decor image

GHC15: I’m Here Because Of GHC14!

GHC15: I’m Here Because Of GHC14!
By Andrea Delgado-Olson
As I prepare myself for the busiest week of the year, I can’t help but look back at where this all started.  Last October was my first time attending a Grace Hopper Celebration and I asked all of the FAQs a first time attendee would…What do I wear?  How many resumes should I bring?  How do I network?  Imposter syndrome was in full effect as well, but I didn’t let that hinder me.  I was able to attend last GHC as a Hopper, which gave me a small glimpse into the hard work and organization that goes into this amazing gathering of technical women. I made the mistake of wearing heels on the first day and I worked a full 8 hours on my feet and still walked around the event! Note to self: invest in, and wear, comfortable shoes at GHC15.  But it was during my first Hopper assigned event where I heard an AnitaB.org staff member talking about the groups of Underrepresented Women in Computing at AnitaB.org, and I asked if there was a group for Native American women.  The look I got from the women around me was one I cannot describe, but it was a look of excitement.  I was inspired by GHC14 and determined to make Native American Women in Computing happen for indigenous women like me.  I wanted to be able to look to Native women in the industry and ask questions, but there were few women to reach out to, so I became that person.  I am working to grow this community, sponsor young women to attend their first GHC, and provide support to Native women across the Americas. 
I am returning for my second Grace Hopper Celebration in Houston, Texas as the founder of Native American Women in Computing (NAWiC), an AnitaB.org Scholar, and an AnitaB.org Community Engagement Intern.  I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with others and inspire others to make the same inquiries as I did, which got me to where I am today!  I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given by AnitaB.org, the support and encouragement I have received has been driving me to get this community up and running.  I am looking forward to sharing stories of my experiences as a California Native American, as well as hearing from others who have similar stories or completely differing ones.  I am looking to connect with other indigenous women to offer support and get support as well.  Being an American Indian/Native American/Alaska Native/Indigenous to the Americas is challenging in and of itself, but add on being a woman and being in tech are added challenges that need to be recognized and supported.  Please come and find myself, my husband (who has been an amazing support system and ally for NAWiC!!!
I am excited to be a Scholar!  As a scholar I am excited to meet other women who are working on their educational goals, as I am.  I would also like to encourage them to join groups, like Systers, to stay connected with other technical women.  I am honored to have the support of AnitaB.org to attend this event.  I am looking forward to meeting other Scholars at the dinner and meetups.  I know I will be meeting some pretty incredible and talented women who I hope to learn more from. 
Last, but certainly not least, I am attending as an AnitaB.org intern!  I was so excited to get this position, especially since a summer internship never materialized.  I have been assisting the community committees, I am a member of the UWiC committee, I am writing blogs, tweeting from two Twitter accounts(personal & professional for double the coverage!), and getting to be a part of the best gathering of women in the industry!  I wish I could share more about what I have been doing, but come by the NAWiC community booth in the Town Hall at GHC and I would love to tell you more and how you can get involved too!
So much has happened in a calendar year and I attribute it to the one question I asked at my first GHC!  I am looking forward to another amazing experience at the Grace Hopper Celebration 2015 in Houston, Texas.  I can’t wait to meet all of you there.  See you all in Texas!