Shalini Bhakta is furthering her passion for information and computer sciences – from one Orange County to another. The third-year UCI informatics major flew to Orlando, Florida, in September for the Grace Hopper Celebration, a conference and job fair for women in the computing industry.
Born and raised in Southern California, Bhakta didn’t consider ICS as a career path while growing up – preferring to read and draw. However, she took some computer science classes in high school and entered UCI with a willingness to explore the field. Bhakta joined the Society of Women Engineers at UCI and Women in Information and Computer Sciences; she’s marketing chair for the latter. Bhakta says WICS has provided her with a supportive community and notes that the members often go to events together – like the Grace Hopper Celebration, which she attended with more than 20 Anteaters from WICS.
Earlier this year, Bhakta applied for and won the ICS Diversity Conference Scholarship, sponsored by UCI’s Stacey Nicholas Office of Outreach, Access and Inclusion. The award, which covered GHC travel, lodging and admission costs, allowed her to speak with recruiters and connect with professionals in the computing industry. One of Bhakta’s standout memories from the event is attending a panel on Disney animation.
“It was so refreshing getting to hear from two women software engineers and about their work, the tools they use and build, and more,” she wrote in a blog post.
Calling GHC an “incredibly rewarding experience,” Bhakta says she also learned about new technology and various career niches to explore.
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