WiCS | Stony Brook University

Grace Hopper Celebration Scholarship

April 30, 2021

We're excited to announce that WiCS sponsored several students for the Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration (vGHC) 2020! Three students were able to learn, network, and connect with women technologists from diverse backgrounds. Keep reading below to hear about their experiences from the event!

"Firstly, I would like to thank WiCS for giving me this wonderful opportunity. vGHC’20 was an amazing experience and has given me a chance to connect to such a powerful community. It taught how to no longer be apologetic for your femininity. And that you should be respected in all of your femaleness because you deserve to be. GHC feels like a parallel universe! All my life, I've seen women as a minority in the tech industry but now all I can see are hundreds of women in tech. That feeling is unparalleled! My favorite part of GHC was that I got an opportunity to be a part of it and that it exists! It makes me believe in the quote, 'Fill your life with women that empower you, that help you believe in your magic and aid them to believe in their own exceptional power and their incredible magic too. Women that believe in each other can survive anything. Women who believe in each other create armies that will win kingdoms and wars.' I got to meet a lot of tech enthusiasts across the globe and add a lot of valuable connections. What better place to network with like-minded mentors, students, recruiters, companies to learn and grow than at GHC."

Nayan Pasari is a University Scholar and a Junior in Computer Science at SBU. Over the past few years, she has achieved academic excellence in subjects involving Mathematics and Computer Programming and has experience in putting her education into practice by doing several projects. Her background and interest in Web/App Development helped her to complete a summer 2020 internship in Front-End Web Development at Metacube Software Pvt Ltd, Jaipur, India, where she learned and designed modern web apps. Nayan is also a TA for CSE 215, a STEP instructor, a CEAS Peer mentor, was a part of the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) Program - a multidisciplinary project on WebGen and an AMS 161 TA in the past. She got involved as the Junior REP (Community Chair in the past) for SBCS, is an active member of WiCS, a Social Media Manager on SWE, and is on the SBU Junoon dance team - Bollywood Hip-Hop. She loves getting caught in a good book and golden retrievers.

"vGHC was an enlightening and whirlwind of an experience. Although I was initially disappointed about the cancellation of the virtual career expo hall, I was still able to network and meet a lot of companies and women in tech! Notably, I attended an intimate fireside chat hosted by Cloudflare with Ellen Pao, the former CEO of Reddit and current CEO of Project Include. Ellen spoke candidly about her gender discrimination suit against Kleiner Perkins, a VC firm, in 2012 which helped inspire conversations about gender inclusion and prompted other women in the tech industry to come forward with their experiences. She also mentioned that she was optimistic that the next generation of tech leaders will push for change in the industry; she believes millennials and Gen-Z are open to discussing their moral values and have been accelerating change by organizing and boycotting with a grass-roots approach. Her words make me hopeful for the future of diversity and inclusion in the industry as well. Thank you so much to the WiCS Team for sponsoring me to attend vGHC and allowing me to participate in these eye-opening workshops and events!"

Melanie is a junior majoring in Computer Science. This past summer, she developed a web application for Rewriting the Code to automate the process by which membership data was accessed, visualized, and organized. She is currently working as a Web Developer at Blind Love Letters, an early stage startup reimagining the virtual dating space. On campus, she is a part of Theta Tau, a co-ed professional engineering fraternity, where she has served as Scholarship Chair, External Professional Development Chair, and Recruitment Chair. In her free time, she enjoys learning about skincare, writing poetry, and planning her next tattoo design!

"I am so grateful to be a WiCS Virtual Grace Hopper Conference (vGHC) Scholarship recipient this year! This conference was definitely an experience I will never forget as I’ve wanted to attend Grace Hopper since my freshman year and this was my first time attending! This experience was definitely unique in that everything, whether it was the opening keynote with Serena Williams, the various speaking engagements, the workshops, the closing virtual dance party and even the networking sessions, was virtual due to COVID-19. It was amazing to see so many like-minded females throughout the conference and how excited they were to meet me! I was overwhelmed by how many companies and recruiters reached out to me, as soon as I was registered to attend. Through this conference, I was able to network with various recruiters who guided me through the application and interview process for companies, which eventually led me to grow my network further. The sense of community I felt through this conference was beyond incredible and you definitely don’t feel alone being a woman in STEM. Even though the conference was held virtually, I think the experience was something I will never forget and hope that one day every female in STEM gets an opportunity to attend this conference."

Hello! My name is Sejal Mehra and I’m currently a senior majoring in computer engineering with a minor in entrepreneurship and in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Honors Program here at Stony Brook University. I am currently a Lead Mentor with the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) Peer Mentoring Program, executive board member for the Society of Women Engineers Chapter, alumni of Girls Who Code, and as a BUILTBYGIRLS Ambassador. I also have extensive professional experience with companies such as Viacom (now ViacomCBS), Microsoft, and littleBits.