A large part of last fall and bits of this spring were spent going to universities and talking to instructors and their students about open source: how it works. what career opportunities look like, how to get involved in open source, etc. I have loved doing this, as I really do think open source is, in many ways, magic.
I especially love it when I get a chance to talk to young women and am able to pass along whatever (small amount) of wisdom I accumulated being a female in a mostly male-dominated field (the web and IT).
Back in January, I (along with one of my Red Hat co-workers, Cas Roberts) had the opportunity to go to Seattle for the University of Washington’s Society of Women in Engineering Career Fair and award dinner. As part of that trip, I arranged to have an (early) breakfast with anyone who was interested in hearing more about Red Hat.
I honestly didn’t figure more than one or two women would show up, as it was at 8:30 on a school morning and would probably either conflict with class or, more importantly, sleep. I was pleasantly surprised when 13 women turned up and spoke with us for more than an hour.
All good, all satisfying, all worthwhile.
Then, a few weeks ago, I received an email from one of the women who attended the breakfast, asking *my opinion* on her course choices for next year.
Now that made me feel like I have really had the opportunity to make a difference.