Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grace Hopper Conference Part 2

I was also lucky enough to be awarded a Facebook scholarship to attend Grace Hopper—in fact, there were three girls from Penn, so we really represented! My whole experience at Grace Hopper was great, but I’ll pick up right where the last post left off.

My morning on Thursday was early, jam-packed, and quite full of delicious food.  I started off by going to a breakfast with Yahoo! where two Yahoo-ers who talked passionately about their projects.   Next I headed to the inspiring Keynote given by Nora Denzel.  From there I went straight to breakfast #2, this one for the Facebook scholars.  This event was particularly special, as Facebook had just achieved their billionth user, and we got to join in the celebrations.  The rest of Thursday was spent attending sessions, perusing the career fair, and even doing a few interviews.  One memorable session was “How to Get There:  Secrets for Success, in the Style of GLEE”.  It was definitely a popular session—I barely got in before it filled up—and for good reason.  The presenter gave us 10 all-important tips, presented with relevant song clips.  My personal favorite was “Be Prepared” from the Lion King.

All of the Facebook scholars were given the option to interview with Facebook while at the conference, and Friday was the day of my highly anticipated interview.  I spent the morning prepping:  doing practice problems, going over data structures, etc.  I was a little terrified, but felt better once I was introduced to my interviewer—I had met her two nights before at our Facebook dinner/mixer, and she was really nice!  The extra boost of confidence helped a lot going in, and the interview went well.  Friday night was the conference’s grand finale:  a party hosted by Google and Microsoft at the science museum.  All of us there were geeks, so of course we had a blast.  I watched a 3D IMAX movie about the sea, and saw some crazy fish.  Then, after some heartfelt speeches and prize giveaways, we had a beautiful dessert buffet.  The night ended with a Planetarium show.

This was my first time attending the conference; I’d applied for scholarships in past years, but never before received one.  When I got my congratulatory email from Facebook, I was so excited—I could hardly believe it was real!  Now I can say that Grace Hopper was even better than I was expecting.  I hope the conference continues to grow so even more girls can have exciting and empowering experiences like mine.

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