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Fran Berman to speak at Grace Hopper conference

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (whose director, Telle Whitney, I met at a conference recently; her passion and commitment are inspiring) has announced that HPC’s own Fran Berman will be among those to speak at the 9th annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology (ABI) announced today Megan Smith, Vice President, New Business Development, Google, and General Manager, Google.org and Fran Berman, Professor in the UCSD Department of Computer Science and Engineering and the first holder of the High Performance Computing Endowed Chair in the Jacobs School of Engineering at UCSD will be keynote speakers for the 9th annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), which will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 3 at the J.W. Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson Arizona.

The second annual Plenary Panel of Technology Executives will include Linda Brisnehan, Vice President Military Support Programs, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Nora Denzel, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Payroll, Intuit Corporation, and Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer of Amazon.com.

The GHC is an important tool for increasing the retention of young women in the computing sciences

The 2008 GHC attracted over 1,450 participants from 23 countries and featured more than 300 presenters. GHC provides technical women with visibility, a sense of community, and critical social networks and mentoring relationships that improve female representation in the field. A survey of last year’s participants revealed that a significant percentage reported an increased passion and commitment to their roles as technical women after attending the conference. The survey also found that attendance had a positive impact on their professional advancement.

Many schools, including my alma mater Mississippi State University, provide scholarships to promising women in their computing departments as part of their efforts to improve retention in these programs. For reasons that aren’t entirely understood, a surprising number of women who start computing majors don’t finish them. The GHC has the potential to change that for some women. I encourage you to find out if your school or alma mater has a program to send its computing women to the GHC and, if so, send them a check for $100 earmarked to support those efforts.

Link courtesy HPCwire; full story here.

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