The OpenStack Blog

Category: Women of OpenStack

It’s Summer Internship Time in the Southern Hemisphere!

After a brisk walk in Austin Texas in mid-30 degree Fahrenheit weather, I welcome the idea that it’s summertime somewhere. Since it’s summertime in the southern hemisphere, we can now announce our next round of Outreach Program for Women internships!

I’m excited that we have four interns and four mentors this time around. Many thanks to HP, the OpenStack Foundation, and Rackspace for funding our four. HP also stepped in this round and made it possible for more of the nine participating organizations to select interns, including OpenStack. Plus, RedHat developers are mentoring our interns. I asked each intern, what do you see when you look above your screen?

Annapoornima Koppad is known as akoppad on IRC. She lives in Bangalore, Karnataka, India. She’ll be working on surfacing the instance actions in the OpenStack dashboard through the Horizon project with our second-time mentor, Julie Pichon. Anna says, “It’s a wintry December in Bangalore, India. There is a gloomy, cold, and yet pleasant atmosphere. There is a small window in front of me, and I think it’s most likely to rain after sometime. I see my neighbours are scurrying up to renovate their house. I sip up my warm tea, and I have some books on my right shelf.”

Sayali Lunkad will be working on adding sparklines to the Dashboard, mentored by Ladislav Smola. Sayali goes by sayalilunkad on IRC and is located in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Sayali says, “I read this mail just as I woke up. I am in my room from where I see the sun up in the sky and parrots and crows in my terrace garden which is connected to my room. It is a pleasant morning, hope everyone has a good day!”

In Dallas Texas we find Cindy Pallares-Quezada (cpallares on IRC) She’ll be working on the Queues API Spec for the Marconi project with Flavio Percoco. Cindy says, “As for what’s above my screen, I see my window. Outside my window there’s lots of leafless branches that belong to a big tree (I’m on the second floor of a two story building). The branches are all covered in melting ice. Past the trees there’s a street and a lawn that’s full of lots of fallen trees and is covered in yellow, orange, and green leaves.”

Miranda Zhang (MirandaZhang on IRC) is in Canberra, Australia and will work with Diane Fleming to enhance the API Complete Reference pages and create a comprehensive OpenStack API Guide. She was kind enough to send pictures of her workstation. Miranda says, “Unfortunately, I’m in a room with no window (otherwise I may be able to tell you about the cuddly rabbits running around the campus, it’s hot sunny summer in Australia now), and above the computer screen I’m looking at, there are just walls, so I look around my workstation, they say a picture is worth a thousand words:”
Workstation

While the interns are super important, I have to emphasize how much we should appreciate the mentoring and project identification work that goes into this program. Our mentors are extremely valuable to OpenStack as are the ideas for 3-month projects. Thanks to everyone who worked together to get these ideas ready and thanks in advance to the mentors and interns who make this project so worthwhile.

Women of OpenStack, Why?

Why do we get together in person each Summit? Let me tell you. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are some pics from our Women of OpenStack boat outing Monday night on the harbor. The grey fog was everywhere and we couldn’t go on deck because it was just too wet. The buildings lighting up are an amazing sight, you can hardly capture the lights in photos. And I can hardly capture the value of getting together with other women in OpenStack at the Summit, but here goes.

Untitled

We had a great time on the boat, and at happy hour afterwards I had an awesome chat with a woman from IBM who is pretty much my neighbor! It’s a small world with tight connections in Austin for high-tech women. It seems impossible with the numbers game we’d know each other’s schools, streets, neighborhoods, and so on, but in reality we’re rare enough birds of a feather that it is natural for us to get together and know each other well.

Why do we get together apart from the rest of the conference? We have a couple of themes for our meetups, we talk about outreach to more women, especially in education as early as elementary school and definitely through college. Also, I got to meet our GNOME Outreach Program for Women intern, Terri Yu, in person! That’s a huge part of these in-person gatherings, getting to know each other personally. But we also want to find concrete ways to make our meetings meaningful. We talk about a few tracks for our goals – outreach, education, career planning and mentoring. We came up with some ideas for our goals, and we keep discussing each Summit. It’s like a design summit session for women of OpenStack. In between Summits we stay in touch on LinkedIn though I also serve as an API, ha ha.

We look for speaking opportunities for women in the cloud. We have held workshops geared towards outreach to women, introducing lots of technical women to OpenStack. For example, this past year Iccha Sethi, Jessica Lucci and I ran a workshop at the Grace Hopper Open Source Day, and Anita Kuno, Lyz Krumbach Joseph and Ryan Lane ran a CodeChix workshop. We generally forge the bonds that hold together a common minority by talking about schools, parenting, gin as a vegetable, shoes, traveling, and how does this OpenStack Neutron plug-in work, anyway?

There are so few of us that we need to be diligent about our outreach and staying connected. I blogged about a question related to under representation of minorities in the Technical Committee on my Reflecting on the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong. We need to be hyper-vigilant about imposter syndrome, uncovered by researchers who found that many high-achieving females tended to believe they were not intelligent, and that they were over-evaluated by others. Believe me, I have to fake it to make it daily.

Our culture as a community may reward the most confidence, but in reality as we grow as a community it’s important to understand that some cultures don’t view confidence in the same way, and some people will not naturally exude confidence. We’re also looking at English-as-a-second-language increasing in prevalence in our community, and a former OPW (Outreach Program for Women) intern Anita Kuno recently edited our Technical Committee charter to be gender-neutral. All of this matters, all of these actions answer the valid question, “Why?” I hope you’ll join us in outreach efforts, together we make OpenStack better for all contributors.

Lessons, Learning, and Long Views for Internship Programs

In January 2013 the OpenStack project welcomed aboard three interns and excitedly assigned them to work on fairly complex projects in our first attempt at an organized project-level internship program. The OpenStack Foundation participated as one of the organizations with the GNOME Outreach Program for Women and learned quite a few lessons during the six months internship period.

By February, two of the interns had learned the tough lesson of what happens when coordinated work efforts move at a fast pace. For example, Laura Alves, an API documentation intern had a patch with a manually created WADL for the Networking project nearly completed. She started requesting reviews from the core developers. We soon discovered that the devs were working on an automated method for creating the WADL. It certainly took some quick communication and coordination to make sure her work wasn’t wasted. Her efforts certainly weren’t wasted but it also hasn’t landed quite yet either. Lesson learned: internship projects are difficult to scope and it’s nearly impossible to set aside tasks in a reserve area just for interns.

Still more lessons learned were that the timing of code freeze dates landing prior to the internship’s completion made for a steep on ramp for new interns with early deadlines. We also found that interns can contribute so much right away with their fresh perspective — and they created such valuable blog entries for newcomers, like Logging and debugging in OpenStack by Victoria Martínez de la Cruz,  so they’ll be helping more newcomers for months.  We pulled all our lessons learned together for a “What Everyone Should Know About OpenStack Internships” panel session at the Summit in Portland.

One of the takeaways from the Summit was to learn more about mentoring from Katy Dickinson, and the blog at MentorCloud where she is Vice President has been very valuable to learn from as we continue to shape our plans for interns wanting to learn and contribute to OpenStack. Katy attended our brainstorming session at the Summit and gave us very useful suggestions. We surveyed outgoing interns and are working on a plan to coordinate early and often to identify and promote natural mentors in the OpenStack community.

The more you look for internships and mentors in OpenStack, the more you’ll find. Cisco has interns working on OpenStack projects each summer. One OpenStack intern, Emilien Macchi, at StackOps went on to do a graduate part-time internship at eNovance. Rackspace has interns working on multiple OpenStack projects.

The Foundation is continuing the involvement in the Outreach Program for Women also in the northern hemisphere’s summer edition: Terri Yu started working on the Ceilometer project with Juilan Danjou at the end of May: be sure to welcome her! Look for more opportunities to connect the dots with interns and mentors in the coming months. If you have funds for travel so interns and mentors can meet each other in person, let Stefano Maffuli know. If you have a great intern story to tell, please let us all know.

Women of OpenStack at the Portland Summit

Keeping in step with the rapid growth in the OpenStack community, the Women of OpenStack presence at the Summit has grown significantly as well – over 200 women registered. Upon arriving at the Summit in Portland women were welcomed with specially designed lady’s-cut red hoodies, an invitation to attend a networking breakfast, and an open platform to share knowledge and ideas for how to get more women involved in the OpenStack community.

Over 70 women attended the networking breakfast hosted by the OpenStack Foundation and lead by community leader, Anne Gentle.  During the breakfast Anne was surprised to be recognized by the Foundation with the creation of the Anne Gentle Travel Scholarship for Women named in her honor. The scholarship will continue to fund travel for women to attend future OpenStack Summits. The initial use supported three OpenStack interns who attended the Portland Summit – Laura Alves and Victoria Martinez de la Cruz from Argentina and Anita Kuno from Canada. Learn more about the Outreach Program for Women here.

To watch a glimpse of the Women of OpenStack who attended the Summit, check out this video, Getting More Women Involved in OpenStack, filmed by Rackspace Videographer, Jacob Forbis.

To get involved yourself – join the Women of OpenStack group on LinkedIn today!

Group Shot of those who attended the Breakfast for Women

Group Shot of those who attended the Breakfast for Women

Anne Gentle is recognized with a Travel Scholarship for Women named in her honor

Anne Gentle is recognized with a Travel Scholarship for Women named in her honor

GNOME Interns: Laura Alves Anita Kuno Victoria Martínez de la Cruz

GNOME Interns:
Laura Alves
Anita Kuno
Victoria Martínez de la Cruz

Red hoodies given out at the Summit were specifically designed for women - based on feedback from the previous Summit

Red hoodies given out at the Summit were specifically designed for women – based on feedback from the previous Summit

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