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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, December 9, 2023

Tufts Women in Computer Science holds its 3rd annual conference

Tufts Women in Computer Science (WiCS) held its annual Women in Technology (WiT) conference in the Collaborative Learning and Innovation Complex (CLIC) on Sept. 14. During this conference open to students of all gender identities, organizers held a series of events including a career fair, a series of keynote speakers and workshops, which offered tutorials on skills like machine learning and managing social media.

The conference was open to the community and wanted to call specific attention to women and non-binary people in the technology community. However, event president Lexi Walker emphasized that the event was a celebration of women in technology. The conference featured diverse content, with many women working in different sectors talking about different career paths.

All four floors of the CLIC were buzzing with activity, especially the fourth floor, which held the career fair. Women representing tech companies, like Wayfair, met with Tufts students and high school students from the area. 

Mahima Agrawal, the WiT member in charge of moderating the event, told the Daily the goal of the conference was for women outside of computer science disciplines to explore careers in technology. Emily Tran, co-president of WiT, echoed Agrawal's statement, saying the conference was aimed toward all women with an interest in technology.

One of the many highlights of the conference was the speaker talks. 

“Dr. Laura Vertatschitsch was the keynote speaker that worked on technology used to take the first picture of the black hole, I’m really excited about the speaker,” Walker, a senior, said.

Tran, a junior, hoped that the speakers would have a long-term impact on the students who attended.

"[I am] very excited to see speakers [and] more excited about the impact it will hopefully have. If one person walks out of talk feeling inspired, I will be happy," Tran said.

Other speakers covered topics that ranged outside a strictly computer science realm. 

“I’m moderating the tech for social good panel, [which includes] women talking about how they apply tech knowledge to completely different from big tech,” Tran said. 

With such a broad range of speaking topics, Tran said she hoped to increase attendee's exposure to topics related to computer science.

Agrawal also emphasized that the event was available to high school students, saying she is a member of an organization which reaches out to students at local high schools to bring them to the conference.

The workshops were spearheaded by women who recently graduated and now work in STEM fields. According to the WiT website, the workshops spanned from emphasizing performance testing to researching cloud-based data transformation.