Two Siena computer science students, an alumna, and their professors recently traveled to a major computing conference and came away with job interviews, internship offers, and a slew of new professional connections.
Margaret Frechette ’24 and Alexis Smith ’24 joined MaryAnne Egan '86, Ph.D., professor of computer science, and Jami Cotler, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science at the annual Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC). This year’s in-person and hybrid conference was held in Orlando, Florida in late September.
“The Grace Hopper event is far and away the foremost place for women in computer and information science, or who are exploring it as a career path” said Egan, who attended her first GHC in 2006 and was so impressed she started bringing Siena students the next year. “It is an excellent environment in which women and their professional potential are valued and validated.”
GHC is billed as the world’s largest gathering of women technologists, where women from around the world learn, network, and celebrate their achievements.
Frechette and Smith both scored internships with major companies as a result of the GHC following multiple interviews, Frechette with Liberty Mutual Insurance and Smith with Deloitte Global Technology. They worked beforehand with Egan and Cotler to practice their elevator speeches and the best ways to interact with potential employers and professional colleagues. Some of the other companies they connected with? Disney, Sirius XM, Google, Lululemon and Northrop Grumman.
“These connections and interview experiences helped me develop as a professional,” said Frechette. “It allowed me to experience many things I never would have thought possible, and has truly impacted my future and given me a head start toward success.”
Smith agreed that the Grace Hopper Celebration was a great experience.
“I met with a lot of great companies and attended many informative sessions, including one on quantum computing, which was a new topic for me, and connected with several Siena alumnae,” she said.
Computer and information science are still very much male-dominated fields. The GHC allows women to explore academic and professional topics without being the only female in the room.