This year, I have sometimes felt as though I am not listened to, or taken seriously, during department meetings and other related meetings. It is a frustrating experience, to say the least. Oddly, I don't think it's completely intentional---I think a lot of it is just the same old stupid phenomenon of women's voices just aren't heard in meetings, in general. But it happens, and it stinks when it does.
In our most recent meeting, though, I found that I had the rapt attention of everyone else in the room. For once, everyone stopped and actually listened to what I was saying, without interrupting. For once, everyone took what I said seriously and treated it as important.
The topic? Mentoring and recruiting of students. Particularly women students. Apparently I have become the resident expert on such matters. (Maybe this is finally an acknowledgement that all those "crazy" ideas I have for getting students to seriously consider taking our classes and majoring in our discipline seem to be working, as evidenced by the number of students who go on from my classes to take other classes and eventually become majors? Which I've known for a while, but which everyone else seems to be in a bit of denial about. Or taking credit for themselves.)
I find this really interesting. I have worked hard to be an effective mentor to all of my students, but particularly to those students who don't exactly fit the mold of the "typical" computer nerd. I work hard at convincing students to take the next CS course, to think seriously about CS as a major. And most importantly, I work very hard at making it all personal, particularly when recruiting students into any of our courses. This is all somewhat of a no-brainer to me: treat others as you wish to be treated, etc. And it works. But apparently it's not as much of a no-brainer to others as I would have thought. And that's good, because apparently that makes me look like a genius. And when all is said and done, it's nice to be recognized for something that I do that is so important to me.