JMU students attend world's largest gathering of women technologists


Grace Hopper would be proud of JMU's nine female computer science majors who recently attended the prestigious conference named in her honor.

Hopper, a pioneer for women in technology fields, was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and invented the first compiler for a computer programming language. Rising to the rank of rear admiral in the Navy, she was also instrumental in developing COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages. This year's Grace Hopper Celebration, run by the Anita Borg Institute, attracted more than 8,000 attendees.

"I recommend GHC to every female interested in software development. GHC provides a great place to network with brilliant software engineers in industry and academia."—Rocio Ramirez-Jimenez

"GHC is a great place to learn, network and pursue dreams," said Rocio Ramirez-Jimenez, a junior CS major who was attending the event for the third time. 

Joining Ramirez-Jimenez at the Oct. 8-10 event in Phoenix were Laura Ailor, Karina Bekova, Alyssa Berman, Roshni Bhanderi, Alayna Fortuck, Emory Lee, Annale Roeske and Misha Wetherell. Dr. Sharon Simmons, head of the computer science department; Dr. Farzana Rahman, an assistant professor of computer science; and Nancy Harris, a lecturer in computer science, also attended.

Speakers included Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, and Arati Prabhakar, director of DARPA. More than 100 companies sent representatives, including Google, Microsoft, Apple, HP and Cisco.

"It was a wonderful opportunity," said Berman, a sophomore. "I learned a lot, did some networking, got my name out to numerous companies and met some great people from all over the world." 

Beyond networking opportunities, numerous seminars were held on a range of subjects in the computer science field. "GHC offers CS students insight on research in various fields such as cryptography, security, software development, human computer interaction and more," said Ramirez-Jimenez.

The next GHC is set for Oct. 14-16, 2015, in Houston, and will be the fifteenth time the event has been held since beginning in 1994.

"I recommend GHC to every female interested in software development. GHC provides a great place to network with brilliant software engineers in industry and academia," said Ramirez-Jimenez.

Rahman, who was attending for the sixth time, said she is already planning to go in 2015. "This year at GHC was very special for me since I attended as a faculty member for the second time. I was involved in the GHC organization committee, I was a judge for their ACM student research competition, a mentor for their speed mentoring panel and a judge for their scholarship application," she said.

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By Josh Kelly ('15), JMU Public Affairs

Oct. 31, 2014 

Published: Friday, October 31, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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