Thursday, October 4, 2012
From the previous session about Women of Underrepresented Groups, Erinn and I moved on to attend the Women of Color and Underrepresented Groups Lunch. Upon arrival, there were nice table settings for about 100 women. These tables were equipped with bread, butter, tea, water, and dessert. So for two girls that were definitely hungry, the ballroom in which they held the lunch looked beautiful. The first course was a caprese salad, which I had never had... Man oh Man was it delicious! The fresh mozzarella was great! As we ate there were speakers that spoke of their triumphs being women of color in Computer Science. The keynote speaker, Chieko Asakawa from IBM Japan, captivated me as I began to eat the next course of chicken marinara, asparagus, and gourmet sweet potato cubes. She came up to the podium and announced that she was indeed a woman of underrepresented group. She gave more background information about herself and revealed she was blind and had been since young. As a disabled Japanese woman, she is definitely part of two underrepresented groups. She began to explain that she began working on an application to assist blind people. She stated that they needed more sense of independence, therefore the application helps them arrive to destinations by way of an agent responding to the spoken queries. The application also made the pedestrian aware of stores and other places along the way. The application of course would talk to the pedestrian. The coolest part of the application was that the smart phone would have braille for the pedestrian to key information in. Her story and work inspired me greatly to complete my degree and attempt to make a difference in the process. This was a great Lunch with a great keynote, and I ultimately left with a great energy and will to do my best at the convention an beyond.