Wrap-up of the Grace Hopper Celebration

The annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing wrapped up last week, and as attendees from all over the world head back to their schools, universities, companies, and organizations, we want to reflect on what our commitment to this Celebration means to Google.

What started as a vision and a blank piece of paper shared between Anita Borg and Telle Whitney over dinner in 1994, has now become the single largest gathering of women in computing. From the first conference in Washington DC with 500 attendees, the Grace Hopper Celebration has grown exponentially to the massive number of over 8,000 attendees this year.

Google has been attending the Grace Hopper Celebration for over a decade, and we are proud to show our long-standing dedication to this conference by partnering at the highest level as a Visionary Platinum Sponsor. Google has been working with the Anita Borg Institute (ABI) since 2004, and Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President of Knowledge, has been a member of the ABI Board of Trustees since 2006. To Google, Grace Hopper is more than a conference, it’s an opportunity to invigorate and unite technical women.

20,000 glowsticks lit up the final night’s celebration at Grace Hopper.

We experienced many highlights this year and encouraged attendees to post about their experiences, as they happened using the hashtag #GoogleGHC14. These posts most accurately capture the exhilaration of GHC on-the-ground; excitement over seeing the self-driving car, reunions between interns, chatting with Megan Smith, the new Chief Technology Officer of the United States, and students pleased to demo Cardboard and get their very own to bring home.

Grace Hopper also reminds us of the work we have left to do to welcome future generations of women to the tech field and to retain those already here. GHC serves as a setting for women to share their experiences–and talk honestly about technology–the amazing, the awe-inspiring and even the extremely challenging aspects.

When we talk with faculty on college campuses, they frequently tell us how important the Grace Hopper Celebration is for their students, and that Grace Hopper can often serve as a game-changer for younger students in solidifying their interest in Computer Science. For that reason, Google was proud to sponsor travel scholarships for over 100 students, as well as invite and fund over 200 of our interns to join the celebration at Grace Hopper. These students came from all over the world; as far as Kazakhstan and South Africa. One travel grant recipient, Brianna Fugate, class of 2018 at Spelman College had this to say about her experience at Grace Hopper:

“Thank you so much for the opportunity and grant to attend Grace Hopper. When I share my stories with young girls considering tech I always tell them how important it is to have a strong network of social encouragement. It was an amazing experience to network with so many successful women in tech and gain insight as to what path I should be taking as a woman just beginning her journey in this industry.”

The Grace Hopper Celebration allows women in computing and their allies to connect, develop skills, and become invigorated as we – at Google and in the larger computing community – set our vision for bringing even more women into the technology industry. We can hardly wait for GHC 2015, and hope to see you in Houston!

Posted by Sidnie Davis, University Programs Specialist