CS Major Annoyed She Left Women’s Day Conference with No Swag, Just Renewed Sense of Purpose

This article was sponsored by the Smart is Strong Foundation and their International Women’s Day Conference, featuring a powerful and passionate speaker series of women inspiring change in their communities. The theme this year, #BeTheChangeSiS, is built upon igniting positive change by raising awareness of important issues and offering next steps to address them. The event is this Sunday, March 8, from 2-4pm in Klarman KG70—there will be free food! More details available here. 

KLARMAN HALL—Following a day of empowering female speakers and joyful celebration of women in STEM, Christina Jefferson ’22 emerged more confident in her ability to overcome systemic hurdles but frustratingly empty-handed with respect to pens, notebooks, and stickers.

“I really expected that they would be giving out some dope swag, like a fidget spinner or novelty stress toy. Even a phone wallet pocket with the Venus symbol on it would have made the rousing, passionate speakers better,” Jefferson bemoaned.  The programming, which deeply and personally moved Jefferson to work towards lofty goals in the male-dominated tech industry, nevertheless failed to provide any sort of disposable tchotchkes for students to clutter their desks with.

“I got really excited when the keynote speaker, Elena Gupta ‘19, said she was going to leave us with something. I thought for sure it was about to be an Oprah ‘check-under-your-seats’ situation. But then it was just ‘a few parting words’ about the power we as women wield to affect change. I can’t stuff my Cornell ID inside words.”

“Majoring in a STEM field really erodes my confidence, and I worry that I’m not as qualified or talented as my male peers. It would have made me feel so good to get some great knick-knacks that the boys don’t have, but I suppose this life-changing motivation will have to do. I do know what I’m talking about, and my contributions matter!” Given all of this, Jefferson rated the conference as “solid,” despite the lack of free keychains and lanyards.

Jefferson suggested that the “Smart is Strong” organizers could learn a lot from tables at the career fair. “Sure, a recruiter asked me if I was just in the Engineering school to get my ‘M-R-S’ degree, but at least I got a bobblehead of the company’s CEO, who is currently in litigation over three distinct allegations of sexual harassment.”

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