Blogger’s Note: Jolene is a Manufacturing Technician and chair of the Oregon chapter of the Intel Native American Network (INAN). She recently attended the national conference for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) along with several other employees through Intel. Check out her diary entries from the trip to Minneapolis!
Last week, I got the chance to represent not only Intel, but my Native heritage at the AISES conference! A little background info: I was born into the Navajo Tribe in hot Arizona, but currently reside in beautiful, green Oregon. Just as much as with my Native heritage, I’m proud to be an Intel employee and by participating in these types of Diversity events – particularly those involving the Native people – is a real honor!
Day #1: Travel: Portland ->Minneapolis The flight today from Oregon was a tiring one! After a short couple of moments to settle in my hotel, it was time to jet out to meet for dinner with other INAN members from New Mexico! It was great catching up with them again, but now it’s time for a little relaxation. We have plenty of great active and inspiring days ahead!
Day #2: Travel, Intel Presentation, Opening Ceremony & Intel/INAN team dinner All remaining INAN members and a few other Intel reps arrived in Minneapolis today. AISES students, educators, and INAN members attended the many conference presentations and workshops, one of which was hosted by Frank (a fellow INAN member and Worldwide Director of Digital Inclusion and Government PC Programs), on “Technology Leadership, Entrepreneurship & Innovation.” His talk primarily covered the importance behind the “Inflection Curve” and the “Inflection Point”…the point at which change occurs and how we recognize it and respond to it. Frank did such a fantastic job engaging the audience that the session went over time since they had so many questions!
That evening we attended the AISES Opening Ceremony at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Traditionally in the Native community, any type of big event will begin with a prayer. This was quite moving and I could feel a sense of gratitude, respect and overall community togetherness for Natives of all tribes!
Finally, we ended our day with an Intel team dinner and invited two of our Intel AISES Scholars along as well! What a great way to end our 2nd day!
Day #3: Career Fair From early morning to early evening, the entire Intel team interacted with the AISES attendees: high school and college students, educators and business leaders. I overheard heard many compliments, words of encouragement and strong interest from students wanting to get more information about careers in technology, engineering and science fields – it was awesome!
At the Intel booth, we had the opportunity to try out a newer type of technology – the QR code! We wore shirts with a QR code on the back that conference attendees could scan with their smartphone. They were then instantly directed to a website where they could enter basic contact info and enter to win a laptop with a Core i5 processor! We had a ton of fun experimenting with this and I can’t wait to follow up with the winner! We also did this at the conferences for the SHPE, GHC, and SWE this fall!
It was another interactive & exciting day at the conference! I am sure I speak for the rest of my team and Intel as a whole when I say that we wish each one of these students great success in their education and careers!
Day #4: Student Awards luncheon, Intel Presentation, AISES traditional Banquet The day started with multiple workshops and presentations by inspiring Native professors, educators and business personnel. AISES held its first Student Awards luncheon to honor all of the AISES scholars and sponsors. This was a wonderful idea because it gave AISES scholars the opportunity to network with each other as well as with business leaders and corporate sponsors – I even got to hang out with 2 of our Intel Scholars!
Immediately after lunch, I attended a workshop led by Sheila, a fellow Intel employee, entitled “A Bounty of Knowledge & Caring: Creating a Safe Space in Schools and the Workplace.” Sheila’s presentation focused on key factors in the battle against absenteeism, hostile school climates, lower academic achievement, and overall poorer psychological well-being. Her presentation was fantastic and the audience really opened up by sharing personal stories!
The convention concluded with a traditional banquet featuring great speakers, awards presentations that brought tears to my eyes (What can I say? I’m a softie… sometimes!), and delicious traditional food! There was even a powwow, where young and old people danced together in traditional clothing to the sound of drum beats.
Day #5: Travel back to our home destinations The trip back to Oregon, gave me a break to sit back and reflect on the events of the past few days. I felt revived, reenergized, inspired, and proud to be a Native American at Intel. I’ve yet to walk away from an AISES conference feeling any other way!
Reflecting on the Experience Born and raised on the Navajo Reservation and transitioning into life in the city (Phoenix, Arizona), I soon became aware of the many differences between these 2 lifestyles (faster paced, larger population, multiple cultures, etc). While I’ve adapted to city life, there are still plenty of Native American’s who don’t. I still see the lifestyle differences, but my Native beliefs have never changed and if anything, they have become stronger. Another transition that I’ve experienced was transitioning into the corporate world, as a Native American. This too came with many new experiences (adapting to Intel culture, corporate goals, team interactions, etc). Through both of these challenging transitions, I’ve held my Native heritage, beliefs and traditions close to heart.
The Intel culture has taught me to stand my ground while applying constructive confrontation techniques; be confident about voicing my opinions, thoughts and ideas with teammates, managers and internal/external customers; and, has overall provided me with a strong base to succeed both personally and professionally. Intel culture has provided me a sense of belonging while away from my comfort zone – the Navajo Reservation – by providing the option of joining multiple internal employee groups, such as the Intel Native American Network. Thank you, Intel!
So readers, I leave you with this call to action: continue to be the positive role models that you are, keep your traditional beliefs a priority, and continue to encourage and educate our youth to reach their full educational potential and career goals!