ACM Awards Banquet (Not in Europe)

Warning: This post is about computer related activities. There is no technical material, but you may not be interested. Just trying not to alienate my few non-nerdy friends.

October 2008 - Grace Hopper Conference:

It all began here. Well, actually, it all began with the research I did during the summer of 2007. But here is the beginning of this story. My advising professor urged me to enter the Student Research Competition sponsored by the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). The first round of the competition was judged through a collection of poster sessions and presentations held at various conferences throughout the academic year. You could think of these as regional competitions.

Each entrant created a poster to submit (here's mine [pptx download]). At the conference we stood vigilantly by our posters for two hours (while others enjoyed free delicious food) answering the questions of passersby. Additionally, three unidentified judges would visit each of us and discretely critique our performance and our poster.

Sarah Loos presenting poster for the ACM Student Research Competition at Grace Hopper Conference, 2008
Here I am discussing my research with someone I guessed to be a judge due to her interest level and devotion to understanding and reading the entirety of my poster.

I was a finalist in the poster session competition, which allowed me to move on to the next round. This required a PowerPoint presentation for an audience of several judges the next day. At the end of the conference I was quite exhausted, but was honored to take home third prize, which came with a very nice engraved plaque. It also meant that I was eligible to enter the grand finals for the competition.

April 2009 - At My Apartment:

The grand finals were to be judged "via the web." In other words, I needed to make a website of my research. Luckily I had been working on a paper with my advising professor, and so a lot of the work was already behind me. I brought everything I had together and created this website. At the end of May I was notified that I had been selected as one of the three winners of the competition. I was ecstatic to say the least.

June 2009 - ACM Awards Banquet:

The winners were all invited to the ACM Awards Banquet in San Diego. The Banquet is held each year to recognize professionals and academics who have made significant contributions to the field or to the organization. The most notable awardee was Barbara Liskov, the winner of the Turing award - the Nobel prize for computer science. It was a privilege to attend the ceremony and to meet so many of the giants in the field that I had previously only read about or heard give presentations. Meeting Telle Whitney was one such experience. She is the CEO of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology and a co-founder of the Grace Hopper Conference. I borrowed the following photo, taken at the Awards Banquet, from her blog: Tech Her.

Telle Whitney and Sarah Loos at ACM Awards Banquet in San Diego, 2009
If you're still with me after this long post, I'd just like to thank the huge number of volunteers who made the competition possible, along with the ACM and Microsoft Research for funding the whole thing. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats, Sarah! So many awards! You'll fit in at CMU ;)

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