Outreachy Expands to People of Color Underrepresented in U.S. Tech

September 18, 2015

Outreachy, a member project of Software Freedom Conservancy announces today that it is expanding to be open to people of color underrepresented in tech in the U.S. (in addition to already being open to women, trans men, and genderqueer people internationally).

Employee demographic data released by many leading U.S. tech companies over the last two years has revealed a lack of racial and ethnic diversity among employees in technical roles — especially in comparison to U.S. population demographics in general. While the available data is not specific to participants in free, libre, and open source software (FLOSS), the Outreachy coordinators have noticed a similar lack of diversity within the FLOSS communities they engage, and at conferences they attend.

Outreachy's expanded program will now include residents and nationals of the United States of any gender who are Black/African American, Hispanic/Latin@, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander. "We've transitioned from Outreach Program for Women to Outreachy with a vision of introducing underrepresented groups to free software," said Marina Zhurakhinskaya, co-coordinator of Outreachy. "We've been excited and humbled by our success in providing opportunities for so many fantastic participants. While we know there are many other groups of people and parts of the world underrepresented in free software, this targeted expansion is the obvious next step in pursuit of our vision." Information about eligibility requirements — and about the Outreachy initiative in general — is available on the Outreachy website.

In connection with this expansion, Outreachy announces that three new coordinators are joining Karen Sandler, Sarah Sharp and Marina Zhurakhinskaya. The new coordinators are:

  • Cindy Pallares-Quezada (@cindy_pallares) is an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Texas at Dallas and a part-time Red Hat intern working on OpenStack. She participated in the December 2013 round of the Outreach Program for Women. Pallares-Quezada commented "Outreachy helped me make my first code contribution to a free/open source project. Since my internship, I've met so many amazing people who wouldn't have been able to become involved in free software if it wasn't for Outreachy. I'm really happy to have the opportunity to give back to the organization."
  • Tony Sebro (@keynote2k), the general counsel of Software Freedom Conservancy in New York City, is an attorney with a broad base of business and legal experience relating to technology, strategy, and business development. "It's been an honor to support Outreachy as part of my responsibilities for Conservancy," said Sebro. "I look forward to taking a more proactive role as Outreachy prepares to broaden in scope and break down even more barriers to entry in free software, and in computing in general."
  • Bryan Smith (@fossetcon) is a Debian GNU/Linux and BSD enthusiast, hardware hacker, and systems engineer. He is the lead organizer of Fossetcon in Orlando, FL. "The program's expansion is a call to action to the community as a whole; me especially," added Smith. "It's critical to aid groups that are underrepresented in technology, so that opportunities are available to them in the future."

The application deadline for the next Outreachy round will be November 2, 2015. Information about sponsorship opportunities and materials to help spread the word about the program are available on the Outreachy website. Please contact outreachy@sfconservancy.org for press or other inquiries.

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