As we prepare for Grace Hopper this week, thought it would be fun to share a recent internal intern competition we pulled together to send one of our female interns to the sought-after celebration all expenses paid.

When I went to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC), for the first time when I was still in college, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted a career in software engineering – despite being a computer science major. I didn’t see too many models and examples in school for female engineers. But that trip to Grace Hopper, the world’s largest gathering for women technologists, totally changed my mind. The second time I went, it was as the one of the winners of a Salesforce competition we had for all of our women engineers to participate in. Since joining the company full-time last August following my internship, I’ve been really fortunate to help organize Salesforce’s first-ever competition for women interns to go to GHC. We had a great turnout, and the summer projects that the interns presented were really impressive.

This year we had around 30 women in our 12-week-long internship program and a third of them entered the competition. Projects for the competition ranged from Jenny Lo’s Test Drive, usability testing to help product managers and stakeholders identify issues with existing design; Vivian Wong’s, Karen Rudy’s and Rochelle Lobo’s Mobile Prospector, an S1 app allowing sales reps in the field to search for companies near them and download their contact information to Salesforce; Rebecca Greenberg’s widgets for Android and Android Wear, which created extensions of S1 on the home screen and interactive notifications; to a calendar view by Harsimrat Parmar that enables test-level comparisons of metrics against all test runs for a selected period. More than 10 people signed up for it and they did some really cool things, as you can tell. The competition was also a great opportunity to involve more interns in the Women in Technology group at Salesforce.

Each of the entrants had to prepare a five- to eight-minute presentation in front of our judges that demoed her summer project, experience as an intern, and why she wanted to go to GHC. Our judging criteria covered the quality of the project demo, its impact for Salesforce, the applicant’s technical, speaking and presentation skills, as well as her interest in GHC, among other considerations. We tallied up the scores (a total of 100 points was possible), and then had a discussion to decide the winner among the top three finalists.

Rebecca Greenberg took top honors, wowing the judges with her presentation showcasing a Salesforce1 home screen extension. She even went above and beyond this summer, creating interactive Salesforce1 notifications for an Android watch. We are thrilled that Rebecca will be sharing her projects and her intern experience at our GHC evening event in Phoenix. Joining her in Phoenix will be the next runner-up Katey Basye, whose project redesigned the Salesforce setup page to make it more modern and user-friendly. And I’ll be there also, along with those two and the rest of the Salesforce engineering contingent to help recruit more amazing interns and new college grads for us. Be sure to stop by booth 810 and say hello!

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