Grace Hopper Award Recipient Ruimin Sun

Ruimin Sun is currently pursuing her PhD under Dr. Daniela Oliveira at the University of Florida FICS Research Institute. Every year, women technologists and the best minds in computing convene to highlight the contributions of women to computing. co-presents GHC with the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM).  This year Ruimi Sun is a GHC Scholar.   Ruimi discusses her great achievement, and her enlightening experience at this year’s conference.

How will receiving this award will change the course of your academic career?

This award provided me the opportunity to attend the GHC conference in Orlando. During the conference, I had the chance to talk to many faculty members from different universities and research areas in computing. I was inspired by the way they examine challenging problems. They can always find a special angle, and propose a great idea using cutting-edge knowledge. I believe many students will have the question before graduating– a job in the industry or the academy? After the conference, I’m pretty sure I’ll seek a job in the academia after graduation.

What is the significance of receiving this award?

It boosts my confidence and self-recognition. At the conference, a GHC scholar will have a special sticker attached to the name badge. Everyone seeing the badge will say Oh, you’re a scholar. Congratulations! Also, UF FICS and ECE tweeted a picture of my advisor Daniela Oliveira and I at the GHC conference. It gave me more exposure and helped build relationships with more of my peers. Yesterday I ran into someone inside the FICS building and she called me by my name, saying that she saw my picture on Twitter… I also feel more responsible in helping to publicize the conference and ensure more people benefit from GHC.

How was your experience in attending this year’s conference?

It was amazing and unforgettable experience. There’re over 18,000 attendees, mostly female, of course. The conference offers dozens of sessions with hands on experience, advanced techniques and farsighted keynotes for various fields of study. No-matter where you are in your journey; student, entry level,seasoned or senior-level within your career path, you can find a session that fits your needs. In addition there was a big career fair with about 250 companies and 90 universities, and a huge interview booth right beside it. I personally participated in four interviews during the conference, I even heard people received internships/full-time job offers immediately after the conference events concluded. It is my highest recommendation that all female students attend GHC.

Which speaker inspired you the most?

Dr. Fei-fei Li, the Director of Stanford University’s AI Lab and Chief Scientist at Google Cloud AI/ML. Her great work in machine learning, deep learning and cognitive and computational neuroscience is inspiring.  She is a role model for me because it is motivating to witness her success as we are both from China as well as our research areas are similar,. Before her talk, I thought she had to be a genius to accomplish her great works. But during her talk, I came to realize her achievements today are a reward of her extraordinary passion, perseverance and hard work. Research does not come easy, but that’s also why it fascinating.

What is your most memorable moment about this year’s conference?

The most memorable moment was the first keynotes speakers entrance into the ballroom. I’ve never attended a conference with such excitement. I felt like I was attending a concert of a famous celebrity— music, light sticks, and cheers. Everyone was lining up to get seated. Also, the host and the speaker interacted a lot with the audiences. I believe everyone enjoyed it very much.

What do you believe is the importance of women in this field of study?

More participation from women will bring diverse thinking modes, and more diverse thinking modes will advance the development of the computing area. Early stages of computer science was pioneered by females, such as Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper, and Adele Goldberg. Without these women, we wouldn’t have the computers we use today. Women should be encouraged more to pursue computer science as a major.

If you could be any age for a week, what age would that be?

I would want to be 5 years old. People like to ask the question How do you see yourself in the next 5 years. I would answer I’m curious on that as well…

If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and where would you dine?

That would be BBQ in a mountain. I enjoy the mountain scenery, and I would try every BBQ recipe…