NAWiC Events At GHC 2016

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By Andrea Delgado-Olson

              We are so excited for another Grace Hopper Celebration! NAWiC has had a phenomenal year and we can’t wait to share it all with you today. Last week, a NAWiC member shared a blog with the GHC Bloggers about her perspective on diversity vs. candidacy in a tech company, and this topic may hit close to home with any woman of color in any industry. Our community was glad that she shared her experience and desire to work on increasing NAWiC membership to provide support for other indigenous women.

Now I would like to share with you another accomplishment! As indigenous languages grow closer to extinction, I am proud to say that part of the Miwok language will survive. Through the Systers Community, I was able to connect with Katherine Kuan, from Google, and her team at Udacity. We all collaborated on a recent course that was released in June,  The Android Basics Multiscreen App. This course’s content is in the Miwok language, my native language. There are four categories that provide English word translated to Miwok, with an audio clip that plays when you click the button. There are roughly forty words for this course. I hope some of you will check it out! Here is the Introduction to the course.

During the conference you can reach out to us at our Community Booth hours on Wednesday, October 19th  and Friday, October 21st, we will have two hour time slots on each day. We will be asking for donations for t-shirts, $5 and $10, which will go toward a scholarship fund for indigenous women to attend Grace Hopper next year. Here is a link to the Communities Booth Schedule during the conference http://bit.ly/ghc16-community-booths.

On Thursday, October 20th at 2:30 pm, I will be moderating a panel on How Women Learn Computing Through Nontraditional Curriculum and Community in room GRB 371 A-C. It will be an interesting discussion about curriculum and support for each learning atmosphere. Here are the bios for the panelists:

andrea_bio

jessica_biomaxwell_bioshanna_bio

Can’t wait to see you all (y’all) in Houston!

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A NAWiC Perspective On Diversity vs. Candidacy in Tech

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by Amanda Sharp

The hot topic of the moment in high-tech is employee diversity. Several well-known high-tech companies have made public commitments to increase the diverse population within their organizations. Over the past few years, I’ve learned that a number of my coworkers have strong opinions about these initiatives. Break room conversations include statements such as “Why aren’t we hiring qualified candidates?” and “This is discrimination.”

I am a Mohave woman. This is how I was born. It’s absurd to think that my race or my gender are the reasons why I received a job opportunity or was chosen for a project. The notion that my career success is attributed to special treatment, and has little to do with knowledge and hard work, is offensive. Do my colleagues truly believe that ‘diverse female’ and ‘qualified candidate’ are mutually exclusive characteristics? The most disappointing part is when I hear these words from engineers, who claim their point of view is based on logic and fact, with whom I’ve worked with for years.

It can be tough to hear these words, especially on the worst of days when I am stressed about a problem or worried about a looming deadline. If you are a native female in tech or an ally, I encourage you to join NAWIC (Native American Women in Computing). We need your help to create a community of support for ourselves and for our young women. The above example is but one of the common experiences we share. And sharing our experiences will help us to face each day with courage and be proud of who we are. There may not be many of us but creating a support system, no matter how small, is worth the time and effort.