As someone who left their heart and half their friends out west, I can only say thank you to Mr. Craig Newmark (a former Squirrel Hill and Shadyside resident)
Visit it. Post. Let's get the Pittsburgh Community started!!!
Now this is going to be fun! Bye-Bye SCO? Speaking of SCO, anyone else remember SCO Xenix in the early days of the 386? Ah, what a pain in the butt it was!
Jennifer Chayes, Manager of the Theory Group at Microsoft Research, gave a fabulous talk on Thursday last week, although I still think the professors probably got more of a kick out of it than the students. She's a real good speaker, one of the few people that can talk lively about CS Theory. Her talk on "Phase transitions for Combinatorial Optimizations" is archived here. (Windows Media Player needed)
I personally found her talk didn't go over my head nearly as much as I expected it would... but if you watch it, be prepared that it might! Jennifer definately shows the amazing things that happen when you get a cross-disiplinary background -- She gravitated from Biology to Physics to Math to Computer Science. She was a fabulous speaker, and is a fabulous person in real life too!
So, ever since I've been a freshman here, I've been very active in our SWE
(Society of Women Engineers) chapter, and in the past two years, increasing my involvement in our Women@SCS
(Women in the School of Computer Science) group here, too. I also used to be an officer of SWE, in 2000-2001.
I'm excited to note that we have Jennifer Chayes
, manager of the Theory group at Microsoft Research, coming to speak this Thursday, and from what I hear, she's a really dynamic person!
As for future speakers (someone else arranged for Jennifer to come in), it looks like our wonderfully famous dotnetblog member, Julia Lerman
has agreed to give a talk to our Women@SCS
group here, and along with Julia, Lili Cheng
may also be coming with her.
I'm hoping that along with these two wonderful gals and our group here at CMU, that we can have a wonderful discussion, learn about one another's initiatives into encouraging more women into the technical fields, and perhaps get some initiatives we all can work together on. From my own personal experiences, mentoring is critical at all stages of life, for both men and women alike, and everyone needs not only an internal drive, but external support to acheive their dreams. One of my most favorite people in the world, Elizabeth Smith, a general manager at IBM, introduced me to the world of mentoring, when we had her come in for one of our SWE conferences, "Coloring outside the lines" in February of 2000, and ever since then I've personally realized how a strong community for oneself helps one realize his or her dreams. Thank you Liz, and may we all pass on the wonderful gifts of our own experiences and knowledge to help others reach for the stars!
And for you men out there wondering why the heck a guy like me is so supportive and involved in these women in technology initiatives, here's my top three reasons why you should get involved and help with them too:
1. By understanding women's needs' in the workplace, you'll be a better and more understanding manager later on.
2. You'll make better products that are less gender-biased.
3. You'll have diversity in the workplace. This means having lunch with girls and not talking about only geeky things! Could also mean more potential dates for you, but I *am not* going to advocate dating in the workplace, as that can become a sticky situation.
Meeting with Bosch went great. We didn't get to have lunch because we were a tad pressed for time, but looks like they want to consider funding me for a masters degree in Human Computer Interaction or the Language Technologies Institute here at Carnegie Mellon. Only problem is I need to finish up this research proposal by Monday (November 10th)... so I've got my work cut out for me.
Before anyone asks how the heck such things can be thrown on the table after a 30 min. meeting, I should note that I've known most of the Bosch Research Pittsburgh office for 2 years, they've been super supportive of me and come to every one of my prior research presentations, and when I was in California last summer, I was able to present to their Human-Machine Interface Group there. I have to say, presenting to a group of 12 researchers, in which half of them have PhD's in Natural Language Understanding, is pretty intimidating (That was my presentation this past summer in their Palo Alto office). But you get your best feedback from people who know more than you do!
Bosch totally rocks though -- nicest group of people I've met at any company ever!!!