BIT Hangouts On Air event – Outreachy Internships Pay Underrepresented Groups to Work in Open Source Software w/ guest Tony Sebro
Blacks In Technology presents a special Google Hangouts On Air event, as we sit down and talk with Tony Sebro (general counsel at the Software Freedom Conservancy) about Outreachy, an initiative that helps people from underrepresented groups get involved in Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) as well as offer paid full time internships opportunities.
Tony Sebro is a seasoned technology attorney with a broad base of business and legal experience relating to technology, strategy, and business development. Before joining Conservancy, Tony was most recently a Partner with the PCT Companies, a family of professional service firms. Prior to that, he was Program Director, Technology & Intellectual Property at IBM’s Armonk, New York world headquarters, where he was responsible for developing and executing licensing strategies in partnership with IBM’s Software Group. In that role, Tony led negotiations and structured deals with market leaders in the web technology, e-commerce, retail, enterprise software, and financial services sectors. Tony also led various internal strategic initiatives, including an effort to provide business leaders of key emerging market opportunities with coordinated intellectual property development and monetization strategies, as well as the revamping and supervision of IBM’s corporate-wide process for determining the value and availability of patents for sale. Prior to his tenure at IBM, Mr. Sebro practiced law in the New York office of Kenyon & Kenyon, LLP, handling litigation and licensing matters for clients in the medical, pharmaceutical and mechanical technology areas. Tony received his J.D. and his M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. He received his B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Tony is a member of the New York bar and registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Tony is also an active participant in and supporter of the non-profit community, and has served on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations.
About the Software Freedom Conservancy
The Software Freedom Conservancy is a non-profit public charity focused on ethical technology. It acts as an umbrella organization to over forty member projects — including Git, Selenium, and Samba — all dedicated to developing free and open source software (FOSS). Conservancy is also the home of Outreachy, an initiative that helps people from underrepresented groups get involved in free and open source software.
Outreachy offers paid, full-time internship opportunities twice a year with a number of free software projects, including the Linux kernel, QEMU, OpenStack, GNOME, and Mozilla. They also provide a supportive community for those looking to make contributions to free software projects throughout the year. The initiative, which started as the Outreach Program for Women, was re-branded as Outreachy in 2015 and broadened its scope to provide opportunities for women, trans men, and gender queer people around the world, as well as African American, Latino, Native American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander men in the United States.
Interning at Outreachy
African Americans’ under-representation in the technology sector has been widely documented. Free software communities are not immune. In this context, they recognize that participating in free software requires more than just knowing how to write code. It also requires being culturally familiar with how these project communities operate — and feeling empowered to contribute.
Outreachy interns are paired with experienced project contributors who provide technical and cultural mentorship. Interns learn how to make technical contributions to a free software project’s code base and documentation; they also learn how to navigate community mailing lists, message boards, and chat rooms; how to ask follow up questions; and how to be persistent. Outreachy alums often stay connected to their free software projects long after their internships: some as hobbyists; others as full-time software developers working for Fortune 500 companies.
Applications for the next round of Outreachy internships are now open; the application deadline is March 30, 2017. The internships will run from May 30, 2017 to August 30, 2017. Coding, design, documentation and other projects are available. The applicants are asked to select a project with one of the participating organizations and collaborate with a mentor listed for that project to make a relevant contribution to the project during the application process. Interested applicants can visit the Outreachy website for more information.
If your free and open source software project would like to participate, or if your company would like to sponsor Outreachy, please visit the Outreachy wiki page for more information.
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