My Trip to the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing

Dhairya, AccessComputing Team Member

As a senior in college, it is crucial for me to prepare for the next phase of my life. I want to find a full time job as a software engineer at a reputable technical organization. Over the summer, I got an announcement from AccessComputing regarding the opportunity to go to Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. I had not heard of the conference before, and I was really happy to learn that there is a conference that celebrates ethnic diversity and people with disabilities and that helps a diverse group learn more about the field of computing.

I immediately applied for AccessComputing funding so I’d have a chance to go to this conference. Luckily, I was given that chance. I was looking forward to meet representatives from multiple companies and universities and learn about their work and network with them. Once I got to Atlanta, I was shocked by the actual number of people who attended the conference. From day one, I met fellow students who were in the same position as me. Many were also first time attendees – we were all highly excited to be a part this conference.

Most of my time in the conference was spent networking. I was able to network with students from various institutions and learn from their stories and experiences in the computing field. I went to the career fair and networked with multiple recruiters. I learned about companies and the innovative research they were conducting to help humanity. I attended panels, workshops, and sessions that gave me insights about artificial intelligence research, finance and technology, data analytics, and science. From 7:00 a.m. to roughly 10:00 p.m. I was constantly meeting new people and learning new and interesting information about computing.

Without the help of AccessComputing, I would not have been able to meet such a diverse group of people, network with endless number of recruiters, and enjoy four days of an amazing experience. I was also given a chance to interview with multiple companies both during and after the conference. None of this would be possible if I was not given a chance to attend this wonderful conference. I would sincerely like to thank AccessComputing for encouraging people with disabilities to branch out and be a part of a conference that brings people together and celebrates diversity on a grand scale.