October 3-7, 2017 - Over a period of five days, Nanis Muringuri ‘19 participated in the annual Grace Hopper Celebration in Orlando, Florida. The celebration, the largest convening of women in technology, brought together over 18000 female professionals, students, tech enthusiast, employers and speakers from across the globe.

First held in 1994, the conference named after pioneering computer scientist, Grace Hopper and organized by the Anita Borg Institute, is designed to bring research and career interest of women in technology and engineering to the fore. This year, supported by a scholarship from Apple, MasterCard Foundation scholar, Nanis represented Ashesi at the conference.

“Grace Hopper Celebration provides a breeding ground for ideas and conversations about everything and anything related to computer science and as a student in this field, I wanted to interact with great people in technology who would challenge and empower me,” she said. “It was awesome to meet so many brilliant women from all over the world and learn all the cool things they are working on.”

Over the years, the convening has grown to incorporate technical sessions, poster sessions, a career fair, a student’s research competition and awards ceremony. Headlined by Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, other speakers included Dr. Ayanna Howard, Professor and Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair, Bioengineering, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Fei-Fei Li, Professor and Director, Stanford University AI Lab Chief Scientist, Google Cloud AI/ML and Mary Spio, CEO and President, CEEK VR INC. 

“I was particularly inspired by Melinda Gates in her keynote deliver,” she added. “The tech-talks, and the workshops were all significant in their importance to my field and interests. It was an outstanding, educational, inspiring, and uplifting experience. I had a chance to meet the women who are changing the world.”

For Nanis, not only did this experience expose her to wider circles of women in technology, but it also helped her funnel her thoughts in pursuing Computer Science as a career.

“In addition to the fact that one is exposed to the current advancements and research in tech, you are also able to interact with the incredible individuals who are creating them. My long-term career goal is to become a leader in science and computer education and particularly promote technology education in the rural areas of Kenya, and to build expertise in program development, with a focus on supporting underrepresented groups in STEM fields.”