Starting in 2007, Carnegie Mellon's Women@SCS group has hosted the OurCS conference as a way to expose undergraduate women to the breadth of computer science research opportunities available to them. I began as an attendee in 2007 and helped organize the conference in 2011, culminating as a co-organizer of the poster session at the 2013 OurCS conference.
From the beginning of my computer science career as a high schooler learning QBASIC to today, I have always had an interest in not just being a computer scientist, but supporting other young women in their quests to achieve their goals in computer science. The Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science conference is a great occasion to do just that! The attendees are split into teams who are advised by a faculty mentor who leads them through the basic skills necessary to answer appopriately scoped research questions. Hands-on research is a fantastic way to introduce and establish self-esteem for doing computer science research. As a co-organizer I help make these opportunities go smoothly, whether it be to collect and judge poster submissions or introduce panelists and speakers. Months of planning and meetings go into the OurCS event each time, and it is incredibly rewarding to see our attendees learning and enjoying themselves simultaneously.
OurCS Conference 2013 (October 18-20): Part 1. Photos from the 2013 OurCS conference.
Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Computer Science (OurCS). A write-up of the 2007 OurCS conference and the announcement of the 2011 conference.