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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

A&M represented at nationwide women computing conference

Modern computers would not be the same without Grace Hopper and her pioneering work in WWII-era computing — a fact celebrated this past weekend by nearly 8,000 women at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.
The event, the largest female computing convention in the world, took place in Phoenix, Arizona. A group of Texas A&M students attended the event, and an Aggie professor served as co-chair for the conference, which aims to boost awareness of computing careers and research done by women.
“Grace Hopper began in 1994 in Washington, D.C. with maybe only 500 people in it,” said Tiffani Williams, associate computer science professor and conference co-chair. “It was started because the group wanted to create a community of women that were in computing. Many of the women attending the conference were the only women in their department — they knew that there were other women in there field but very rarely came in contact with them. [GHC] was designed to fix that.”
The 2014 conference doubled the previous year’s attendance of 4,000 to 8,000. Texas A&M has been a top representative at the conference in the past few years.
Texas A&M’s Aggie Women in Computer Science and Engineering, AWCSE, has been bringing students to GHC since 2002 and brought 20 A&M delegates to the 2014 conference.
Though AWICSE and GHC are geared more toward women, both the organization and the event make sure to recognize that both men and women are needed to close the gender gap. This year’s conference addressed the issue in a unique way — the keynote speaker was male, a first in conference history.
“AWICSE is of course targeted towards women in the computer science field, but our main goal is to breach the gender gap,” said Hsin-Yi Yeh, a computer science doctorate student and AWICSE president. “We want to break the gender gap and bring diversity into technology.”
Born on Dec. 9, 1906, Hopper was a rear admiral in the United States Navy and one of the original programmers on Harvard University’s MARK I, one of the first computers. Hopper is credited as one of the first female programmers, paving the way for other women to follow and therefore the convention’s namesake.
Texas A&M recognizes the benefits this conference provides and hopes to provide attendance opportunities to as many students as possible.
“Our department is so supportive of Grace Hopper,” said Stephanie Valentine, a computer science doctorate student. “They enable the students to attend the conference at no cost to them.”

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