It’s been a week since I went to Wikimania. It was amazing. I met so many people from all over the world who are adament Wikipedians. I’ll update this post soon about some of the talks and my observations. For now though, it must be said that the Wikimedia Foundation community is incredible.
Today I had the opportunity to sit down with astronaut Leland Melvin, who I must say is one of the most humble, accomplished men I have ever met. Also, I was able to meet with Garvey McIntosh, who works in the International Programs office.
All I can say is WOW!
Not only did these remarkable individuals take the time out of their days to sit down with recent graduates and undergraduates, but they took the time to relate to us on a personal level and had a conversation with us about a plethora of things. I heard some of the best and most inspiring advice today from Leland Melvin. It had been a long time since I felt chills from something that someone has told me. I mentioned to him my research conducted in Uruguay on the free educational software and we truly connected for a moment. I was absolutely in awe. He talked with us about his failures and how he stayed his course despite setbacks. He told us to embrace our failures and move on. Anyone can say this, but today for some reason it resonated with me, especially with his juxtaposition of his life story.
After NASA, I went to the SID event I mentioned previously. This was another amazing discussion about ICTs in early education. It was led by Wayan Vota of Inveneo. He touched on different methodologies that have been implemented in some developing countries as well as his specific projects and experiences. Unfortunately, I missed the first thirty minutes of the talk, but I was still able to jump right in as soon as I entered the room. I really think I have found my passion. I say this because, I feel comfortable with voicing my opinions on these topics and learning more about them on a daily basis. Afterwards, I stuck around and was able to meet a graduate student from Duke University who is more into the pedagogy of ICT. This was great, because I think there are not enough of these scholars in this field. Also, I ended up talking to Wayan Vota, who actually started up the website: olpcnews.com I about had a heart attack when I realized that he wrote so many articles that I actually read for my research in Uruguay. He actually also knows quite a few people that I met along the way as well and is going to introduce me to more!
If someone had told me a year ago, a few months ago, a couple weeks ago or yesterday, that I would so meet people adamently involved in this community, I would have thought they were crazy. It is truly interesting how all of these experiences are shaping up and coming together.
What am I taking from this day?
I have failed and I will move forward.
By the grace of God in heaven, I have found my passion.
Next up? Wikimania!!
So, I have been neglecting my programming study for too long. I had planned to go to NYC this weekend for a personal adventure…then I was reminded (thank goodness) that Wikimania is being hosted in DC!! I have been reignited by the prospect of attending Wikimania (happening all this week). I will be attending this weekend, so I’m definitely looking forward to that. I hope to meet some interesting people and attend a few of the topics, especially the topic of diversity in the field. Being around the community with help me get back into the swing of things.
That being said…..this is what I’ve been up to. I am currently a Fellow at the UNCF Special Programs. I thought I was going to be doing work specific to STEM education policy initiatives, but I was not quite right. Instead, I am able to participate in a slew of things that I would have never imagined. Working for a non-profit is….interesting business.
Tomorrow I will actually be making a trip to NASA in the morning to discuss different career opportunities and in the afternoon I’ll be attending the Society for International Development’s “Education for Development Workshop” which will address different ICTs that may be used to increase early grade literacy.
Definitely up my alley. And tonight, I shall recommence my programming learning experience.
I just went four days without the internet due to power outages in DC as aftermath of some crazy storm last Friday. I’ll be posting a blog soon though.