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:
Can’t wait to see you all (y’all) in Houston!
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.
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It has been an honor and privilege to work with some amazing people at Udacity and provide them content for an online learning tool. In collaboration with them, I have been more motivated to learn the Miwok language. I have been listening to CDs to learn pronunciation and practicing whenever a spare moment arises. It is relaxing and gratifying to know that I am learning something valuable to pass on to my children, and I hope they will learn and pass it on to their future children. I can feel my family members surrounding me and supporting me with every word I learn.
This Symposium was held at the Black Oak Casino Resort in Tuolumne, CA on November 3rd – 5th. I was only able to attend Wednesday, but the information and experience was invaluable. I learned about the Miwok language pronunciation and how to count to ten. Catherine Callahan was the keynote speaker and lead the groups in speaking Miwok with proper pronunciation. She has been studying and documenting the Lake Miwok language since 1955, and the dialect is similar to the Northern Sierra Miwok language, as well as the Southern Sierra region language. She published the Miwok Dictionary in several different dialects of Miwok. I was able to get the PDF version so I can learn, and teach my three children, the language and keep it going.
I met some amazing people who are doing amazing work with the language and accessibility to the language. I was grateful for the invitation to attend. I cannot wait to attend next year’s symposium and hear about the accomplishments everyone has achieved in learning the language, as well as share my own.
Ola Initiative Meetup event on Monday, November 16th, 2015. This Meetup is being held at Pinterest in San Francisco, CA. If you would like to learn more about the work they are doing, please feel free to visit Ola Initiative. I hope this will lead to a productive resource for NAWiC. I will post more about my experience after the event.
Native American Women in Computing is a community to support indigenous technical women from North and South America. This community provides resources, workshop information, meetup locations & information, and collaboration with other women who are in the Tech Industry, studying in the field of Computer Science/Tech, or considering Tech. NAWiC was founded by Andrea Delgado-Olson, a California Native American from the Ione Band of Miwok Indians tribe from the Northern Sierra foothills area. She founded this community to find other women like her in the industry who share interests and heritage, along with how they balance tribal traditions and Tech.