minneapolis would be chilly, but nope, just usual autumn weather, nothing much different from Maryland. The Millennium hotel is fine, everything is so easily accessible, we just walked a few blocks and found places to hang out. Dinner at the Jerusalem restaurant was awesome. And oh, did I mention that we went there by a rickshaw driven by a freshman girl from UMN:) That was superb!

October 2nd:
Keynote panel: instead of keynote speech, they made it a QA panel, very interactive and lively. Much focus was given to Lean in circles. Inspirational indeed. Sheryl Sandburg (CEO, Facebook) emphasized much on the role of peers, not just mentors. I agree with this vision, the mentors may not be from same generation or same view point. Peers can be more inspiring as they are of same age and probably similar background and understand the culture and time that we are in.

The QA session was very interesting and thought provoking:

1) My daughter wants to study biology, but I want her to be in CS, what to do? 
2) Should we have conferences for women? Should we consider gender as a factor at all? 
3) How to increase number of female CS major? 
4) What would you change if you had a magic wand?
5) Why freshmen or high school girls do not want to pursue CS?

Student research opportunity lab: tables had separate topics and 10 attendees sat around 2 or 3 expert representative from different professional background. I attended the one with HCI/UX design for the first round table panel. It was a good experience. We has UX designers from Linked in and Chegg discussing with us about the importance of design in product development and why we should put the users first.