Sandra Dylus

Thanks to a scholarship from ACM-W, I had the chance to visit the International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP) in Gothenburg. I am currently writing my master’s thesis in the area of functional programming and plan to continue my academic education as a PhD student afterwards, thus, it was really exciting to attend the most popular conference in that area. The conference was held for three whole days and I attended all sessions; all in all, it was a lot to process, but I got a good insight into current research topics. Additionally, I’ve met a lot of nice people that are interested in functional programming as well, and, hopefully, I will meet up with some of them at other conferences.
In addition to people of my own level, I had the chance to meet two important women in Computer Science. The local organisers (especially, Ramona Enache from the University of Chalmers – thanks again for your efforts) arranged two meetings for me: one lunch with Kathleen Fisher, a professor at the Computer Science Department at Tufts, who also gave the opening keynote of the conference; the second lunch was with Zena Ariola, a professor at the University of Oregon. Both of them were really friendly and open about their background and academic career. It was very refreshing to here a woman’s opinion on topics in the life of a PhD student. As a bonus, Zena Ariola introduced me to other important people of the community: Matthias Felleisen, Philip Wadler and Patricia Johann.

In addition to the three conference days of the ICFP, I decided to attend one affiliated event named CUFP, which took place at Saturday, the last day of events around the conference. CUFP is the event for “Commercial Users of Functional Programming” and the third day of the event consisted of talks of people from the industry. It was nice to see both in one week: the usage as well as the associated people of functional programming in academia and industry.

All in all, I had a great experience attending the ICFP and the talks at CUFP; everybody I talked to was very friendly and encouraging. I am looking forward to continue as a PhD student next year and meet like-minded people at other conferences, since I feel already very welcome in the community.