The Inaugural Black Women in Computing Conference kicked off on January 6, 2017 opening with a reception filled with food and music. As the planning committee welcomed us, guests were encouraged to reflect on why we were in attendance with a clip from this video.

After watching the video, I was nearly in tears. The stories were parallel to my own  experiences. When the reception was over, I left the conference inspired and grateful that I had registered.

Saturday was a full day of speeches, panels, breakout sessions and keynotes from industry professionals. The presenters for Saturday were: Dr. Kamau Bobb, Michaela Angela Davis, Lisa Gelobter, Dr. Raquell Holmes and Dr. Fay Cobb Payton. The speeches were empowering and impactful. Each speaker shared a personal story about what they encountered on the road to get where they are today. The panel discussions were just as enlightening with topics like careers, leadership, honoring our past and looking into the future. The breakout sessions were intimate which allowed us to get to know our fellow women in computing and participate in group-related discussions.

Sunday, we spent our morning discussing our next steps and plans for next year’s conference. Everything ended at noon but tickets were given to those who were still in town to see Hidden Figures on its opening weekend, which happened to occur at the same time as the conference. How fitting!

The conference was uplifting, intimate, empowering, and nothing short of amazing. Leaving this conference, I’m motivated to push through any obstacle that may come my way. I also now have a network of women who support me in my endeavors. I registered for the conference not knowing what to expect and left with new sisters/friends in my field who can guide, support and encourage me along the way.

Now, I encourage you to visit the Black Women in Computing website, sign-up for the list serve, join the Facebook group, follow them on Instagram and Twitter. To view any information from the conference on social media use the hashtag #blackcomputeHER.

Siobahn Day is a second year Computer Science PhD student at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. Connect with her at www.siobahncday.com

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