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UD Students, Faculty Attend Grace Hopper Celebration

The world’s largest gathering of women technologists took place virtually from September 29 to October 3 with several University of Delaware faculty and students in attendance. Over 30,000 people from 115 countries gathered virtually to the attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of women in technology. Attendees were brought together from around the world to build connections, expand knowledge and develop their careers over an amazing week of networking, workshops and phenomenal keynotes.

For those who had the privilege to attend, the common takeaway was that they felt empowered, energized and inspired. Debra Yarrington, an assistant professor in Computer and Information Sciences, has attended for several years and notes, “I always walk away from Grace Hopper being blown away and inspired by what other women are doing in terms of making a difference.” Doctoral candidate Parinaz Barakhshan was grateful for the opportunity to attend for the first time and found it “inspiring and motivating to be surrounded by such diverse experiences who come together to learn from each other.” Doctoral student Rebekah Houser was captivated straight through to the end of the conference, noting “I ended the conference with a renewed drive to do what keynote speaker Lisa Su challenged: “Run toward problems” – and solve them.”

For Cecilia Arighi, research associate professor in computer and information sciences, the “interesting talks related to leadership, time management, teaching in COVID times, and impostor syndrome” will enhance her professional development and time at UD and she feels these talks were “very enriching and important to listen to different perspectives.” Even with a new virtual format, GHC did not fail to deliver. Participants like Yarrington and first-time attendee Chase Cotton, professor of electrical and computer engineering, both felt the virtual format was impressive. For Cotton the format “did not seem to diminish the various activities I saw online,” and Yarrington is grateful for the advantage of a virtual conference allowing her to go back and watch sessions she was unable to attend in person.

It is clear that whether GHC is in person or virtual, the excitement for this annual event is infectious and the experience will continue to have a profound effect on attendees as they gather to commemorate and celebrate phenomenal women in technology while learning from each other.