Around 2016 was when I first heard of Tapia Conference, that and Grace Hopper Celebration. I applied to their scholarships back then, I did not get any. It was disappointing, but then something happened…
In 2018, an email landed in my inbox. It was a call to be sponsored to help Outreachy’s booth while also attending Tapia. I wasn’t exactly fitting the requirements, but I replied to it anyway. Usually I do not apply in such situations, but I remembered really wanting to attend this conference so I tried. I was surprisingly selected, and in disbelief. So I reached out to Sage Sharp who is the current Outreachy Organizer to confirm if they are sure about this. But yes it wasn’t a mistake, and they were more than happy to have me with them at Tapia! That’s how it happened, I started preparing for my trip to Orlando.
It’s encouraging when you have people that support and believe in you.
What’s Outreachy though and what’s the relation between it and me?
“Outreachy (previously the Free and Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women) is a program that organizes three-month paid internships with free and open-source software projects for people who are typically underrepresented in those projects. The program is organized by the Software Freedom Conservancy and was formerly organized by The GNOME Project and the GNOME Foundation.” (1)
Through the Outreachy program I got my first internship at Mozilla.
Outreachy gave me the opportunity to prove that I have what it takes to be a great technical intern. My mentor for the Outreachy Program, Peter Bengtsson who works at Mozilla saw the potential in me, the effort I placed, and gave me a chance. It was extremely competitive and overwhelming, but I did not give up and eventually I got selected.
So I couldn’t be more than happy to volunteer/give back to a non-profit that I believe in and played a pivotal role in my technical trajectory. All the employees from Software Freedom Conservancy and Outreachy that I’ve had the chance interact with, have been welcoming, and supportive. I’m glad that they create opportunities for people who want to stay involved.
If you’d like to learn more about Outreachy visit their site here -> Click.
If you are interested to read more about what I worked on during my internship, read this -> Click.
The Tapia Experience
Tapia is an interesting conference. At most tech conferences I have been it’s quite homogeneous, so it was interesting to finally be at a tech conference with so many people of African descent and of course other underrepresented people in tech.