Selah Argent and Michelle Sandstrom share their experiences attending international conference for women in computing

SBCC students Selah Argent and Michelle Sandstrom were among approximately 20,000 technology professionals from around the world who attended the 2018 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Houston, Texas, in October. Eager to inspire fellow students to attend in the future, the two students gave a lunchtime presentation upon their return in which they shared their experiences.

Founded in 1994 with the goal of inspiring and connecting women in technology from leading academic institutions and Fortune 500 companies, the Grace Hopper Celebration is now the world’s largest annual gathering of women technologists.

For Michelle, it was her third time attending the conference so she focused on the career fair and getting an internship. “Meeting and talking with recruiters is so valuable,” she reported to the group. “Meeting them face-to-face puts you way ahead of those who apply online.” After considering offers from Facebook, Google, Microsoft and a return offer from Salesforce, she opted for Salesforce.

Selah agreed that the career fair was her favorite part of this year’s conference. Getting personalized resume advice from recruiters from Google and other major tech companies resulted in her obtaining an internship at a local infrared camera company.

“I love being part of this community and seeing how it’s grown. We’re like a big family,” said Selah.

When asked what they’d learned from the conference, Selah felt that seeing thousands of women interested in what she is interested in gave her confidence to speak up in class and ask questions. Michelle followed up by adding, “I realized I don’t need to know everything. What matters is wanting to learn, since technology is changing all the time.”