Cal Poly's Contingent the Largest at the 'World's Largest Gathering of Women Technologists'

November 09, 2016

The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the largest gathering of women technologists in the world, included 80 students from Cal Poly majoring or minoring in computer science, software engineering or computer engineering. It marked the eighth year the school's Computer Science and Software Engineering Department has sent students to the conference.

Held Oct. 19-21 in Houston, the event drew 14,000 attendees, including 5,000 students. The Cal Poly contingent — the largest student delegation there — was led by women faculty members Marian Pantoja, Theresa Miger and Zoë  Wood, as well as Gudrun Socher, a visiting professor from Munich University of Appied Sciences.

The conference provides powerful inspiration to women in a field largely dominated by men. Among this year’s keynote speakers were Ginni Rometty, IBM president and CEO; Latanya Sweeney, Harvard University professor and editor-in-chief of Technology Science; Marc Benioff, Salesforce chairman and CEO; and Megan Smith CTO of the United States of America. The program featured dozens of sessions on technology, emerging trends, professional development, best practices, and organization and leadership, together with a wide range of networking opportunities.

Second-year computer science student Charvi Bhargava was struck by the sheer number of women engineers and scientists. “In contrast to the small number of women I usually encounter in a technical setting, there were so many thousands there. Getting to be part of that energy has expanded my world and my sense of possibilities and belonging."

For more information on the conference, visit


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