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Professional Development Scholarships Supporting Diversity and Inclusion Across the Internet2 Community

Jan 09, 2019, by Sara Aly
Tags: 2018 Technology Exchange, 2019 Internet2 Global Summit, Frontpage News, Inclusivity Initiative Award, Internet2 Inclusivity Initiative, Recent Posts

The Internet2 Inclusivity Initiative (I2I) focuses resources, attention, and scholarships to improve gender diversity and inclusion in the community of networking and technical professionals.

Since 2014, the I2I steering committee has been awarding scholarships to support the attendance of emerging information technology women and early career professionals at Internet2 conferences—thereby supporting their entry into the IT field and the Internet2 community.

Scholarships are awarded to women, including graduate students, working at Internet2 member organizations, and are applied to registration, transportation and housing costs. We are now accepting applications for the upcoming 2019 Global Summit in Washington, D.C. taking place March 5-8, 2019. The deadline to apply is Januaury 11, 2019; please visit the Internet2 Inclusivity Initiative Scholarships page for more information.

The Internet2 Inclusivity Initiative wiki site is a great resource for anyone interested in staying up-to-date on the initiative.

The scholarship recipients from the 2018 Technology Exchange, pictured above, share their highlights from attending their first Internet2 meeting:

  • Renuka Arya, researcher in networking, Center for Data Intensive Science at the University of Chicago

Foremost, I would like to thank the selection committee at Internet2 for selecting me for the Inclusivity Award at this year’s TechEX meeting. It was a great opportunity and a wonderful experience throughout. It was simply amazing to meet my fellow awardees and learn and share our experiences and challenges in the high-speed IT world. Few of us WINS (Women in IT Networking at Supercomputing) program awardees were given an opportunity to talk about our work at the SC Conference through a WINS report out at TechEX. I am really grateful to the Internet2 committee for providing us with a platform to share our technical experiences.

At Internet2 TechEX, I also got an opportunity to interact with some of the pioneers in the field of advance networking and security from research and education institutions around the country. I enjoyed talking with them while learning about their challenges and achievements. I would specially like to mention and thank Carrie Regenstein who was kind enough to have a one-on-one session with the awardees; it was very motivating and informative.

I attended several sessions and demos at TechEX. The sessions were highly technical and detail oriented. It was amazing to see that most of the sessions had a take away lesson with them and I believe they have let the attendees leave with a better knowledge about the topic. I would like to highlight few of the sessions I really enjoyed:

  1. Technical sessions under “Next Generation R&E Ecosystem”
  2. pShooter, Flow Detection and Dynamic Path Alteration demos
  3. Internet2 Inclusivity Initiative: Creating a Diverse Pipeline of Students Working in IT
  4. Gender and Diversity in Information Security and IT
  5. Keynote talk by Dr. Robert Grossman about Data Clouds, Data Commons and Data Ecosystems: How Data Science is Changing the Way We Analyze Scientific Data, Make Discoveries and Reproduce Research.
  • Tomomi Imamura, team lead for the security testing and cyber defense team, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Attending the 2018 Internet2 Technology Exchange was a valuable experience. This conference provided me not just opportunities to learn about new technologies and best practices, it also provided me the opportunity to meet with the Internet2 community members. We discussed unique ideas and challenges around technologies and helped each other and collaborated with fellow institutions to come up with better IT solutions.

As a scholarship awardee, I had opportunities to meet with great IT professionals and leaders, and everyone I met welcomed me and discussed various topics with me. Listening to their leadership stories made me feel motivated and energized to continue my own journey. I was delighted to meet with my fellow scholarship awardees who have amazing accomplishments, skills and backgrounds. Getting to know such a great cohort encouraged me to do more in my life. Meeting with Carrie Regenstein, for whom my award is named, was an especially meaningful opportunity for me. Carrie emphasized that being female or underrepresented IT professional doesn't undermine our abilities. I really appreciate her time and willingness to talk with me in person during the conference.

I also appreciate the opportunity to participate as a panel member for the Gender and Diversity in IT and Security session. It was a great speaking experience, and I enjoyed working with my panel members to prepare for the session. We had a good discussion with the audience, and I hope that the session attendees continue gender, diversity, and inclusivity related conversations to educate more people in this topic moving forward.

  • Antonio Lobo, chief information security officer, University of Santander in Bucaramanga, Colombia

It has been a great experience attending the Internet2 2018 TechEX Conference as one of the scholarship awardee in Orlando this October where I met many intelligent and sharp international colleagues. Personally, I think this conference was very well organized and very successful. I fully enjoyed the one-week event with so many seminars and discussions on various interesting topics. Several of the sessions, delivered by IT professionals and leaders which I attended had been very informative and insightful on their particular subjects. I had the honor of participating in the NETguru session to discuss networking topics in a round table format to encourage open discussion and knowledge sharing.
 
I also appreciate the opportunity to participate as a speaker. I did a short presentation about my work and I have to say it was an amazing experience to share my research with the Internet2 community members.

  • Iris R. Niestas, assistant vice president and director for system integration, The University of Texas at El Paso

It is an honor to have received the Internet 2 Inclusivity Initiative Award providing me with the opportunity to attend the Internet2 Technology Exchange conference. During the four-day conference, I was able to meet individuals from other institutions whose focus was on big data and cybersecurity. This in turn allowed me to learn about facets of technology that are in high demand, particularly in higher education and bring back to my institution valuable information and insights, which will enable us to keep abreast of these technologies. The conference had a good mix of track sessions as well as social gatherings allowing attendees to mingle, learn from one another, and further discuss ongoing topics of interest.

It was a pleasure to have met my fellow awardees: Tomomi, Renuka, Soledad, and Antonio. Learning about their distinctive experiences enlightened my view on their challenges and triumphs within their technology realms.

One of the unique opportunities that resulted from having been selected as an award recipient was the mentorship opportunity. Breakfast with Carrie Regenstein as well as individual one-on-one time with her was a great surprise where she provided us with insightful conversation about some of the challenges we face in IT. Receiving career guidance from Mrs. Regenstein and other senior Internet2 staff members was invaluable. I am very grateful for the many opportunities provided through this conference. I am confident my participation in the conference will help me grow as an IT leader and encourage me to reach back and mentor others with leadership potential.

  • Soledad Antelada Toledano, cybersecurity engineer, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

It was truly an honor for me being one of the recipients of the 2018 Internet2 Technology Exchange community awards in support of diversity and inclusion among the talented and inspiring professionals: Renuka, Iris, Antonio and Tomomi. It was a real treat to share the Technology Exchange experience with them.

I’d like to thank Internet2 and Women in IT Networking at SC (WINS) for their extraordinary effort and commitment to make inclusivity and diversity a reality and make us not only feel welcome but also inspire us to keep working hard in our tech passion.

I participated in two panels that were offered at Tech Exchange: “Gender and Diversity in Information Security and IT” and “Advanced Training and Professional Development: The WINS Experience @ SCinet.” Both panels had a great reception and allowed us to talk about our experiences and also gave us voice to share what we think needs to improve and what works in terms of gender equality in tech.

I’d like to also mention and thank Marla Meehl, Ana Hunsinger, Wendy Huntoon, Taleitha Pytlowanyj, Carrie Regenstein, Theresa Semmens, Nick Lewis and Howard Pfeffer for their invaluable advice and support throughout the conference and beyond.