By: Diane Stirling
(315) 443-8975

As another component of the School of Information Studies’ (iSchool) dedicated two-year effort to increase female enrollment ratios and heighten the national visibility of its programs, the iSchool and the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University are participating as conference academic sponsors at one of the largest tech conferences for women in the world.

The Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women In Computing Conference, which takes place in Minneapolis this week, is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to theforefront. It is the largest technical conference for women in computing, and its goals are to provide collaborative proposals, networking and mentoring for junior women plus increased visibility for the contributions of women in computing.

The conference is named for Grace Murray Hopper, an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral who was a pioneer in the computing field. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, developed the first compiler for a computer programming language, and created the concept of machine-independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages.

Conference presenters are leaders in representing industry, academia and government. Featured speakers this year include Maria Klawe, a computer scientist and president of  Harvey Mudd College; Megan Smith, vice president at Google ; Dr. Arati Prabhakar, director of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency; and Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook.

Because of its academic sponsorship participation, the iSchool will be represented prominently. “This is the largest tech conference for women in the world. It brings together students, faculty, staff, and employers–people from every piece of the pipeline,” noted Dori Farah, iSchool recruiting specialist. “The College of Engineering and the iSchool share this dedication to recruiting women to our programs, and our position as a sponsor will allow us to better reach potential graduate students who would be interested in our technical programs. Because the whole conference is about encouraging female leaders in technology, the sponsorship nicely ties in with our goals,” she added.

The Anita Borg Institute seeks to increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology, and to boost the positive impact of technology on the world’s women. The non-profit organization has since 1997 developed tools and programs designed to help industry, academia and government institutions recruit, retain and develop women technology leaders.