With a Caff Mocha in one hand, waiting at Gate 34 to board my flight from Orlando back to Chicago on Friday evening, I had a meltdown; I could not sink in the fact that I attended my first ever Grace Hopper Celebration! With that very thought and my heart still racing, I began writing this blog on what is Grace Hopper Celebration and why you should know about it?
Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) is the world?s largest gathering of women technologists. GHC 2019 was hosted from October 1 ? 4 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Grace Hopper Celebration commemorates, celebrates, fosters and encourages the magnificent women in technology who dared to shed their inhibitions and recognized the genius in them.
Who was Grace Hopper?
Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (1906?1992) was an American computer scientist, United States Navy rear admiral and the inventor of the first compiler, a program that translates programming code to machine language. Her invention led to the creation of the COBOL programming language, which was one of the first high-level programming languages. She was amongst the first women in technology who refused to be defined by others and their expectations from her.
What is Grace Hopper Celebration?
If I were to describe GHC in one-word, it definitely has to be: empowering
When I first read about the Grace Hopper Celebration in November 2016, I was stunned. I read about four days of celebrating the women in technology, conversations on career, opportunities, equality, and technology. Experiencing the magnitude and spending four days submerging amongst 25000+ female technologists from over 83 countries now, I can say GHC is not just any other conference. It is a feeling; an experience you would want to have every year!
Grace Hopper Celebration is organized by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (AnitaB.org) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) once in the United States around October and one in November ? a relatively smaller version in Bangalore, India.
GHC makes sure you leave with nothing less than feeling super inspired and empowered AND A LOT OF SWAGS. To be precise, I paid for a carry-on bag to stuff my swags 😀
The Career Fair
A very quintessential part of GHC is its career fair where hundreds of companies with 2000+ job openings are ready with arms open to get you ladies in their ecosystem. The best networking opportunity you can ever ask for! I can totally write an entirely new blog on my learnings from the career fair (which I?ve already started sketching).
Internships, full-time opportunities, rotational programs, co-ops. You name a company and it has a booth at the GHC career fair. You get to meet employees from your dream companies and have the most memorable conversations as I could do with some of my favorites.
So, how exactly can you attend Grace Hopper Celebration?
Here?s my guide to attending GHC 2020 from September 29 ? October 2 in Orlando again!
Cost of attendance
Register For GHC
Plan your travel and stay
1. Cost of attendance
General Registration is $1150Academic Registration is $600Student Registration is $450
However, to attend GHC, there are a lot many scholarships awarded by the big companies in the business: Google, Facebook, Microsoft Insider, Google Travel Grants, Girls Who Code, Twitter, ACM, Dropbox, Yext and more…
- Grace Hopper Scholarships
- Grace Hopper ?Hoppers? Program
Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarships
GHC Scholarships provide funds for undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty to attend the celebration. Scholars who attend GHC gain access to career and academic workshops, networking opportunities, and memories worth a lifetime.
Who can apply for scholarships?
Students and Faculty. Scholarships cover conference registration, flights, hotel accommodations, and will also receive a stipend, which covers meals, transportation to/from the airport, and other travel incidentals, when used wisely.
The scholar applications require essay answers, one recommendation per applicant and general personal details. The committee later informs the applicant for decisions around August.
I was fortunate to receive the Grace Hopper India Celebration 2018 scholarship!?
The applications for GHC Scholars Program usually open around January and run till March. The scholarship application window for next year?s Grace Hopper Celebration (Sept 29 ? Oct 2) will open in January 2020.
To know more about the Grace Hopper scholarships or the GHC Scholars, follow this link.
Grace Hopper Celebration Hoppers Program
Hoppers are Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) volunteers who do everything from managing crowd, arranging resources, scanning the attendees to mic wrangling.
Hoppers receive complimentary registration and are able to attend sessions, visit the career fair, and take advantage of everything GHC has to offer. Hoppers pay for their own airfare, lodging, meals, and other expenses.
Applications for the Hoppers Program open in May and the decision is informed around June. Hopper applications are factored on the basis of availability, interests, commitment to the program, and experience volunteering in big events.
And, I was a Hopper this time for GHC 2019!
2. Register For GHC
To register for GHC, the general conference registrations open in July.
To receive a registration for GHC, you need to apply early because imagine, more than 25000 people applying for registration around the same time, it is a lot of volume! Plus, the general registration costs anything from $450 ? $1150 so you better plan your budget beforehand.
3. Planning your trip
I never knew planning my trip to Orlando this GHC would require an enormous effort into how much preparation goes into attending a conference. If you seriously plan on attending GHC, there are two main points you need to focus on:
Hotels don?t really contribute to make or break your GHC experience, but it could if it?s $150 a night when you can get the same for $60!
Grace Hopper partners with a list of great hotels that provide discounted rates (while availability lasts) and bus shuttles to and fro the convention center for the attendees to commute every day. The partnered hotel reservations open up around July and last until August or till the availability.
All thanks to a not-so-surprise quiz in my Statistics class, I had to fly back without attending the GHC closing party and could NOT even visit Disneyland being in Orlando for four days:<
Scheduling your trip and letting concerned people know well in advance definitely helps. For students, inform your professors about your absence, get your tests, if any, re-scheduled. For employees, your company might help you with the conference registration, so let the HR know that you plan to attend
And now, if you are good with a final plan in hand, it is no bad in booking a flight early. You could definitely save some bucks up there.
It takes an entire army of resources to plan the trip to GHC but all the efforts, noisy children in the plane and only Spanish speaking cab drivers start to make sense once you enter the convention center as one impeccable woman in technology.
I found myself at an overwhelming cross-road with immersion into the journeys of the extremely incredible, impactful and courageous women in technology in the past and present, all dedicated toward improving our future. Having the most diverse conversations from what courses I should take to the best ice-cream place in Chicago.
At GHC, you discover new connections that may last a lifetime and become a quintessential part of your future endeavors. Connecting with the talented female technologists, hearing their stories; of success, failures, hopes, dreams, disappointments, and achievements, I realized that that were so many opportunities right in front of me and there is so much to be done yet!
It was a learning experience I would cherish my life as a #GHCFirstTimer.
Leaving you now with some photographs from #GHC19!
Thank you for reading! If you?ve enjoyed this article, hit the clap button and let me know if you?re already planning to attend Grace Hopper Celebration 2020!
Know your author
Rashi is a graduate student and a Data Analyst, User Experience Analyst and Consultant, a Tech Speaker, and a Blogger! She aspires to form an organization connecting the Women in Business with an ocean of resources to be fearless and passionate about the work and the world. Feel free to drop her a message here!