Sunaina, 22, is studying for a degree in Computer Science at Kent University and is a part of our Student to Stemette programme. She was one of five participants selected to attend this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Texas from Oct 17 to 23 2016.
The Grace Hopper Celebration- a life changing week spent in Houston, Texas. No big deal !
I had this amazing opportunity alongside 4 other girls to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration, it was a busy week spent networking with majority of the top technology firms from all over the world including Apple, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft… the list is truly endless! Walking into the exhibition hall for the first time was truly overwhelming for me as I did not know what to expect and how big the scale of the event would be. I spent my first day networking with software engineers, management and recruitment teams from different companies which allowed me to gain an insight into the types of technology job roles available but I was also able to mingle with people in different stages of their careers such as recent graduates, contractors and management. The exhibitors were extremely welcoming and friendly and I was not scared to approach any stands as everyone was there to make friends and network, but they also had amazing SWAG that they were giving out such as t-shirts, laser lights, books and electrical gadgets, so by the end of the day I collected so many cool goodies that I was obsessed with.
The trip was highly educational!
Once I had downloaded the GHC16 app, I was exposed to endless amounts of presentations, workshops, seminars and panels that were running at GHC from a range of different technology industries such as gaming, cyber security, artificial intelligence and entrepreneurship. Honestly, one of the hardest decisions I had to make during the trip was deciding on what cool event to attend! I was defiantly spoilt for choice! By the end of GHC I had attended a presentation by the creative director of Sims, a workshop on robotics where I was able to build my own robot using software, a presentation on how technology is transforming in cars such as the addition of wifi and a panel on the future of artificial development. Alongside this, our very cool Stemettes team gave us the amazing opportunity to have practice technology interviews with employees from Deutsche Bank which was extremely educational as they went through my CV in depth and advised me on how to improve my CV and interview skills which is extremely valuable! Later that evening the Deutsche Bank team also invited us for dinner for some tapas which was also very fun!
Some of the best moments of my trip were definitely the afterparties we were invited to. The first one was with Salesforce which consisted of loads of food and drink and how about a whole arcade to ourselves?! It was incredible evening spent playing arcade games and mingling with people from the salesforce team, it definitely made me realise how people in technology are super cool 🙂
Another memorable moment was the main GHC afterparty that took place on the last day at the GHC event, it had such a buzzing atmosphere as there was so much food, SWAG, photo booths and the best part of all a DJ! We danced the night away, an amazing way to end our trip.
The Stemettes team organised a trip to NASA for the fab five on our last day in Houston, the experience was amazing! We were able to visit the old mission control rooms alongside the current control rooms and were able to see what life is like inside a spaceship. It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Overall the experience was definitely unforgettable, apart from the GHC events and NASA, I was also extremely lucky to experience this amazing adventure with such a great team including the fab five girls! They were so much fun and we all got along very well, I definitely enjoyed waking up and having American style breakfast with them which included oversized pancakes and lots of crispy bacon, to having late dinners of tacos and spending our days making video blogs. Could not have asked for a more special team to share this experience with.
This experience was part of the Student to Stemette programme run in partnership with Deutsche Bank’s Born to Be citizenship programme. More details about the programme are available on the Student to Stemette website. Next year’s conference will be happening in Orlando, Florida, and we will be taking five more young women, selected from this year’s mentoring cohorts.