The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is the largest gathering of women in computing in the world. This year, 12,000 attendees are expected — a 50 percent increase from last year. The conference, held in Houston, TX, will take place October 14 to 16, 2015, and will feature leading technical speakers, career development sessions, awards, a poster session, a hackathon and the industry’s largest career fair for women in computing.
“The energy around this year’s Grace Hopper Celebration is remarkable,” said Mona Sabet, general manager of Grace Hopper Celebration. “We received over one thousand submissions for sessions from our technical community, covering subjects from data science, artificial intelligence, and security and privacy, to topics on driving innovation through serious play and being a better engineer through writing. The Grace Hopper Celebration is now the place for technical women to convene, be recognized and even be discovered.”
The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing is produced by the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) and presented in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). Nearly 8,000 people from 65 countries attended this rapidly growing event in 2014, and this was a 64 percent increase from 2013.
Keynote and plenary speakers
Hilary Mason, renowned data scientist, and serial entrepreneur, will be the opening keynote at the 2015 celebration. Mason spent four years as the Chief Scientist at bitly, the provider of link-shortening services for sharing on social media platforms. She then went on to work with the venture capital firm, Accel Partners as their Data Scientist in Residence, before founding Fast Forward Labs.
Industry luminaries Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org and Megan Smith, United States chief technology officer, will be plenary speakers.
“We are delighted to welcome back to Grace Hopper both Sheryl and Megan,” said Telle Whitney, president and chief executive officer of the Anita Borg Institute and co-founder of the Grace Hopper Celebration. “Both of them are true inspirations for all women in technology, and their remarkable achievements in their respective careers epitomize the 2015 GHC theme of #OurTimeToLead.”
As COO of Facebook, Sandberg oversees the company’s business operations. Sandberg is also the author of the bestsellers Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates. She founded LeanIn.Org to empower all women to achieve their ambitions.
“I’m honored to be returning to GHC to celebrate the next generation of women pursuing their ambitions in computing,” said Sandberg. “There’s never been a more important time for women to embrace computing and technical careers, yet the number of women in these fields is declining. The women at the GHC are changing this, and I’m excited to discuss how we can get more women to choose careers in STEM.”
Sandberg will be participating in an onstage conversation with Nora Denzel, an independent board director for Ericsson, AMD and Outerwall. Denzel also serves as Vice Chair of the Anita Borg Institute Board of Trustees.
Megan Smith is U.S. Chief Technology Officer, a role in which she serves as Assistant to the President and focuses on how technology policy, data and innovation can advance our future as a nation. As a former Vice President at Google, where she oversaw new business development, Smith brings an entrepreneurial spirit to her role helping the U.S. Government apply innovative solutions to problems, while encouraging more women and people of color to pursue tech careers.
“The Grace Hopper Conference is a big part of solving so many of the challenges society faces due to our lack of equal opportunity for technical women — from challenges faced raising venture capital, to disparate promotion and hiring processes, to unequal inclusion in media, events and even team meetings,” said Smith. “Grace Hopper (GHC) brings together thousands of extraordinary technical women to advance the digital age overall and provides a needed venue for ongoing work to debug the gender gap in tech.”
ABI will celebrate the ABIE Award winners at the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. ABIE Award winners are nominated by their peers and chosen by a panel of fellow technologists and past ABIE Award winners based on their extraordinary achievements and commitment to excellence.
“The GHC ABIE Awards recognize the tremendous contributions of brilliant women in technology at a fitting venue — the largest gathering of technical women in the world,” said Whitney. “We’re thrilled and extremely proud of these women’s achievements as researchers, educators, entrepreneurs and technical leaders. We look forward to acknowledging their accomplishments at the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration.”
The GHC 2015 ABIE Award Winners in their respective categories include:
- Technical Leadership ABIE Award Winner — underwritten by Qualcomm
The Technical Leadership ABIE Award recognizes women technologists who demonstrate leadership through their contributions to technology and achievements in increasing the impact of women on technology.
- Lydia E. Kavraki has made significant research contributions in physical algorithms and their applications in robotics, including robot motion planning, hybrid systems, formal methods in robotics, assembly planning, micromanipulation and flexible object manipulation. Lydia has also worked extensively in the fields of computational structural biology, translational bioinformatics and biomedical informatics.
Lydia is the Noah Harding Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Bioengineering at Rice University, where she has mentored more than 20 female undergraduate students on various research projects. She is the faculty mentor of the Undergraduate Women in Computer Science Club. Lydia is the recipient of the 2000 Grace Murray Hopper Award, a Fellow of ACM, IEEE, AAAS, AAAI, AIMBE and a member of the National Academy of Medicine.
- Social Impact ABIE Award Winner — underwritten by RMS
The Social Impact ABIE Award recognizes those who have made a positive impact on women, technology, and society.
- This year, the award winners are a team of software engineers from Google, Michal Segalov and Daniela Raijman, who co-founded Mind the Gap, a program aimed at encouraging high school girls to pursue computer science and math. In the eight years the program has been in operation in Israel, Japan, Poland, Brazil and North America, more than 10,000 girls have participated. An early study showed that 40 percent of participating girls ultimately chose computer science as a major, and over 90 percent said they would recommend computer science as a career to a friend.
Michal Segalov is a Software Engineer and Manager, and leads groups of engineers on the Google Play team focusing on apps and game discovery, Play Store consumer features and game APIs for developers.
Daniela Raijman joined Google in 2007 as the first female engineer at the company’s R&D center in Tel Aviv. Today, she is a manager and leads a team of a dozen engineers working on initiatives for transferring large-scale data across Google’s network, including Google Compute Engine networks.
- Change Agent ABIE Awards Winners — underwritten by Google
The Change Agent ABIE Awards recognize international women who have created opportunities for girls and women in technology abroad.
- María Celeste Medina is the co-founder of Ada IT, a Buenos Aires-based software development and software testing startup focused on generating job opportunities for women. She is also a Technical Advisor and Code Clubs coordinator for “Programá tu Futuro,” a Buenos Aires City Government coding initiative. In just one year, María Celeste and the Programá tu Futuro team introduced more than 6,000 people to coding, including kids, adults, teenagers and senior citizens. María Celeste also serves as a board member for Girls in Tech Argentina.
- Mai Abualkas Temraz is the Mentorship & Women’s Inclusivity Program Coordinator at Gaza Sky Geeks, Gaza’s first startup accelerator and co-working hub. Gaza Sky Geeks (GSG) is run by Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian organization, and fills a critical need in Gaza, where young tech talent is abundant, but job opportunities are in short supply. GSG has created one of the most inclusive startup communities in the world — almost half of its participants are women. In 2015, Mai was awarded the best entry-level STEM Executive at the Women in STEM conference in Dubai. She is a Global Tech Leader representing Palestine, serves as the regional ambassador for Technovation in the Gaza Strip and is a member of the Arab Women in Computing (ArabWIC) mentorship committee. Mai is also the first and only female amateur radio operator in Palestine.
- Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award Winner — underwritten by Juniper Networks
The A. Richard Newton Educator ABIE Award recognizes educators who develop innovative teaching practices and approaches that attract girls and women to computing, engineering and math.
- Joanne McGrath Cohoon is a sociologist with the rank of Full Professor in the University of Virginia’s Department of Engineering & Society. She has conducted extensive research about the gender imbalance in computing and put her knowledge into practice through her work with the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). Joanne is a senior research scientist for NCWIT, where she promotes diversity and equity by improving the practices of institutions that educate and employ computing professionals.
- Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award Winner — underwritten by Microsoft
The Denice Denton Emerging Leader ABIE Award recognizes a junior faculty member for high-quality research and significant positive impact on diversity.
- Lydia Tapia is an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Her field of research is methodologies for the simulation and analysis of motions, and she applies these methods to both robots and disease-causing proteins as the director of the Adaptive Motion Planning Research Group. Previously, Lydia was a Computing Innovation Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Science from Tulane University. Lydia is highly committed to exposing young scientists to research through K-12 outreach and research experiences for undergraduates.
About the Anita Borg Institute (ABI)
The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) connects, inspires and guides women in computing and organizations that view technology innovation as a strategic imperative. Founded in 1997 by computer scientist Anita Borg, the institute’s reach extends to more than 65 countries. ABI believes that technology innovation powers the global economy, and that women are crucial to building technology the world needs. As a social enterprise, ABI recognizes women making positive contributions, and advises organizations on how to improve performance by building more inclusive teams. ABI has over 50 industry partners.