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By Erin Stanton

In a world of constantly evolving technology, computer science is becoming an increasingly relevant field of study. Eleven computer science majors from the University attended the annual Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing Conference on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

Along with chair of the department, Robert Beck, Ph.D., and computer science professor Mirela Damien, Ph.D., the University students made their way to Baltimore, Md. Students in attendance at the conference were Kristin Arcurio, Kristy Majetich, Karen Mui, Bianca Isidro, Alyssa Critelli, Amy Zuerndorfer, Kristin Palazzolo, Samantha Yeats, Kelly Gremban, Karen Gonzalez and Jillian Kramer.

In 2010, only five women from the University attended. Each year, the number of students in attendance grows, according to Kramer, who has gone to the conference three times herself.

Each year at the conference, there is a career fair to show students their post-college options as computer science majors. With companies, such as Apple, Facebook and Google, presenting, and looking to recruit students, it is a great networking opportunity. In addition to the fair, many students are offered the opportunity to interview with employers at the conference. This year, the 11 students from the University were interviewed by Amazon, GE Healthcare, USAA, Credit Suisse and other top software and IT employers.

Kramer has always known she wanted to be a computer science major and sees the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing Conference as one of the many perks of being in the program here at the University.

“I have always been interested in technology, and when I was deciding on a major I thought it was great that computer science could be a tool to help advance other fields of study,” Kramer says. “In the first class you take as a CSC major you start writing small programs. They didn’t do much, so my friends were never impressed, but the problems we were given in class were like puzzles, and I loved being able to solve them.”

In addition to attending the career fair at the conference this year, Kramer was able to discuss her personal research with other students from around the country at a student research poster session at the conference.

Kramer received second place in the undergraduate research poster competition.

“It was nice to see that people were interested in the topic of my research and that they wanted to know what would come next,” Kramer says.

Kramer is in the combined BS/MS program at the University and will therefore get her master’s here after she graduates.

After earning her master’s, Kramer hopes to work in the business of developing the user-interaction aspect of software.

“The conference was the perfect opportunity to talk to a variety of potential employers,” Kramer says. “I got plenty of practice answering both behavioral and technical questions.”

University student Kristy Majetich also valued her experience at the conference. Throughout the weekend, she got the opportunity to interview with 13 different employers.

“The conference was very helpful in figuring out what I want to do with my degree,” Majetich says. “It really provides opportunities that you can’t find anywhere else.  Whether it’s taking 13 job interviews in two days or learning about new upcoming topics in computing, this was an experience that I simply couldn’t have gotten in the classroom setting.”

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