GHC 2015 with Elena Allen
My favorite aspect of the Grace Hopper Celebration was the student opportunity labs. I attend the first one, held for two hours on Wednesday. This session covered a myriad of topics, ranging from grad school to crushing your first three months on the job to undergraduate research opportunities. This was perfect for me, as I’ve been contemplating whether or not grad school is something I’d like to pursue. The set up was fairly functional; each station was a round table of 10 people, where one or two were the discussion leaders. All of the leaders at the discussions I attended were in academia, though some had also worked in industry. This was nice because it gave insights on both career choices and how to move between them. Each session lasted about 25 minutes, which I felt was enough time to cover everyone’s questions. Additionally, some topics had multiple tables, so that you could get multiple professionals’ opinion on the same subject. Most were of a question-and-answer style, but some leaders had a discussion plan where they discussed certain points they thought were the most important to us. This was also helpful because there were more attendees than tables, and some people weren’t able to get to a seat and would have to sit one cycle out. Fortunately, these people could just attend a different session on the same subject later. Though I was unable to attend the student opportunity labs on Friday, I heard very good things about those as well. Many of those topics were UX-related, and seemed to be very informational. Furthermore, these tables were a good way to network. All of the discussion leaders were eager to answer any questions we had after the labs were done and gave us their contact information; some even offered to look over statements of purpose.
Admittedly, these labs would be pointless if there were no topics of interest to you, but I think that there were enough that should you want to participate in such a setup, you could find something you’d like to get more information on.