Grace Hopper

Hopefully, everyone had a great Thanksgiving break at Cofc! Before we went on break, we WIC had a candid discussion about the Grace Hopper Conference experience, which celebrates the presence of women in computing and technology. As the worlds largest technical conference for women in computing, thousands of attendees poured into Texas in order to learn about more opportunities for women in computing. The Grace Hopper Conference receives support from various sponsors that set up their own booths and are willing to speak with novices, who are seeking internships or career advice, as well as seasoned professionals. Some of these sponsors include Apple, Google, Microsoft, The Walt Disney Company, Khan Academy, and Girls Who Code. Students can apply for the GHC scholarship to get the chance to attend the conference. However, graduates can also use the ABI-Heinz College Partnership available on the Grace Hopper website in order to apply for scholarship money for tuition at Heinz College. It is highly encouraged that you apply for the scholarship and attend this mind-opening conference.


If you have ever had dreams of being an entrepreneur or creating something in a collaborative setting, then you should check out Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Technology, or ICAT! Dr. Starr came into WIC to speak about ICAT and the opportunities that it affords to students, which includes becoming a member of a development team, possibly founding an international tech company, or becoming employed by one. Students have the opportunity to meet mentors from local companies as they grow through their ideas and business plans, as well as travel to meet with experts in the field. The ICAT programs that afford these opportunities include the ICAT Accelerator (fall and spring semesters), ICAT Genius Hour, ICAT Global Estonia, and ICAT Academy San Francisco. For more information about the ICAT programs, visit their page or contact Dr. Starr!


This week, Lee-Anne Scalley from One-in-a-Mil came to Women in Computing and had an informal chat about the challenges and exhilaration of becoming an entrepreneur. While working in Corporate America, she always had a desire to do more and create something of her own. She decided to take a leap and started One-in-a-Mil to help build culture-driven organizations. Scalley’s philosophy is to hire based on “culture first, aptitude second, and resume third.”

Scalley has definitely made it over quite a few hurdles in starting her company with only $35,000. However, Scalley’s entrepreneurial mindset kept her driven. She noted that creativity, independence, and the constant need for change were great reasons to pursue an entrepreneurial pathway. Scalley also advised club members to be creative, plan, act on those plans, seek a mentor/board of directors, and look for shadowing opportunities . Most importantly, she wanted everyone to remember to trust themselves to execute those tasks. For information about Lee-Anne Scalley and One-in-a-Mil, visit their website.

Sylleste Davis

We welcomed Sylleste Davis as our first speaker of the year!

  • She is now retired, but had worked at Santee Cooper previously
  • Alum of C of C from 1983
  • Her interest in Computer Science
    • Liked analytical things
    • Grace Hopper was one of her Heros as one of the first women in computing
    • Majored in Math, took some computer science classes – in COBOL
  • She liked computer science, but not the classes
    • In class she felt like the things they were doing didn’t really matter
    • Her senior year, Santee Cooper came on campus and she started working there
    • Was worried that she wouldn’t like her job because she didn’t like the classes
    • Liked it though and was happy because she felt like what she was doing mattered
  • Later, she went back to school and earned her masters
  • Was in IT from the 1980s through 2000
  • Wanted to know about what was happening in the future
    • History is important to see how the things in the past lead to what we will have in the future
    • Was able to see the first business email systems, some of the first security issues, the integration of voice and data
  • Liked computer science because it was like a big puzzle
  • Lessons learned
    • IT is interesting
    • Constantly Changing
    • Always better/different way
    • Meaningful
    • Lucrative
  • Her thoughts on how to increase the number of women in tech
    • Start exposure to computer science in middle schools
    • Do a better job integrating CS into high school curriculum
    • Make AP Computer Science more widely available
    • Make available more scholarships and internships
    • Stop “dumbing down” and perpetuating the stereotypes – this is just not necessary
    • Don’t let someone else define who you are – go with your gifts, your intuition, and be courageous
    • Don’t let tedium get in the way of doing something meaningful
    • Don’t pay attention to what those around you are doing or how they look – stay your course and remain confident in your abilities
    • The future of IT is exciting!  Be in the middle of it!

First Meeting of the Year

Yesterday we had our first meeting of the year which went very well!  We wanted to welcome in all of our new members so we did some introductions and ice breakers.

Afterwards, we wanted to put a focus on all of the different ways students can become involved in the department and advance their careers as undergraduates.  We spoke about internships, research, becoming a student ambassador or TA, and more.  Additionally, our returning members shared what they each did over the summer!

We brainstormed some potential events for the semester such as a bowling meet and greet and a few fundraising activities.  We hope to also continue to participate in outreach projects in the area.

Overall, it was a great first meeting!

STEAM Night at Joseph R. Pye Elementary

We attended the Joseph R. Pye Elementary STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) night on March 24th and had a great time interacting with the kids there!  Our table had information for parents to find out more about our club and the Wonderworks robots, Dash and Dot.  The kids had a lot of fun learning some of the basics about how to use the robots and we showed them how to use the three apps that are used to control the robots.  Lily and I were both surprised and overjoyed to find out that many of the students had already done some of the activities with Scratch.  They loved seeing a similar user interface in the coding app for the robots.  It was amazing to see the joy on their faces as they used the apps to make the robots move around and make noises.  I think some of the parents will definitely think about purchasing these robots for their kids as they asked us for more information about them!  There were lots of familiar tech companies that also had tables at this event such as Dynepic, Boeing, and The Iron Yard.


Fundraiser and Robots

Today we had a very successful fundraiser and had about $100 in profit!  We sold adult grilled cheese sandwiches (cheddar, gouda, prosciutto, and apples) for $5 with the prosciutto and $4 without.  We also had brownies for sale, baked by our treasurer, Katie Vaughan, and they were delicious!  The event was a hit among both students and faculty so we are hoping to do something similar soon.


We also played with the Wonderworks robots a bit, which was definitely entertaining for our club members!  In the future we plan to explore the API and apps further so that we can bring them into local schools and teach kids some coding skills!

Tomorrow we will be picking up our new banner, which we are excited to see and use at events.  We will also be helping out with the Lady Cougars STEM Day in the arena at the College of Charleston tomorrow.