ACM-W Club of Union Visits Harvard WECode Conference 2023


Students from Union who attended the conference. The Association of Computing Machinery – Council on Women (ACM-W), with support from the Computer Science Department and Student Activities, organized students to attend Harvard WECode.

Shriya Biswas, 807 Editor

Harvard University organized its first in-person Women Engineers Conference (WECode) since 2019 last weekend. 12 students from Union College attended the Conference. Union’s Association of Computing Machinery – Council on Women (ACM-W), Student Activities, and the Computer Science department cooperated to bring Union’s students. Harvard WECode is organized by the undergraduate women at Harvard and it is an initiative of the Harvard Undergraduate Women in Computer Science.

The mission of WECode is to foster a global community of technical leaders and increase the visibility and presence of women in STEM and the technology industry. They believe that individuals regardless of their race, ethnicity, and gender should be given a fair opportunity to pursue a career in STEM. Throughout the two-day conference, students got the opportunity to attend career panels and mentorship sessions with remarkable women leaders in the technical field. Panels included speakers from the Society of Women’s Engineers (SWE), Meta, NASA, and others. Students also took part in a career fair where they spoke with representatives of various companies and got the chance to grow their networks, such as Citadel and D.E. Shaw Research. Events included Bloomberg Women in Engineering Career Panel, Innovation Culture Fit, and Websites as Personal Storytelling: A Hands-on Design Workshop. 

Jing Chen ‘23, co-President of ACM-W reflects that “Barbara Liskov’s talk on “Data Abstraction” was the most inspiring for me. She walked us through her career path and we saw how her work revolutionized the way we program today. There was immense overlap between Liskov’s talk with CS courses at Union, such as CSC-120: Programming on Purpose and CSC-151: Data Structures. It was incredible being able to hear the story from the very person that transformed the way we code today.”Emma Vu ‘24, Treasurer of ACM-W shared Chen’s positive outlook.“HarvardWECode was such a great experience that it made the effort of organizing it totally worth it! Everyone in our group of Union students seemed to have a good time networking with other like-minded women, listening to inspiring talks and exploring Boston. Hopefully, members of ACM-W will attend more conferences in the future”. Says Fiona Shyne ‘23, co-President of ACM-W, “The WeCode conference was a great way to look into the different paths women in tech enter. Whether they were working on creating biological simulations for drug research or incorporating creativity into their job. The one downside was the career fair at the end was so combative that any meaningful conversations were not possible.”