On November 1st, 23 Queen’s students boarded the CAN-CWIC express bus from Queen’s University to the Halifax Convention Center to attend the Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing conference. This event is special for the Queen’s School of Computing since the conference was founded by Professor Wendy Powley and the members of the “Women in the School of Computing” group in 2010. At that time, the conference was the “Ontario Celebration of Women in Computing” catering to the needs of the province of Ontario. Three years ago, due the increasing popularity of the conference, it grew to a nation-wide conference which is now attended by students from across Canada. Wendy Powley continues to oversee the organization of the conference as head of the CAN-CWIC Steering Committee.
The conference began on Friday November 2nd with a poster session, keynote and banquet. On Saturday attendees were treated to keynote speakers, panels and workshops on topics such as creating inclusive environments, what to expect as a new grad entering the workforce, tips on starting a student group for women, and technical sessions such as building your own FAQ bot and Natural Language Processing in Finance applications. Three parallel tracks provided plenty of choice for everyone.
What was wonderful to see this year were the number of past students who were involved in the conference from a presenting/sponsorship perspective, now giving back to the students who were in attendance.
There were approximately 450 attendees at CAN-CWIC 2018 with 30 different institutions represented from across Canada. Queen’s had the 4th highest number of attendees among the schools. Many thanks to the School of Computing for sponsoring the bus to transport the Queen’s cohort!