This week, technology-minded women from the across the United States have descend on Atlanta for the annual Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women in Computing, an annual conference that spotlights women’s contributions in computer science, information technology, research, and engineering. Named for the legendary computer scientist, U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, past GHCs have drawn 1,500 or more participants and dozens of corporate sponsors. The 2010 GHC runs from September 28 through October 2.
I’m happy to report that Microsoft has a major presence at this year’s event, sending a total of 80 participants, including four VPs, among them Rick Rashid, senior vice president and head of Microsoft Research (MSR) worldwide. The other veep attendees are Roz Ho, corporate vice president for Premium Mobile Experiences; Bill Laing, corporate vice president of the Server and Cloud Division; and Ted Kummert, senior vice president of the Business Platform Division. Other senior executives attending include Rico Malvar, chief scientist and distinguished engineer for Microsoft Research.
GHC always attracts a large number of students, offering fertile ground for corporate recruiters. So it’s no wonder that the Microsoft contingent boasts 23 recruiters, representing such diverse areas of the company as MSR, the Business Marketing Organization (BMO), and HR College Recruiting. Microsoft recruiters discovered the power of GHC last year, when they met many talented undergraduate and graduate women, and there’s no reason to believe that this year’s attendees will be any different. A bonus for recruiters and job seekers this year is the addition of the GHC Career Fair and Resume Clinic, on September 28.
In addition to VPs and recruiters, Microsoft will be well represented by developers, many of whom are actively participating in scheduled workshops and presentations. These range from “Cloud Computing—Turning the World into One Supercomputer,” by Linda Apsley; to “Use Your Facebook Addiction for Good: How Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Media Can Help You Find a Job, Improve Your Business, and Collaborate Across Boundaries,” with Jennifer Marsman; and “10 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Career,” with Kate Kelly. All in all, “softies” have a role in 20 talks and presentations, reminding attendees that Microsoft remains one of the most exciting, vibrant employers in the tech world.
In addition, Microsoft Research is the sponsor of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Student Research Competition (SRC), which takes place on Wednesday, September 29, and recognizes the research accomplishments of women undergrads and grads. This provides yet one more example of the company’s overwhelming support of GHC and its mission to attract the best and brightest women to computing.
—Jane Prey, senior research program manager for Microsoft External Research