Some post travel reflections.

On deciding whether or not to go

I wondered if traveling alone was the right choice. Though some people I spoke with and articles I read were supportive about solo travel, there were many that were not. The night before I left, I considered how much money I would lose if I chose not to go.

On planning my itinerary

I booked housing and transportation between cities prior to leaving. For me, having this figured out was worth the sacrifice of sticking to a plan and not having the freedom to make certain choices spontaneously. …

Over the last two years, I helped transform WICS (Women in Information and Computer Science) from a dormant club to an active community at the University of Arizona. It’s been a great learning experience for me, the following are some of my thoughts on the journey.

Towards the end of my first semester of university, I came across this TED talk by Sheryl Sandberg. As I laid on my bed with my bright pink sheets, leaning on my picture covered dorm room wall, I watched the talk multiple times. It was a really strange experience, this woman was sharing these anecdotes of situations that I had experienced. They didn’t remind me of things that had happened, these were scenarios from my life. What was most interesting to me was that she was talking about these situations in a way that I had never really considered.

Overtime, Sheryl Sandberg became an important role model in my life, and I found that she spoke at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. I applied to several scholarships for the event so I could meet her. Though she did not attend that year, Grace Hopper was an incredible experience and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have attended a later one. From that experience and others, my network grew and I learned that most other universities have a thriving community of women in technology. I also learned that at the University of Arizona, the Women in Computer Science (WiCS) club met once a semester if at all, often virtually.

A conference focusing on different aspects of the retail industry.

This month, I had to chance to attend the Student Program, a conference held by the National Retail Foundation prior to their annually held Big Show, an event for professionals in the retail industry.

This was my first time attending a conference which was not primarily geared towards my academic demographic (technology and entrepreneurship). There were about 1500 students in attendance, approximately 300 of which had technology or supply chain focused areas of study.

Prior to the conference, there was an intimate technology track. This series included two keynote speeches, as well as five rotations with sponsoring companies. One session I liked was held by PVH (the parent brand for Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and more), in which they hosted a hands on simulation where we went through the process of brainstorming ideas on how to deal with the problem of long lines on Black Friday. The problem statement was intentionally vague, and after the group produced a myriad of ideas, we worked together to organize them by value and difficulty. Furthermore, we had the additional incentive that one of our ideas would be implemented by next year’s Black Friday. It was a fun activity, and the academic diversity in the room (management information systems, computer science, software engineering, information science, and more) allowed multiple perspectives to contribute to the solutions we came up with. …

  1. The people I choose to spend my time with will impact me in a positive or negative way. The things my friends and acquaintances say and the opinions they offer will make me feel some kind of way. It’s up to me to make decisions to ensure that I surround myself with those who bring out the best version of myself.
  2. It’s important to strive to be better and to work harder, but also to prioritize being kinder to myself. The goal is to work towards improvement, not immediate perfection. Being a perfectionist has been extremely detrimental to me in the past and it internally justifies my procrastination. …

A conference presented by CMD-IT intended to celebrate diversity (including, and not limited to, race, gender, LGBTQA+, ability) in computing.

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing, thanks to the generous support of the National Science Foundation. The focus and prioritization of diversity through this event and the intimacy it offered (capped at 1400 attendees) made it a truly unique learning experience.

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At the risk of being repetitive, I want to emphasize that the conference committee clearly made remarkable inclusivity efforts. Tapia celebrated diversity of all kinds, a diverse group of diversities if you will. The conference was also not limited to individuals with a computer science background. Students of many other majors, a variety of which were not directly related to technology, attended and participated in the sessions, panels, and workshops. …

Money management can be a daunting and stressful topic. It can be difficult to discuss households and challenging to squeeze into school curriculum. These circumstances deter individuals from prioritizing their financial well-being from a young age, and we must take a stance to rectify this issue.

In my second year of college, I started working for an organization under Take Charge America, called Take Charge Cats. The last two years I have grown significantly in my role as a personal finance educator. My role consists of going to classrooms and institutions through Tucson, Arizona, to teach workshops on specific topics under personal finance. Workshops are free of cost, with topics ranging from making a budget, to managing credit, to preventing identity theft. My experience working as a Take Charge Cat has significantly transformed my view on education and personal finance awareness.

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Only five states require any sort of financial literacy to be incorporated in schools. Subsequently, a large portion of schools in the United Stated do not teach financial literacy to their students, and those who do often lack the motivation to accommodate a thorough curriculum. The reality is that, in many cases, a source of income is not enough to drive financial stability. Saving, investing, and creating a personalized budget are all imperative factors that can ultimately determine financial success for a large percentage of Americans. We as a society needs to work harder to cultivate a generation of students who are educated on topics regarding personal finance before they enter adulthood.

A relatively intimate conference focused on insights shared by successful women.

This past week, I had the chance to attend the Catalyst Conference, hosted by Girls in Technology in San Francisco, California. This event was different from other women in technology events I have attended, and I hope to highlight some of my key takeaways and experiences through the conference, as well as how it compares to others of its kind.

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Before I decided to apply for a conference scholarship, I did some research regarding the event. The website describes it as a conference in which presenters would share “incredible, raw, gritty, and authentic” speeches. …

My expectations for and takeaways from the conference.

This past October, I had the opportunity to attend Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. I am so grateful to the Anita Borg Institute for sponsoring my attendance at this amazing event. This year, Grace Hopper took place in downtown Houston, Texas.

Before the conference, I spent time researching what I could expect from the conference. Taking into account recommendations by previous attendees and by the hosts of the conference itself, I created a list of goals for myself, for the event. …

As I turn twenty this month, I’m going to take a moment (I’ll keep it short & sweet) to reflect on a few important milestones I’ve reached, steps I’ve taken, and my hopes and goals for the next chapter.

I moved to a different state. I never saw myself anywhere in Arizona at any point in my life. It’s crazy that today I cannot imagine my life without a place like Tucson to call my second home. Though it was not the most apparent choice for me at the time, I am grateful that certain decisions and circumstances led me to attend the University of Arizona and to spend years of my life in a city, in a world, that I honestly did not know existed. …

Shreya Batra

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