Catalyzing Diversity: Practical Advice for Navigating Minority STEM Communities to Open Up Open Source

Accepted Session
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Scheduled: Thursday, June 25, 2015 from 11:00 – 11:45am in B301


How can Open Source Software projects attract minorities? Come to learn practical strategies to implement your diversity goals into actionable outreach efforts. We will describe ways to tap into minority STEM communities that exist both online and in meatspace. The former include Tweet chats and hashtags used by people of color who are enthusiasts of science (like #BLACKandSTEM) and tech (like #LATISM). The live events include annual conferences of minority students and professionals such as the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing.


There is strength in diversity so Open Source communities should set goals valuing equity and inclusion. However, lofty diversity ideals alone will not change your OSS community. Proactive, direct outreach efforts must be used if you want to attract women, people of color, the disabled, LGBT, and other marginalized individuals in the tech field. Our session will describe ways to connect with such diverse communities both online and in real life. Social media can be used to publicize open source opportunities to Blacks and Latinos using hashtags such as #BLACKandSTEM and #LATISM, respectively who also hold semi-regular weekly Twitter chats. The best networking, though, occurs at the conferences of diversity/mentoring organizations that bring together a critical mass of students, postdocs, and professionals. Examples of such events include:
Black Data Processing Associates
Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media (LATISM)
National Organization of Gay & Lesbian Scientists & Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP)
Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers

Join our session to learn practical advice to engage these online/IRL communities to publicize opportunities in Open Source. In particular, we will describe a specific accomplishment where Open Hatch and Outreachy promoted their programs at the 2015 Tapia conference.


diversity, minority, ethnicity, race, equity, inclusion, Hispanic, Latino, African, Black, (South) Asian, native, Indian, tribal, indigenous, women, female, feminism, ...

Speaking experience

ROCA: This is my first OSBridge proposal though I informally instigated a "Diversity in FLOSS" Birds of a Feather session at the 2014 OSBridge conference. I've given many talks on my biochemistry/bioinformatics research, diversity policy advocacy (at the National Academies, National Institutes of Health, and annual conferences of the National Postdoctoral Association, Keeping Our Faculty of Color, Understanding Interventions, ScienceOnline, LATISM, & Tapia), and on STEM professional development topics (National Black Graduate Student Association, the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, NOGLSTP, & SACNAS). I also write and edit articles for my DiverseScholar e-magazine. Finally, I'm a very active micro-blogger using Twitter/Storify to curate many STEM diversity events.

GORDON-MCKEON: I have given talks on open source outreach at Reflections | Projections (2012), SCaLE (2014), OSBridge (2014), Grace Hopper (2014) and Tapia (2015). I've talked about how privilege influences communication at Alterconf Boston (2014) and on open science at LibrePlanet (2014). I have spoken on various psychology topics at Sprout, a community science center (2011, 2012). I also have extensive experience speaking at workshops, unconferences, and meetups.