7 UC Santa Cruz Students get stoked on computing

Date: 
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Supported by scholarships from the Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation, seven computer science and engineering students -- five of whom were “Baskin Scholars” -- were among approximately 15,000 who attended the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing.

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing

The event, which has been running for more than 20 years, has grown dramatically in the last 5-10 years, as campuses across the nation have begun to realize the impact it can have on students. Through technical and professional development workshops, keynote talks, social events, a career fair “expo” and more, the Grace Hopper Celebration shows female -- and other underrepresented -- students that they aren’t alone, that there is a place for them in the computing sciences.

Asked to pick a favorite workshop, keynote, or other session, most students had a tough time naming just one. Remeal Holloway liked the Artificial Intelligence workshop and the keynote by IBM’s CEO. Vanessa Weber liked the “Communicating for Influence and Impact” workshop and the “Latinas in Computing” reception. Yvonne Gonzales enjoyed talking with computer and engineering professionals at the Expo. Susan Cain’s talk on introverts was also a hit, as were the specific women of color events. Sage Somers, Computer Engineering major, found the tech nodes interesting and said that “it was cool seeing so many women in computer related fields.”

“The Grace Hopper Convention has motivated me greatly to continue pursuing an engineering major. I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to attend,” said UC Santa Cruz attendee and Computer Science major Remeal Holloway.

The Baskin Scholars Program

The Baskin Scholars program was established in 2015 with funding from the Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation. The program is an integrated scholarship and mentoring program, whose goal it is to increase the number of financially disadvantaged students, particularly women, who complete undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering at the Baskin School of Engineering.

“When I first came to UCSC, I was not so sure if I wanted to pursue engineering and being a Baskin Scholar has given me the extra push to look and see what engineering is about,” said Angela Rodriguez, an undergraduate student who plans to declare her Computer Engineering major this quarter.

When asked about how being a Baskin Scholar has benefited her motivation to pursue a computer science degree at UC Santa Cruz, Yvonne Gonzales responded that “it's shown me that there are people encouraging me and hoping for my success.” 

Baskin Scholars unanimously agree that the scholarship helps alleviate their debts so that they can focus on school rather than on how they are going to pay for it.

“Peggy and Jack Baskin have been wonderfully supportive of our efforts to increase the number of women who obtain degrees related to computer science,” says Charlie McDowell, professor of Computer Science at the Baskin School of Engineering. “The Baskin Scholars program is one of many ways in which they have supported our efforts. They also support the very successful Girls in Engineering program.” 

About Peggy and Jack Baskin
Peggy Baskin has long been a champion of women of all ages -- in politics, in science, in education, and most certainly in college. She was a senior lecturer at UC Santa Cruz, teaching Women and Politics and Women in Power.

Jack Baskin is a retired engineer, real estate broker and developer, a former trustee and former president of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation.  A well-known local philanthropist, Jack has been involved with the campus for more than 30 years. 

About the Baskin School of Engineering
The Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz offers unique opportunities for education, research and training. With a combination of expertise, innovation and a sense of adventure, faculty and students at the Baskin School of Engineering seek new approaches to some of the most critical challenges of the 21st century, thriving within the domains of data science, genomics, bioinformatics, biotechnology, statistical modeling, high performance computing, sustainability engineering, human-centered design, communications, optoelectronics and photonics, networking and technology management. By leveraging the novel tools that often emerge from changing technologies, we have pioneered new engineering approaches and disciplines, examples of which include biomolecular engineering, computational media, and technology and information management.