Tapia 2018 Conference & Outreachy: My Experience

Tapia 2018 Conference & Outreachy: My Experience

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.

 

DAY 1

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Stan Lee: 6 Lessons About Career, Life and More.

Stan Lee has said things that people can use as lessons for life. In memory of him, I decided to write this article.

 

Image of Stan Lee and Quote, Life is never completely without its challenges.
Photo Taken by Gage Skidmore, WikiMedia Commons, Shared Under CC BY-SA 2.0 – Remixed by Gloria Dwomoh

 

“Someone wants to do a movie of my life now and he’s writing a script, and I said to him, “What the hell could you do? I’ve never been arrested, I haven’t taken drugs, I’ve had the same wife for 54 years — where’s anything of interest to people?”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Interview, April 30, 2002

For those who do not know, Stan Lee (Stanley Martin Lieber, December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018 ) is the creator of characters such as Spider-Man and once the editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, later a publisher, and then a Chairman. He is an editor, producer, publisher, and an American comicbook writer. And no, in case you are wondering, “comicbook” is not a typo.

“Comic book should be written as one word. So from now on, I want you to remember that. I never want to see the word comicbook written as two words. They are not funny books. They are not comic books, they are comicbooks! Remember that, or incur my wrath.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, YT Video, “Stan Lee Hates ‘Comic Books’ – Stan’s Rants”, 2012

These are some of the many things Stan Lee once said. There is, indeed, something interesting about his life, and today we’ll explore some things he said and how the lessons we extract from them can be applicable to our lives.

1. Having Only One Niche as a Creator.

“Everybody wants to feel that you’re writing to a certain demographic because that’s good business, but I’ve never done that … I tried to write stories that would interest me. I’d say, what would I like to read?… I don’t think you can do your best work if you’re writing for somebody else, because you never know what that somebody else really thinks or wants.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Brandweek, May 2000

If you find yourself having multiple interests you do not need to feel obligated to stick to only one niche. Having a niche has its perks, is a great way to build your following, and can present you as an expert on your respective topic, but having only one niche can be dangerous for someone with a lot of interests (If you want to know why, read my open letter to YouTube (1). The link will be available at the end of this article). So at the end of the day it is important to create content on things that interest you, even if it does not cater to the same demographic all the time, because that helps you put your best work forward.

2. Being Embarrassed of What You Do Because It Does Not Fit What Society Raves Of.

“I used to be embarrassed because I was just a comic-book writer while other people were building bridges or going on to medical careers. And then I began to realize: entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, The Washington Post, July 23, 2010

When you are doing something for a living you need to link it to a purpose. Without a purpose it feels futile, and if what you are doing has no real purpose it might lead to you feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled. Find the purpose behind what you do and if that purpose excites you, you are on the right track!

3. You Might Want to Move on from Doing a Thing You Once Liked.

“I’ve written so many things over the years that I don’t want to go back to being just a scriptwriter. I’m in what I consider to be the enviable position of all I have to do is come up with the idea and write an outline that makes it seem like it’s a viable idea that will interest people, and then other people write the scripts — and I become the executive producer or the producer, depending on how much involvement I have, and I get a creative credit and then move on to the next project.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Interview, April 30, 2002

People change, and even though you like doing the job you are doing today in few years from now that might change. As you are growing professionally, there are some things you might prefer to not do anymore. If you manage to attain the enviable position where you can easily choose what you want or do not want to do, as part of your job, take advantage of it because that is one way to make work fun!

“I don’t really see a need to retire as long as I am having fun.”

Quote Source: Stan Lee, Interview, Feb. 6, 2006 Read more