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Partners in Outreach and Diversity

This year, university and high school students learned more about software development, computer programming and, perhaps, their future careers through events generously funded by FoCS partners Yahoo!, Lockheed Martin, ConocoPhillips and Schlumberger.

Earlier this month, thanks to the generous support of AMD, ConocoPhillips and Yahoo!, 20 of The University of Texas at Austin Computer Science (UTCS) students attended The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference in Portland, Oregon. The conference — named after legendary computer scientist Rear Admiral Grace Hopper — is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront.  "The Grace Hopper Conference is one of the best ways to connect with women around the nation—I loved how many interesting people I was able to talk with, and how much I was able to learn about what is happening in so many fields at so many companies. It makes me all the more excited to graduate and contribute to this community," said UTCS senior Joanna Smith.  Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook, gave a very inspiring presentation and students attended workshops on new research, career development and how to be successful in graduate school.

FoCS partner Lockheed Martin partnered with a number of UTCS student groups in 2011, such as Women in Computer Science (WICS). In September, the company sponsored the WICS’ kick-off event for new and returning student members. Lockheed Martin also helped fund UTCS’s First Bytes Summer Camp, a one-week residential program for high school girls interested in computer science and problem solving. This year, 60 participants saw how computers solve problems in medicine and the arts, received hands-on programming experience, and visited research labs to learn about the newest technology.

Longtime FoCS partner Schlumberger sponsored the 2011 Edsger W. Dijkstra Memorial Lecture, featuring renowned computer theorist Richard Karp, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at the University of California, Berkeley. Karp’s November 2011 talk on the “Effective Heuristics of NP-Hard Problems” is the second Dijkstra lecture generously funded by Schlumberger.

With support from FoCS partner ConocoPhillips, UTCS sent a contingent of 20 students to The Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference, which provides a unique forum to inspire and encourage computing students and professionals from diverse backgrounds. At the conference, held in San Francisco, the students participated in a research poster session, attended research talks, and networked with like-minded students and faculty from across the nation.

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