Friday, October 19, 2007

GHC: Keynote speaker

It was tough getting up this morning, the caffeine kept me up (shaking) til about 2:30 or 3AM, but I"m glad I drug myself out of bed (and so happy that Jen toasted a bagel for me).

Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College, had a lot of interesting points about why women have problems following up with a career in computer science. A big thing they are doing at Harvey Mudd is making their introduction to computer science class as exciting as the careers students will be able to do once they graduate.

She noted another interesting thing that I can really relate to: lots of women students think they must be in the wrong field, because they don't spend their evenings trolling, or writing more code just for fun. It turns out, you can love your field, and still have hobbies outside of your career.

Another interesting tidbit - apparently parents & school counselors are telling high school students that there are no longer any careers in computer science, since the dot-com bust - that it's a dead field. Weird - we're all still using computers, aren't we? We certainly aren't still buying systems and operating systems from 1999 are we?

I can't agree with her more - computer scientists do have an image problem. It really is a fun career, and does allow you the flexibility to pursue many different careers and still leaves room to have hobbies.

Valerie Fenwick

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