Just a few minutes ago I signed my part of the papers to create the Rico Mariani Women in Computer Science scholarship at my alma, the University of Waterloo.
I don’t usually put my name on things, especially charitable giving, but in this case it was important to me to not only give the money but to actually come out and say “This is something I stand for.”
A few years ago (ok 10) I was profoundly affected by one of the Microsoft Think Week Papers I was asked to referee and it changed the way that I thought about women in CS. It showed me that there were things I could personally do, right away, that would make a difference, and so I set about doing them. I wrote about some of these things a few days ago when I discussed Privilege.
I’m putting my name on this #heforshe effort because I hope to inspire others to do the same (it’s super easy) and because in addition to the money, I want to give the winners some kind of leg up. An industry contact could be invaluable to a person trying to break into the field. If I’m lucky, some of them will come to trust me for advice. If I’m very lucky I’ll make a difference for at least some of them. At worst, there will be a few people in the world with smaller student loans.
This is just one small thing, but if many of us help a little in this way, we can do something really meaningful.
[Edit: naturally I *cough* totally planned that this would happen during Computer Science Week — serendipity FTW]
See Part 2