Saturday, October 07, 2006

Conference blogging, day 2

Greetings from day 2 of the conference! It was a fabulous, yet exhausting, day today. The day started at 8-ish and we left the sponsor parties at 10-ish, and I never did get to sneak back to my room to nap at all. So again, I'll just give some highlights from the day, from my perspective.

* Sally Ride was today's keynote speaker. I've seen her speak before (and it was mainly the same talk again), but she is amazing. Truly amazing. She got a standing ovation, the only keynote speaker so far that's gotten that sort of reception. (and totally well-deserved, not just for her talk but for all she's done and continues to do for women in science.)

* I ended up skipping more sessions today than I intended because I got into long conversations that overlapped sessions. But hey, meeting people is the really important part of this conference, anyway.

* I did go to a very interesting talk this morning on what I can best describe as a unique service learning project going on at (where else?) Carnegie Mellon. In a nutshell, students consult on projects in developing countries. Very inspirational, and definitely something we as a field should do more of.

* I also saw a really interesting talk in one of the PhD forums on Alice---this student made some modifications to Alice to make it easier/more natural for middle school students to construct and create stories. The best news is that these modifications will be released in a few weeks, as an extension I think to the original software.

* It felt like faculty day! There was a faculty lunch, at which I met a ton of really cool people, and also a confidential advice session for junior faculty. It was so refreshing to network with other female faculty members, and I feel like I learned a lot from the people I talked to. I may have found a few mentors and a few junior faculty with whom to network remotely, so that's definitely a good thing too.

* The conference has just been so well done. (Well, except for the wireless access, which was flaky today.) There's been a lot of attention to detail, tonight's sponsor parties were very well done, and everything just seems to flow smoothly. It's been a great experience.

Tomorrow is the last day, and only a half-day. I will probably just go to the keynote (Helen Greiner, the founder of iRobot---cool!), and then relax for the rest of the morning. But never fear, I'll give my final report tomorrow.

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