MSU Women Take Honors at the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

The  largest and most diverse convening of technical women in the world, the 2012 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC 2012) took place on October 3 – 6 in the Baltimore Convention Center.   The more than 3,600 attendees at this year's conference hailed from 42 different countries and included students, faculty, researchers, and industry professionals from early career through senior leaders.  

 MSU Professor Laura Dillon was recognized at the welcome ceremony of GHC 2012 for her roles as a Conference Co-Chair and a member of the Conference's Academic Advisory Board.  

MSU junior and current President of MSU Women in Computing (WIC), Mairin Chesney,  took first place in the GHC 2012 Undergraduate Student Research Competition (SRC) for her poster and presentation "Does Coevolution between Digital Parasites and Hosts Promote Sexual Recombination in Evolutionary Computation?"  Mairin now advances to the ACM Undergraduate SRC Grand Finals competition.  Three winners of the Grand Finals will be recognized at the Annual ACM Awards Banquet in June.  

Past MSU WIC President and recent alumnus, Devan Sayles, participated on a panel on Student WIC Organizations proposed and moderated by Laura Dillon.   Devan highlighted successful strategies MSU WIC  pursued to build an active student organization that benefits, not just its members, but all students in computing at MSU.  Devan is currently with General Mills Corporation.

MSU WIC Executive Board members, Taylor Jones, Chelsea Carr, and Mairin Chesney received scholarships to attend GHC 2012 sponsored by, respectively, the U.S. National Science Foundation, Xerox, and Google.  In addition, MSU graduate student Kayra Hopkins received a scholarship sponsored by ThoughtWorks.

MSU was well-represented at the conference by undergraduate students, Mairin Chesney, Sana Siddique, Taylor Jones, Danielle Guir, Chelsea Carr, Caitlin McDonald, Madalyn Parker, and Erin Hoffman;   graduate students,  Kayra Hopkins, Michelle Vogel, Anya Johnson, Rosemary Dutka, Neem Serra, and Caitlyn Pickens;  recent alumni, Devan Sayles and Marie Buckner; academic specialist, Teresa VanderSloot; and Professor Laura Dillon.   In addition to attending sessions, graduate students helped Teresa staff an information table about MSU graduate programs.  All in attendance were great ambassadors for MSU!

When asked what "other things" should be mentioned in an article about GHC 2012, one MSU undergraduate attendee responded: 

"Grace Hopper is absolutely amazing!  Even beyond the sessions and career fair, the networking opportunities are enormous.  Big important people go and care about women in computer science.  We met with a girl who's senior project is to try and bring together Women in Computing groups from schools throughout the country. We danced with the Senior Vice President of Knowledge at Google (Alan Eustace) and the President and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute (Telle Whitney)."

The College of Engineering was a Bronze Sponsor of GHC 2012.   Additional funding for MSU students attending GHC 2012 came from a multitude of sources, including:  IBM, Atomic Object, Crowe Horwath, Vertafore,TechSmith, USAA, and Union Pacific; and the MSU Women in Engineering Program and the Julie Benaglio Fund.