Success at second annual Women in Tech conference
Students started organizing the second Women in Tech (a.k.a. WiT) Conference last spring, with preparations intensifying over the summer. During the evening prior to the event on September 22, 2018, the halls of 574 Boston Ave rivaled the halls of Halligan for activity as the student volunteers made everything ready for the all-day event. This year’s conference included a career fair with event sponsors, multiple speakers and workshops, and a closing keynote address.
The conference is the brainchild of Tufts Women in Computer Science (WiCS), an entirely student-run organization within the CS department. Last year the inaugural one-day conference was attended not just by Tufts students but by members of the community at large, including some high school teachers and their students. This year, attendance increased from about 100 to 250.
Attendees responded well to this year’s conference, which featured 20 speakers, 13 sponsorship companies, and 25 volunteers. Some noted that they loved meeting people like them, talking with representatives from different companies, and seeing so many women and non-binary folks in one room. Some of the high school students present took advantage of the option to pair with a college mentor for the day.
Event volunteer Alexandra Tsitsiringos said she was most impressed by the large turnout, the varied age groups in attendance, and the speech that WiT co-organizers Iris Oliver and Supriya Sanjay gave at the conference opening. But her eyes really lit up when she talked about the board where people wrote Post-Its about what inspired them in tech. She said it was really encouraging to read. One Post-It that particularly stuck with her proclaimed that being creative in the tech world means finding “the perfect mix of breaking the rules and adhering to them.”
All twelve sponsors—Niantic, Carbon Black, Bose, Wayfair, Amazon Robotics, Galatea & Associates, Pega, Systems & Technology Research, Covered Security, Charles River Analytics, CiBO Technologies, and Google—were particularly generous with their time as well as support, providing meals, t-shirts, and more. As the conference ended, the WiT volunteers paid that generosity forward, ferrying the delicious leftover food to a nearby women’s shelter.
See photographs of the event.