Carnegie Mellon University

CMU women attend the Grace Hopper celebration in 2017

Making Grace Hopper Proud

CMU women are changing society and the world with technology. Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, the trailblazing female computer scientist who invented a computer language compiler that led to the popular COBOL language, once said, “If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it.” Countless Carnegie Mellon women scientists, engineers and researchers have taken her advice to heart, including:

  • Sanna Gaspard (E 2011), founder of med-tech company Rubitection, which is advancing early-stage bedsore detection and management for improved patient care.
  • Corinne Clinch (E 2014), CEO and co-founder of water filtration startup Rorus Inc., whose modular cartridge uses nanotechnology to filter water landed her on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
  • Njema Frazier (S 1992), the first woman and first black scientist to head the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Defense Programs in its 40-year history.
  • Christa Quarles (DC 1995), CEO of OpenTable, the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, and an advocate for increased representation for women among Silicon Valley leaders.
  • Hahna Alexander (E 2012), CEO and co-founder of SolePower, a startup offering wearable tech that generates power and gathers data for the wearer.
  • Courtney Williamson (TPR 2012, 2016), founder of AbiliLife, a company that helps to improve daily living for those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease with a back brace designed specifically for their needs.
  • Brenna Argall (S 2002), who is working on the first autonomously operating wheelchair for people with severe disabilities at the Shirley Ryan Abilitylab
  • Lauren Valley (A 2017), who uses technology in her own work, as well as to highlight women artists of color in her Fifth Year Scholar project, “Electric Women.”
  • Sarah Laiwala (E 2008), director of digital experiences at the Walt Disney Company with responsibility for innovation, apps, websites and a budding virtual assistant platform for Parks & Resorts worldwide.
  • Molly Blank (E 2016), cofounder of CurvyQ and inventor of a device that can help reduce costs and eliminate unnecessary biopsies for women who find lumps in their breasts.
  • Marie Claire Murekatete (E 2014), winner of the 2017 Change Agent ABIE Award from the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing conference for her work created and expanded opportunities for girls and women in Africa in technology.
  • Messay Derebe (HNZ 2015), cofounder of goARTful, a Washington, D.C.-based subscription service that connects art lovers with work at prices they can afford.
  • Cheryl Platz (CS 2002), principal designer at Microsoft who recently launched Ideaplatz, a design education company through which she delivers groundbreaking design talks and workshops around the world.

CMU at the Grace Hopper Celebration

This month, thousands of female scientists, engineers, researchers and students will come together in on September 26-28 Houston, Texas, for the conference named in honor of Grace Hopper, the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, the world’s largest gathering of women technologists. Produced by in partnership with the Association for Computing Machinery, this conference envisions a future where those who imagine and build technology reflect the people and societies who will use it.

CMU’s Information Networking Institute, School of Computer Science, Software Engineering Institute, Heinz College, Integrated Innovation Institute and Entertainment Technology Center are all Grace Hopper conference sponsors. Many women from CMU will be attending and speaking at the conference, including conference keynote speaker Justine Cassell, associate dean of technology strategy and impact in the School of Computer Science, and Dena Haritos Tsamitis, director of the Innovation Networking Institute.