This article is published in the May 2013 issue.

2013 CRA-W Graduate Cohort Workshop

gh1Boston offered up a sunny and brisk 52 degrees on April 4th as 338 participants, speakers, and staff began to arrive at the Seaport Hotel near the Boston Harbor.  The hotel was the site of the 2013 CRA-W Graduate Cohort Workshop on April 5-6, 2013.

Grad Cohort is a workshop designed for women who are in their first, second, or third year of graduate school and studying computer science, computer engineering, or a closely related field.  The workshop includes plenary sessions as well as three separate tracks for first, second, and third year participants.  Plenary sessions included Strategies for Human-Human Interaction, Building Your Professional Persona, and Balancing Grad School and Personal Life.

First year sessions included topics such as Networking, Master’s vs. PhD, Finding and Training Your Advisor, Financially Supporting Your Graduate Education, and Summer Internships.  Topics offered to second year participants included Presentation and Other Verbal Communication Skills, Finding a Research Topic, MS Career Opportunities and Job Search, Building Self-Confidence, and Interdisciplinary Research.  Third year sessions addressed Preparing Your Thesis Proposal and Becoming a PhD Candidate, Publishing Your Research, PhD Academic Career Paths, PhD Non-Academic Career Paths: Industrial Research and Development, and PhD Job Search.

Eighty-three participants signed up to present their research at the poster session held Friday afternoon.  The poster session is always inspiring as it provides students the opportunity to present their research and receive feedback from other participants, speakers, sponsors, and local university faculty who also attend.

The Friday evening reception was once again a popular part of the workshop as students, speakers, and sponsors were able to socialize in a fun and energetic atmosphere.  The reception, graciously co-hosted by Microsoft Research and Google, began at 6:30 and included plenty of food and dancing.  Don’t blame it on the sunshine, don’t blame it on the moonlight, don’t blame it on the good times, blame it on the boogey…

This year’s Grad Cohort was the largest to date with 302 graduate students representing 118 institutions across the United States and Canada.  We would like to thank the following sponsors for the investment they made in the lives of participants and speakers alike: Microsoft Research, Association for Computing Machinery – SIG Special Project Fund, Computing Research Association, Google, Yahoo!, IBM, a private foundation, and many university departments.

It takes a great deal of work to organize a workshop of this size and I’d like to personally thank the Grad Cohort co-chairs: Lori Clarke (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Sandhya Dwarkadas (University of Rochester), and Lori Pollock (University of Delaware).  CRA staff members Sabrina Jacob and Sandra Corbett are also to be congratulated on a job well done.