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Portland Bound: Winning Essays Earn INI Students A Trip To Grace Hopper Conference

September 16, 2011

The INI has selected four scholarship recipients to attend the 2011 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing on November 9-12 in Portland, Oregon. The annual conference, of which the INI is an official sponsor, presents talks from leaders in industry, academia and government, and sessions on the role of women in fields such as information technology, computer science, research and engineering.

 "I am looking forward to the conference and, with the distinguished keynote speakers list, I am positive that, like previous attendees, from the INI, it will be a transformational experience for me," scholarship recipient Nandita Narla stated.

In order to distribute the scholarships,  the INI held an essay contest. Students were asked to write about the personal impact of either a volunteer project or various experiences here at Carnegie Mellon. In addition to Nandita, fellow second-year student Natalie Bennett and two first-year students, Ruta Gadkari and Ying Zhang were deemed the winners, out of 18 applicants from the INI . The scholarships these four women will receive include conference registration, lodging for four nights and some travel reimbursement.

"I would like to join the Grace Hopper Celebration to share my thoughts with other women in my field, and receive precious advice on both academics and work," first-year student and contest winner Ying Zhang said.

 "Being a woman in the field of computing, this conference would be of immense help in understanding how other women cope with the pressure and embrace the different possible career paths this field has to offer," added Ruta Gadkari, fellow first-year student and contest winner.

All scholarship recipients are also members of Women@INI, or WINI. Since its founding in 2005, WINI has been deeply committed to promoting and supporting the goals of INI students by striving to create a learning environment that embraces diversity and equality. Through involvement in WINI, students gain valuable leadership qualities and experience the passion of giving back to society.

"It is very important for women who have been successful in overcoming difficulties in the technology field to look back and be ambassadors for change," WINI member Natalie Bennett said. "We need to play our part to give young girls hope for a future of doing what they love, regardless of the obstacles that they face."

Pictured above: Ruta Gadkari (MS23) wore a big smile after hearing she would be going to the conference. The winners of the essay contest were announced during the INI boat cruise on September 1.

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