An Insider’s Look Into The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

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What to expect at GHC and how to take advantage of job opportunities.By Chelsea Bedel, Marlowe Valdeabella, and Rebecca Dockery (MasterCard) women2-sponsored-blog-postFemale technologists around the country are getting ready to pack their bags for Houston, Texas. On October 14-16, the largest gathering of women technologists will take place at The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. Named in honor of early female programmer “Amazing Grace,” GHC brings bring together women in computing to discuss research and career interests. Are you going? Do you have a game plan? There’s plenty of time to plan out how you’ll make the most out of the conference. We spoke to data analyst Chelsea Bedel who was a three-time attendee as a computer science student and will now be returning to represent MasterCard at booth #600, where she works as a data analyst. She shares with us her story and her advice to job-hunting students attending the conference.

Meet Grace Hopper Scholar and MasterCard Data Analyst Chelsea Bedel

Chelsea BedelChelsea Bedel is an analyst in MasterCard’s Data Warehouse. She represented MasterCard at the 2015 St. Louis Business Journal Women’s Confidence Conference and regularly attends  the St. Louis Women 2.0 City Meetups. Chelsea graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Informatics and a minor in Business. To learn more about MasterCard and the technology opportunities available, stop by and meet the MasterCard team at Booth #600. Women 2.0: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What drew you to tech? And tell us a little bit about what you do now at MasterCard. Chelsea Bedel: My high school offered a handful of computer programming classes that sparked my interest and curiosity.  Attending the IU School of Informatics at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) was one of the best decisions I ever made. It helped me build my skills and prepare my future. The school offered a number of scholarships yearly to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing — and I was fortunate enough to secure one in each of my final three years of school. Attending the conference junior year lead to a summer internship at MasterCard. That resulted in a full time position after graduation, so in many ways I wouldn’t be where I am today without Grace Hopper. I recently celebrated my 1-year anniversary at MasterCard as a data analyst, focusing on data quality and analysis. W2: Why did you decide to apply for the Grace Hopper Scholarship Grant? Chelsea: I saw it as a great opportunity to meet other women interested and working in technology.  Being around these like-minded individuals was very motivating! W2: Once you got there, what did you find most surprising about GHC? Chelsea: The enthusiasm and excitement! The conference environment is awesome, and it was great to be with hundreds of women with similar interests, especially when most of my undergrad classes only had two or three. W2: Was there anything you wish you would have known before you went? Chelsea: I didn't know what to expect. I did a little bit of research on GHC, checked out the schedules, and then just kind of went with it. I learned things along the way – like the importance of bringing business cards. W2: What were some of the highlights of your first experience? When you returned to GHC, did you have a different approach than the first time you went? Chelsea: Each experience was different. I first attended the event as a sophomore, and I wasn't sure what to expect. My resume was in process, my education was just beginning in earnest, so I was checking out the sessions and taking it all in. My junior year, I went with a purpose: to find a summer internship. I networked and reached out to all the big tech companies, and really clicked with the MasterCard team. After two interviews and an offer, I accepted an internship with MasterCard for the following summer. During my time at the conference, I was invited to attend special events and meet and greet sessions with several companies. After my final trip to Grace Hopper my senior year, I received a call from MasterCard to come back and join the team full-time after graduation.

Getting the Most out of Grace Hopper

W2: What’s your advice for students and recent graduates attending GHC for the first time?

To prepare before you go

Chelsea: Make sure you have an up-to-date resume that showcases your abilities and skills. Recruiters meet a lot of people, and your resume needs to dazzle. Share your resume on the GH resume database! When I did this my senior year, I had  interviews set up before I even arrived at the conference. Also, create a LinkedIn profile!

To get the most out of the experience while you’re there

Chelsea: Make sure to network and meet as many people as possible: students, employers, everyone. Take their business cards and email addresses, and don't lose them!  And, be sure to reach out and thank them for the opportunity to talk. It’s a great way to start a dialogue. Also, have a strategy for the companies you want to talk with at the career fair.  

To do after the conference on returning to real life

Chelsea: Follow up with the people you met and connect with them on LinkedIn. Apply to any internship or job online that catches your eye. W2: Anything else you’d like to add? Chelsea: Have fun and enjoy!! I hear Sheryl Sandberg is speaking again, she was great last time, so I’m really looking forward to it!

Meet MasterCard at Grace Hopper

Marlowe Valdeabella is the Business Leader at MasterCard. Rebecca Dockery is the Program Manager for Global Talent Acquisition at MasterCard. Women 2.0: How does MasterCard’s presence at GHC align with your talent acquisition efforts? Why is this the right place for you to be? Rebecca: Grace Hopper is the best source of collegiate-level technologists in the world. At Grace Hopper, MasterCard can demonstrate what we do each day to attendees — driving innovations in payment technologies and developing resources for financial inclusion globally. W2: Where can GHC attendees meet you? Marlowe: Booth #600. Chelsea, along with more than a dozen other MasterCard employees can answer questions and share why MasterCard is a great place for technologists. At our booth,  attendees can record a 30-second elevator pitch about themselves to supplement their resume submission to us to be considered for job opportunities. W2: What events do you have planned? Rebecca: We invite attendees to our event at the St. Arnold Brewery on Tuesday, October 13 from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.    W2: Now it’s your turn to give an elevator pitch. Why might a new computer science grad want to come work for MasterCard? Marlowe: MasterCard provides a wide range of job options for technologists: Software Engineering, Testing, Web Development, App Development, Open API, Information Security, and Database Administration. In addition, MasterCard offers a robust, two-year professional development program designed to provide recent graduates with a well-rounded professional profile and a strong path for long-term career development. W2: Where can interested candidates go online to learn more about MasterCard technology and your company culture? Rebecca: There are many ways to learn more about MasterCard and our open positions. Visit MasterCard’s Career Page, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or visit us on LinkedIn and YouTube. Photo via Flickr by the Anita Borg Institute.


About MasterCardMasterCard is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.