A group of women undergraduate students from the Department of Computer Science, along with faculty members, attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference held in Houston, Texas, in 2014. The students hope to model their event after that conference.

The Rensselaer chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Women in Computing (ACM-W) will host a one-day “Women in Tech Summit” conference for women in computer science groups throughout the Capital Region. The conference is supported through a $5,000 amplification award grant the group recently received from the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Student Seed Fund.

Details are to be determined, but organizers expect the conference will be held in mid-April, in conjunction with a separate Rensselaer Department of Computer Science event. ACM-W chapter chair Cameron Mine and vice-chair Courtney Tambling said the summit will be modeled after the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, with emphasis on community creation.

“Each year, thousands of women come together for the Grace Hopper Celebration, yet the price, distance, and inability to take time away often prevents deserving students from attending,” said Mine. “We will be hosting an extraordinary summit right in the back yard of the Capital Region so that anyone interested may attend.”

Mine said the conference will include speakers from industry and academia, technical and non-technical workshops, and the opportunity to network with peers and future mentors. Rensselaer ACM-W will open the event to local colleges including Siena College, University of Albany, Union College, Sage College, and Hudson Valley Community College, as well as to area high school students.

“We are grateful to NCWIT and Google.org, which sponsors the program, for graciously funding our summit,” Mine said. “Without their financial support, it would not be possible to create this opportunity. Additionally, we appreciate the support of the Rensselaer Department of Computer Science, and their dedication to improving diversity.”

NCWIT is a nonprofit community of more than 600 universities, companies, nonprofits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.