After applying to attend Grace Hopper three years in a row, Stanford sponsored me along with other fellow Computer Science undergrads + masters (majority) to attend GHC19!
Today is the LAST DAY 😭 and while I rest my poor feet 👣 before the closing celebration 💃🏻I thought I’d share my experience so far (while the impressions are still fresh on my mind).
DAY 1: MONDAY 9/30 TRAVEL DAY ✈️
What I did: The first day was a travel day for me. Not knowing when to head to the conference I booked a Monday morning flight connecting in Houston with 1 1/2 hour layover. I arrived in Orlando at 6 PM and to my hotel before 7 PM. Stanford made and paid our hotel reservations (2 Stanford students to a room). I wish they paid for our flights up front as I had trouble coming up with the airfare so by the time I booked my flight in late August, the nonstop flights were $1200+ so I booked a nonstop flight ~$750 which was the cheapest I could find. We will be reimbursed after the conference for up to $700.
On my early flight SFO -> Houston -> Orlando
What I wish I did: I wish Stanford had provided me with the funds to book my flight as soon as I was accepted. I would have taken a nonstop flight on Tuesday as I really just lost a day to traveling and getting behind school lectures + coursework.
I wish Stanford had made a reservation to dinner / meetup before the conference so we could have a chance to meet friendly and familiar faces.
Day 2: TUESDAY 10/1 Registration + Career Fair Crawl + Techqueria Meetup!
What I did: I made the very rookie mistake of arriving at 4 PM to register before the career fair (5 – 6 PM). I ended up waiting 3 hours to get my badge. I did some homework while I was on the snaking line and chatted with my new friend and roommate.
The career fair crawl came and went while we waited and waited and waited…
Silver lining of the very long wait: I got to know my roommate really well as we talked about classes, aspirations, our backgrounds, our shared first generation experience, and so much more.
At 6:50 PM as I handed my student ID to one of the registration workers I got a notification from Grace Hopper apologizing for the inconvenience but the SYSTEM WAS DOWN and for attendees to return the next day at 5 AM to pick up their badges.
As I held my breath for my badge to print I thought how the heck am I supposed to find the silver lining in this? My badge printed and I let out a huge sigh of relief.
I booked a Lyft and ran to the ride share pick up to head to the Techqueria meetup.
Techqueria is a nonprofit that serves
the largest community of Latinx in Tech 🌮
👉🏼https://techqueria.org/ to signup
I was so appreciative that members of Techqueria formed a Grace Hopper channel and volunteered to make the above beautiful invite, plan the reservation and get us all together. Shout out to Yanessa and Mitzi for making this happen!
I have never felt so at home than I did with these amazing Latinas. My ears were so happy to hear the English -> Spanish -> Spanglish vocal dancing.
Whether we were from Boyle Heights, Seattle, Chicago, New York, the Bay Area, or donde sea (wherever) – we came from shared experience and seeing my experiences reflected in these warm and beautiful faces filled my heart and soul with hope. Can you imagine if we got to work in the same company? Las maravillas we would build!
The connections I met that night were meaningful and deeply personal and I will always treasure the conversations we had.
We had 40+ Latinxs attend the meetup at local business Amor Em Pedacos, a Brazilian empanadas restaurant
After the restaurant closed at 10 PM four of us went looking for a place to keep chatting. I am so glad I put myself out there because the payoff was that I got to be in a space where I could voice my experiences to and in tech without judgement, I felt understood and I made friends that I want to keep collaborating with.
What I wish I did:
You could say that I missed out on the career crawl but honestly I think if it hadn’t been for the long line, I may have experienced the career fair from a place of trepidation and isolation. I wouldn’t have got to know my roommate and I don’t know that I would have had the mental energy to attend the meetup. I was reenergized every time I bumped into one of these amazing ladies during the conference and I felt like I was here with my family, not alone in a crowd of 25,0000. Finding this beautiful community reminded me again that I belong in tech and that there is a large and vibrant community of Latinx in Tech.