Campus & Community

Stevens Women in Computing Advance Careers at Inspirational Technical Conference

The percentage of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields has not yet reached 50 percent, and the number of women in leadership roles in these fields especially lags their male colleagues.

Eleven female computer science faculty members and students from Stevens advanced their careers, networked with influential women in technology and connected with recruiters from top companies at the 2013 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, a prestigious technical conference designed to bring the research and professional interests of women in computing to the forefront.

Held in early October in Minneapolis, Minn., the conference included: keynote speeches from Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Megan Smith of Google and other influencers; a large career fair with today’s foremost technology employers; research competitions; leadership workshops; an awards program; an open source technical event; and numerous networking opportunities.

It left the attendees, who joined almost 5,000 female computing students and professionals from across the country, feeling inspired to excel in technology fields and help other women to do so, as well.

“This conference has given me much more than interviews and networking opportunities,” said Stevens computer science student Vania Nettleford. “It has given me the drive and desire to let other girls know computer science isn't just for men. I've bonded with many women in computer science who share the same passion for technology and drive to succeed. I will not only leave with the connections that I've made, but with a new outlook on technology and a newly ignited flame for computer science.”

“Everybody comes back with a contagious drive to excel in what we do – it is inspiring and mobilizing,” added Stevens Computer Science Professor Adriana Compagnoni.

Stevens Ph.D. student Vishakha Sharma was selected from a competitive pool of more than 900 applicants to present her research, “Simulating JAK-STAT Signal Transduction Pathway,” at the conference’s poster session, where she shared it with experts in academia and industry.

Stevens students also interviewed with – and received job offers – from leading computing companies, including Yahoo, Amazon, Cisco, Xerox, GE and LinkedIn.

“I knew that the conference would lead to many great networking and career opportunities, but what I did not expect was to meet so many amazing and passionate women in one place,” said Catherine Kim, a Stevens computer science student. “Over the course of four days, I was not only able to participate in a number of interviews, which led to several offers from leading companies in industry, but I was also able to connect with and be inspired by very intelligent, diligent and passionate women in technical fields from all over the country.”

“The career fair is amazing for computer science students and offers a lot of opportunities for employment,” added Jenny Heffernan, a Stevens computer science student.

The Stevens attendees were sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery Committee on Women, Morgan-Stanley, Google, SAP, the National Science Foundation, the Stevens computer science department, and the Stevens Office of Undergraduate Admissions, enabling them to attend the conference.