BCSWomen Lovelace Colloquium, 4 April 2013

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Thursday saw fellow student Aga Banach and myself representing Edinburgh Napier University at this year’s Colloquium at Nottingham University.  I’ve spoken a lot about this event recently so I’ll keep the descriptions to a minimum, but the Aberystwyth University run event is a great opportunity for female computing students from across the UK to get together and meet industry professionals, academics and employers whilst mingling with their peers.  There is also a poster competition, with very generous prizes provided by the sponsors.

Aga and I were selected as finalists in the poster competition so the main sponsor, Google, very kindly paid for our travel expenses and accommodation.  Aga’s poster covered the digital matte painting process while I went for a poster detailing my journey through university:

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We arrived in Nottingham the day before and spent an enjoyable evening wandering around and taking in the sights.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper trip to Nottingham if this guy isn’t mentioned at some point:

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Aga and I then retired to our accommodation, which was surprisingly nice for student digs!  I spent the evening working on my pitch for my poster while drinking tea and watching Netflix, my new favourite thing ever.

The event kicked off at 10 am, before which those of us who stayed overnight got to know each other over breakfeast.  After the welcome speech and inital tech talks we broke for lunch, where afterwards we set up our stands and spoke about our posters to the judges and other attendees.  There was a prize for each year plus a People’s Choice award, so Aga and I got an opportunity to take a look at the competition and vote for our favourite.  The range of subjects covered was huge, with a lot of brilliant projects and ideas on show.

I got a lot of positive responses from my poster and spent the afternoon chatting about what it’s like to be the only female networking student in my year and the support I get from the groups I’m involved with.  I had an especially lovely chat with one of the Google student recruiters about the cloud and big data, discussing our love for Dropbox (who very generously gave me 50GB of space when I bought my Galaxy S3) and how to manage listening to Google Music with mobile data allowances.  I’m with 3 so no data caps for me, huzzah!

I was also approached by Ann Danylkiw, who was there to make a documentary about the Colloquium and the experiences of women in tech.  I agreed to take part and had a lovely time chatting with another student on camera about our experiences, which were surprisingly very different but made for good subject matter.

Afterwards we had some more technical talks and the prizegiving.  Unfortunately Aga and I didn’t win anything, although we were very pleased for those who did as several were from Scottish universities – well done, Scottish winners!  Aga and I did spot a couple of factual inaccuracies in one of the winning posters (not sour grapes, just good old pedantry – honest!), however the standards were generally excellent and I have some ideas to think about for next year’s poster.

I enjoyed myself thoroughly at the Lovelace Colloquium and will definitely be attending again next year.  I would like to once again thank the organisers, in particular the lovely Hannah Dee, who worked so hard to put on a great event.

Here’s to next year!

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