This might be one of the most inspiring sessions I’ve attended so far. The women on the panel were:

Cecilia Aragon, Lawrence Berkeley Lab & U Washington

Patty Lopez, Intel

Sandra Johnson, IBM

Loretta Moore, Jackson State U

All of these women had wonderful stories. Sandra Johnson said she believes she was the first African American woman to get a PhD in Electrical Engineering! She is also the only African American woman who is an IEEE fellow. Cecilia Aragon left with a MS, took time off and then went back for the PhD and was still able to not only work in a National Lab, but to then get 6 offers for faculty positions and to accept an offer as a tenured professor. Patty Lopez took a risk after working at HP for almost 20 years and moved to Intel. Patty Lopez didn’t make the cheerleading squad (she couldn’t do cartwheels, like myself!) and decided instead to compete with the boy in class who thought he was smarter than her (haven’t we all?). Loretta More told a lovely story about how she decided that Chemistry was rather unforgiving to mistakes (the story involved an explosion!) and switched to Computer Science.

Here’s an interesting thought. Someone asked about dealing with people saying that you only got a position or an award because you’re female or a minority. The consensus from the panel was to know that you got where you are because you’re qualified, but Sandra Johnson mentioned that for years men actually got positions without being qualified!

My personal question was about carrying the burden of representing my race. Patty Lopez had a great insight, in a book on corporate tribalism, it was shown that white males see themselves as individuals but tend to see minorities as groups. So I need to work on separating myself from the group and stop seeing myself as a representative of all women, all Jamaican women, all Women of Color.



As promised, I’ll be giving a couple mini posts on Grace Hopper! The conference started yesterday evening. First impression: oh my god there are a lot of women! It’s so refreshing, I spend my day surrounded by men, and that’s great, but you miss having other females around. Everybody is so friendly, much more so than at other conferences.

Cool feature: Poken! They’re futuristic business cards, you hold them up to each other and they exchange sort of your business cards, but even more if you add social networks to your profile. A little tip: When you go to register, plug in your Poken into a usb slot. It should ask you to the open the folder to view files, double click the Start Poken icon, which will take you to the Poken webpage. On the webpage, your username is the email you used to register for Grace Hopper, and the password is poken.



Off to go meet some more cool women!

Grace Hopper #ghc10 is around the corner and I'm getting excited! I plan on doing some blogging, I think I'll be aiming for a couple short posts and then maybe one longer summary post, but we'll see. I'm not quite sure how to get my blog added to the blog roll or if it's too late, but even if it isn't, I'll have this in my twitter feed. A couple of notes so far:

The Linkedin Grace Hopper group is very useful, lots of good articles about making the most of the conference. As a first timer, I really appreciate all of the online resources:

You've had that moment, you hear a tune and can't place it. It's even worse if it's an instrumental song, because there's no hope of you remembering some words and googling them. Well in 2010, apparently there's a plethora of solutions. I'm still behind the times so needed a solution that didn't require a smartphone or super cool mp3 player, so no Shazam apps. Still, there are solutions out there. The first thing we tried was midomi. The idea is great, hum a tune, and it'll try match what you hummed to tunes other people have entered. Didn't work so great for us though. So I hummed and my guitar playing friend picked out the notes using his guitar and wrote them down. I meanwhile found another site, musipedia, which appealed to the musician in me. This site has several ways of finding tunes, one of which is playing the notes on an on-screen keyboard. It took just a couple seconds of me entering a dozen notes or so, and I had my answer. (If you're curious, the bugger of a song was Minuet for Harpsichord by J.S. Bach.)

What's your favorite way to identify songs stuck in your head? For more suggestions, here are some articles I found:
Otherwise known as one man's attention getting scheme. Not to take sides here, but after reading this story in the Times, I wonder why we allow these people to get the attention they desire. Take a look at the following excerpt:
Mr. Jones, who stutters a bit in his sermons and calls himself doctor based on an honorary degree from an unaccredited Bible school, has at times seemed sincerely shocked by the response he has attracted. But not unhappy.

His church has been in financial trouble for years — the property is now for sale — and even before General Petraeus and the president made him a household name, he said in an interview that he hoped to become well known as a critic of Islam.

He was in his office at the time, alone, and to his right there sat a drawing of a bearded man — a terrorist — that had been used for target practice.

The mix of guns and visions of grandeur would come to embody the end of his planned bonfire as well.

On Thursday, several of his parishioners carried pistols on their hips — the product, they said, of death threats — that also served as a sign of church membership and the outsized role their small group had taken on in world affairs.
Clearly something is wrong. I'm not a regular church goer, but it seems to me that at the point that wearing a pistol on your hip is a sign of church membership, let alone the leader of a church using the image of a "terrorist" as target practice, you have gone off course. This is not what religion is supposed to be, is it?